Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

mind; and I spent the whole night in prayer, that if it was the Lord's gracious will, I might indeed be comforted by his Holy Spirit in the morning. My prayer was heard, accepted, and abundantly answered by him, who has pledged himself to be the hearer and answerer of prayer;' for on the next morning, while engaged in my household duties, the Lord was pleased once more to shine into my despairing soul, by means of the words, Rom. viii. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' This, to me, ever memorable circumstance, took place October, 4th, 1839. From this time, I went on my way like the Eunuch of old, rejoicing, and walked in the strength of that meat for the next four years and a half, enjoying the favour, and gracious countenance of my Lord and Master the whole time, although I was sometimes doubting. About four years and a half after this deliverance, God, in his infinite wisdom, again laid me upon a bed of suffering. Satan was now permitted to trouble and tempt me worse than before, suggesting to my mind that I was only an empty professor of religion, and that I had no saving grace in my heart; in fact that I had neither part nor lot in the matter. Everywhere the dreadful thought that I should be eternally lost, continually haunted me, and turned my day as it were into night. In various ways I was again tempted to self destruction, but by the good hand of God, I was continually preserved, and all attempts of the evil one frustrated. I could afterwards truly say with the Psalmist, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy, for though I fall, yet shall I rise again.' I was so reduced in mind and body, that I was not able to take up a pen to write to my only dear sister for eight months; and while thinking one day of again communicating with her by letter, a voice seemed to come to me through the window by which I was standing, saying, (Jer. xxxi. 3,) I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.'

"

At the same spot in the next, and on the same day of the week, I seemed to hear the same voice say, 'I have loved thee, O sinner, with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.' On the saine day in the week after this, and at the same spot, I seemed to hear the voice say more distinctly than before, I have loved thee, O Sarah, with an everlasting love.' &c. I was led to beg the dear Lord, that if it was his blessed will, this passage might be fastened in my mind, like a nail in a sure place, by the Master of assemblies; and that I might be set at liberty through it. I now wrote to my sister, and informed her of the sweet promises which had been given to me, begging her to entreat the King of kings on my behalf. In return she wrote to tell me, that she had taken my case before the throne of grace, and the answer that she had received was, whatsoever ye ask in faith, believing, ye shall receive;' and that she was convinced from this passage, that I should soon be set at liberty.

Her assurance that I should soon be released

was in a short time completely fulfilled, as the reader will presently hear.

After receiving the comunication, I was still more beset by the wiles of the evil one, during the days which immediately followed, than I had ever been before; which caused me to cry out stronger than ever to my hea venly Father, to give me Christ, or I should die. The dear Lord was not only pleased to hear my petitions, but to send an answer of peace to my troubled soul; for on the Sabbath, while sitting in his house, the following text was given out by the Rev. T. Styles; Haggia ii. last clause of 19th verse, From this day I will bless you.' This comforting passage through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, brought me deliverance from the dark state of mind, in which I had then been for nearly ten months. Now, indeed the captive was free! the prisoner was released. Immediately my burden seemed to roll from my mind, and I was like a bird let out of its cage. I could now once more rejoice with Mary, in God my Saviour, for he had.regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: He had done to me great things, and holy is his name.' I was almost forced to cry out for joy in the midst of the service. The savour of this sweet visitation lasted for nearly six weeks, so that I neither enjoyed food nor sleep for a long time; for why should I, when my blessed Master was feeding my soul with that heavenly manna, which the world knows nothing of? To give some idea of the awful state of mind I was in during this affliction, one of my children, then only about four years of age, distinctly remembers an incident which happened about that time. I requested the attendant to bring up all my children in to the bedroom, that I might eat them up; which made such a deep impression on his mind that he could not be persuaded to enter the room for many weeks afterwards. For a long time, I knew not what it was to enjoy repose for a single night: the enemy never left me during the whole time.

I enjoyed the light of the Lord's countenance for five years after this, and I then began to think with the man of God, that my mountain stood strong,' that I should not again be moved. But O how soon was my faith to be tested; and that by a furnace, heated seven times hotter than it had ever been before. I was once more plunged into the deep waters of spiritual affliction, which as he who suffered long before me, the like trials, has truly said, ran over over my soul.'

For many months I was again laid low, both in mind and body; the subject of the same despairing thoughts, as to the reality of my Christian profession, that had so grievously assailed me in my former troubles. The great adversary once more, in every possible manner, tempted me to put an end to my earthly career, but in all his attempts I was preserved by him who has overcome the world. On one evening in particular, I had retired to my bed about eight o'clock, with the hope of procuring some sleep, however little; but as I could not obtain this wished for rest, I was advised to take a few drops of laudanum.

1 re

When those about me had retired from the Mr. M. took for his text Isaiah liv. 12, room, and I was once more alone, Satan sug-O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and gested that I had better take the whole, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones die. About a table spoonful of the drug, with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with was in the bottle. I took it up, and drank sapphires.' At the close of the service, Mr. M. nearly the whole, and then lay down upon my showed me the EARTHEN VESSEL,' your bed, fully expecting that I should never again valued periodical, which, before that time, I open my eyes in this world. But, O! the had been entirely unacquainted with. lovingkindness of my adorable Lord, who in turned home with a slender ray of hope in his infinite mercy saw good to shelter Satan's the distance. In the number of the EARTHEN diabolical designs. Instead of the drug tak- VESSEL which was given to me, was an acing the effect which he had intended, it result- count of a poor woman, who was confined in ed in excessive vomiting; which continued all an asylum for years; her only cry during the through that night, and the whole of the fol- whole time being-lost! lost! lost!' This lowing day. same poor woman afterwards died a triumphant death. I have no doubt some of my

A short time after this circumstance took place, I was tempted to destroy my two young-readers will remember the circumstance. (See est children; so malicious was Satan that he EARTHEN VESSEL, Vol. VI. March Number.) had not succeeded in making me bring my own life to an end. I actually proceeded to their room for that purpose; but while watching their innocent slumber, maternal affection returned to my breast, and I was so ashamed of my inhuman design, that I again sought my chamber. My children at this time had such a dread of me, that they kept from my presence as much as possible, and they would rather have gone almost anywhere, than come into my chamber. Even when I had far recovered in health, and was compa-'choosing rather to suffer affliction with the tively harmless, their fear still held them at a people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of distance from me. sin for a season.' A short time after this, the lxvi of Isaiah, 13th verse, 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you, yea, and ye shall be comforted,' was sent as a healing balm to my wounded cast down soul; and from this time, I date the restoration of my spiritual liberty, which has since then continued uninterrupted for seven years.

After reading this narrative, my feeble faith was strengthened; and soon afterwards, I went to hear Mr. Mason, at Knowl Hill, when I again prayed the Lord, that if it was his blessed will, he would bring my soul out of prison, and renew the hope, which had just been kindled in my soul. Mr. M. preached from Heb. xiii. 2-'Looking unto Jesus." I returned home, with my burden still weighing me down. Soon afterwards I heard Mr. M. again at Marlow, from Heb. xii. 2,

I have now given a very brief, but faithful history, of the merciful dealings of God, towards me; and if it should contribute, by the help of the ever-blessed Spirit, to the comfort of only one of God's dear tried children, my object in writing it will be fully accomplished; but unto God alone be all the glory.

When I began to come to myself, I once more sought the throne of grace, to which I had not found access for many months before. Then, the heavens appeared as brass; nor could I obtain any answer, either from them or the means of grace. After a few weeks intense suffering in mind, I was invited by a kind friend to attend a lecture, given by Mr. B. Mason, of Knowl Hill, at her residence. While on the way, I entreated the dear Lord to send me some comfort by this stranger, whom I was about to hear. As I entered the house, those two beautiful lines were sent as a comfort to my soul

-'I only design,

Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.' I sat in one corner of the apartment, alone; hoping that I should be unobserved by all. Mr. Mason began the service, by giving out the 459th hymn, of Rippon's selection:

O Zion, afflicted with wave upon wave; Whom no man can comfort, whom no man can save.'

In his prayer, he entreated the Lord, that if there was one poor soul there present, whose spirit was fast bound in the prison of spiritual affliction, to release it speedily. That there was such a poor soul among that number, in the condition of which he spoke, the writer of this little narrative well knows; and also, how really suitably his language was to my then, desponding spirit; although the preacher knew not in the least that I was there. This little incident will serve to shew, how God in his wisdom, sometimes, nay often, when the speaker puts his whole trust in him, so directs the phraseology of the minister, as to apply to the particular cases of the afflicted ones present.

'A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy 1 sing:
Nor fear with thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring.
Your's in the bonds of Christian love,
A SINNER SAVED BY GRace.
Marlow, August 11th, 1858.
(To be Continued.)

·

WHEN Christ speaketh, then we should be all attention, and mark well every word; for God the Father himself saith, Him shall ye hear:' as if he should say, what he teacheth you, take good heed thereunto, for I will maintain what he saith, or I will be no God. But the devil stirreth up other thoughts in the heart; he stoppeth the ears, so that the greatest number forget Christ and his word, and trouble themselves with vain and unprofitable things, to the end they may not believe and be saved.

Therefore he must cause Moses to talk with us; he that will ask, what have ye done? Against him, indeed, we might well stop our ears. Our doctor and schoolmaster shall be only our blessed Saviour Christ Jesus.-Luther.

A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE

LIFE OF MR JOHN SMITH.

(Concluded from page 222.)

He frequently used to say, 'I know that deserve hell, but I do not think the Lord will let me go there. It is not the fear of hell that gives me pain, but the fear of sinning.' Jesus was the Alpha and Omega of his life and conversation. One of his favourite hymns were those seraphic lines composed by the immortal Dr. Watts on the characters of Christ borrowed from inanimate things in Scripture, recorded in the 146th Hymn in his

first book:

Go worship at Immanuel's feet,

See in his face what wonders meet! Earth is too narrow to express

His worth, his glory, or his grace.

he gives is sufficient, but none to spare. He will not have his grace wasted; thus he teaches us our daily, hourly and constant dependance upon him, that we may know that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God, I'doth man live.' These among many others were some of his choice sayings, to me they were gems of thoughts worth treasuring, and I trust the preciousness of then will ever remain in the casket of my heart and memory as long as it shall please my Heavenly Father to spare me.

Though possessing comfortable means, he lived on principles of the strictest economy; at times seeming to debar himself of those things that were necessary, lest he should be found in any way pampering to his flesh. He was a man that had been deeply exercised both by domestic trials, and by the spiritual adversary of souls; and though he had no children of his own, yet he was painfully con cerned about two of his relatives, a mother and a daughter; the former lost her charac. ter, and lived on the wages of sin; the latter, over whom he exercised the office of guar dian, till at length contrary to her uncle's wish, and in opposition to his repeated remon strances, she renounced the wholsome and kindly Christian counsels he had given her and entered a Roman Catholic convent in which she remains to this day.

Is he a way? he leads to God,

The path is drawn in lines of blood! There would I walk with hope and zeal, Till I arrive at Sion's hill.

Oh, let me climb those higher skies

Where storms and darkness never rise, There he displays his powers abroad,

And shines and reigns the incarnate God. Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,

Nor heaven, his full resemblance bears; His beauties we can never trace

Till we behold him face to face.

Mr. Smith had enjoyed many sweet and blessed manifestations of the divine presence, and though I do not put confidence in what some men call 'visious,' yet he has related things to me, and others which he has seen and heard, the truth of which I dare not call into question. He has frequently told me and his friends, that on one occasion he saw a visible appearance or representation of our Lord on the cross, similar to that recorded in the life of Colonel Gardner, which lasted for twelve minutes. If I remember rightly, on the morning he saw the vision, which came on him quite unexpectedly, he had been sorely tried by an infernal suggestion of the wicked one to this effect, Which of the sacred Three in unity are you going to pray to, the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost? However, the Holy Ghost graciously satisfied him on that point, and taught him the truth, that he who honoreth the Son, honoreth the Father,' and sealed the same truth very blessedly home to his heart, so that from this time, he never dare afterwards call into question the Deity of Jesus Christ.

Though he had attained a vast amount of knowledge of divine things, and had even come to visions and revelations of the Lord; he did not live upon past experiences. He often reviewed the past as illustrative of God's goodness towards him. 'Past experiences, and the grace of yesterday will not satisfy me to day. We want present help, renewed grace, renewed favours, renewing of the Spirit, fresh assurances, fresh applications of the blood, and fresh tokens of divine love. God will have us value his Christ, the grace

For the last nine years of his life Mr. Smith had been a widower, he reminds me (said a brother Missionary to me on one occassion,) of one of the ancient prophets; his biblical knowledge was most profound, and there was a dignity of mien in his conduct and manner of speaking which attracted his hearers, and was sure to leave behind a deep and solemn impression.'

The little property that he had accumulat ed by dint of honest industry, economy, and perseverance he did not squander away; but so bequeathed it, that his poor relatives who in God's providence might survive him, should participate in the benefit of it at his death.

Before his death he had a presentiment that he should die on the 18th of August, instead of which, he died on the 10th, and his mortal remains were deposited in one of the compartments of the eastern catacomb, at Nunhead Hill Cemetey, on the 18th. At the catacomb, Mr. James Wells delivered a funeral oration to the mourners and spectators who had congregated on the steps leading down to the catacomb, and spoke in a very decided and clear manner, relative to Mr. Smith's religious sentiments, and of the hope he had in his death. He was 71 years of age. The compartment which contains the coffin is closed with a marble tablet, which has on it an inscription to the effect that his only hope was in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that it is by grace ye are saved. Ephesians ii. 5.

Hoping that the perusal of the foregoing pages may be interesting to some of the children of the Lord's dear family, I remain, your's affectionately in the Lord, H, S. S.

London, August 27th, 1858.

[blocks in formation]

EXCELLENT TIDINGS FROM EXETER.

Letters to the Editor of "The Earthen Vessel."

MR. EDITOR-The work of the Lord is still prospering with us; we have built a vestry and a baptistry; and language cannot express the gratitude we feel to our ever faithful, gracious God, for the continuance of the rich and copious effusions of his blessed Spirit, as realized and enjoyed in our midst, both under the ministry of our esteemed brother Turner, and also at our prayer meetings. Since Mr. Turner came amongst us, our church and congregation have increased nearly treble in numbers; we had baptising on Lord's day evening, August 29, for the first time, in our new baptistry; after an appropriate and affectionate discourse delivered by our pastor, from Acts viii. 37; five believers were immersed; after an address to the audience, the service concluded by singing

At last the happy and long sought period arrived, irreversibly fixed by our covenant God, that this elected, redeemed, justified and quickened vessel of mercy should fully receive the spirit of adoption, and cry, my Father! my Lord! my Saviour! Never shall I forget when he took his Bible, and showed me where he was reading-how he was sitting-and the manner of God's realizing in his soul a sense of pardon, through peace-speaking blood: with tears of gratitude streaming over our faces, we adored our condescending Lord for the great things he had done for our brother, whereof, all the Lord's living family, who have had a sip of the same brook with us, will be glad when they read this. The Lord having broke bis bonds-opened the prison door and brought him out, proclaimed liberty to his captive soul, healed his wounds, bound up his broken spirit, sealed divine pardon upon his heart, extended peace to him like a river, and caused him to go forth in the dances of them that make merry;' enabling him to joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom he had received the forgiveness of all his sins. We were able to walk together in unbroken fellowship, until he fell asleep in Jesus.

Conscious of his death, he wrote who should be his bearers, and consigned to me his interment, and the preaching of his funeral sermon, from a text of his own choosing-'Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?'

Zech. iii. 2.

'Crown him Lord of all.'

Under the sermon, two young persons were powerfully wrought upon in their hearts; and the Lord's work is still deepening within them, which we are fully persuaded will end in true conversion to God. Some others who were halting between two opinions, were brought to see and feel the necessity of attending to the ordinance, and will shortly be baptized. On the day following, we had a tea meeting, when brethren Thorogood, Lee, Williams, Sercome and Ashby, delivered addresses, like the silver trumpet, all of a piece; no jarring string, no discordant note: sound in doctrine; sweet in experience; and truly practical in their remarks. The Lord was very precious to us and much of his presence was realised in our midst. Glory to God for his lovingkindness manifested to our despised Zoar. We beg an interest in the prayers our dear brethren, praying the abundant blessing of Israel's Triune God to rest upon you, and your labours of love.

of

Exeter, Septr. 22, 1858. W. SHEPHERD.

Alas! my brother, was the cry of my heart; for spirituality of mind, humility, honesty, sincerity, kindness and real brotherly love, were the elements of his soul: we may say, a great man fell the day he died.

His letter was written to his wife's mother, after he was set at liberty, and is full of Godly sincerity, child-like simplicity, breathing the sweet experience of the heaven-born disciples of Jesus, and will (with the Lord's blessing,) bring many of the heirs of salvation back to the time and place, where and when, the Lord spake liberty and peace into their souls.

Be so kind as to publish his letter in the VESSEL, that he, being dead, may yet speak to the living in Jerusalem. From your brother in the bonds of love and blood, ZACHARIAH TURNER. Exeter, September 26th, 1858.

DEAR EDITOR-I forward you a letter of our dear brother Moysey, who departed this life to be with Christ, which is infinitely better,' (September 26th, 1858,) after ten years' of severe soul exercise, under the terrific thunderings of Sinai, which made him, many times, choose death rather than life. I witnessed in him the dreadful effects of sin, guilt, condemnation, and a certain fearful looking for of fiery indignation of the Lord to consume him. The Almighty's arrows stuck fast in his soul, the poison thereof drank up his spirits, and the earnest of damnation established in his soul by the spirit of judgment, and burning, compelled him, in the anguish of his distressed mind to cry, God be merciful to me a sin-writing you. May the Lord direct me to ner.' I prayed with and for him, and could something that may tend to comfort you, if sympathize with him in his distress, having you are cast down, as I fear about Robert, if passed through the same sort of furnace, only you have not yet heard from him. The Lord the Lord heated it much hotter for me, than is not slack concerning his promise-'all thy children shall be taught of the Lord and he did for him.

DEAR MOTHER-Solomon says, 'whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might-redeeming the time,' &c. words were applied with some degree of power to my mind, just as I was thinking about

These

great shall be the peace of thy children;' and now I would desire to put you in remembrance thereof, it may be a consolation to you to reflect on it at this moment; and you well know, if dear Robert is taught of the Lord, all is well with him; and if you never see his face again in this world, you will meet again where parting is known no more: may this blessed hope be your solace, not only in this, but in every other trial, which the Lord in his wisdom shall see fit to lay upon you: I know it will gladden your heart to hear that the Lord has met with me, and blessed me with a sense of his pardoning love, and a sweet assurance of interest in, and union with, Christ; so that I could say feelingly-' he is mine and I am his.' I cannot now describe my feelings under this blessed visit; but this I can say I know it was the Lord's work unsought for by me at the time, though I now believe I have been seeking the Lord, sorrowing, for many years; and now, blessings on him who alone can save, I have found him, or rather, am found of him whom my soul loveth; and I can say, though the vision has tarried long, it is well worth waiting for, notwithstanding all my base backslidings, external, as well as internal-he hath fulfilled his promise, to the joy and rejoicing of my soul. I will heal their backslidings, and I will love them freely for mine anger is turned away from him.' This blessed him' I humbly conceive to mean Christ himself, as the head and representative of his church; it is only as God the Father views us in him, that he can be well pleased with such hell-deserving sinners as we are; who are black as the tents of Kedar,' in ourselves, but comely with the comeliness he has put upon us. Oh! may the hope of such a blessed union ever keep us humble, prayerful and watchful: I can truly say, that a sight of Jesus, and interest in him, felt and enjoyed in the soul, is the only thing worth living for in this world; though I would desire not to be unmindful of the great mercies bestowed upon me in a way of providence; some of these, though not my chief good, lay very near my heart, and I hope and trust the Lord will spare them to me, and me to them a little longer.

I would remark that so far from the doctrines of grace leading to carelessness about others, it has had quite a contrary effect upon me; when under its blessed influence, the poor narrow-minded bigot (as the children of God are sometimes called, and as I believe I was called,) pours out his soul to God, for all who are near and dear to him, and could pray, if it was the will of God, that all of them might be brought to know him, whom to know is life eternal.'

You must not conclnde from what I have written, that I am in full enjoyment of this blessed visit from my Jesus. No, I to my own sad place return,' in a measure, and Satan tempts me to believe it was all a delusion, or I could not be so cold and dead-but he is a liar; and God is faithful who hath promised-'where he hath begun the good work, he will carry on, and perfect it; and I believe he hath begun the work in my soul.

The day after I received my bounty money, these words were sweetly dropped into my soul, 'cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward;' and, although I have not that enjoyment I could wish, yet I am blest with a great degree of confidence in him, and at times say with Job, though he slay me yet will I trust in him.' Oh, for grace to walk more humble, prayerful and watchful before God; it is sin that sepa rates the soul from felt communion and fellow. ship with God, and yet it should be a means of driving us to him again-to wash us in that 'fountain which is open for sin and uncleanness.'

I felt much obliged for your kind letter, it drew tears from my eyes at the time, and now I trust the Lord has answered your prayer, and shined into my soul, and given me a little of that peace that passeth understanding.' And now let us rejoice together, and bless and praise his name for all his mercies towards us, unworthy as we are. I have just received a sweet and instructive letter from my dear brother and companion in tribulation, but now a partaker of my joy, (Mr. F.) I find he is, himself, still in the furnace,' but I believe he will come forth like gold, seven times purified;' the Lord trieth the righteo teous. I hope you will excuse mistakes; sometimes matter comes so fast, at others, I have to consider my words, for fear of writing what was not true, as regards myself; but the Lord knoweth the heart, and may he, in kindness and mercy, lead, guide and keep me in that way that is right in his sight, for his own name sake. Amen.

Please to remember me to Mr. Filt, and all Christian friends, whom I love in the truth; tell our dear old pastor, that one of his ram bling, runaway children, is, at last, brought to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,' and though here, in a dark place, the Lord has been my teacher and guide, and brought me out of an horrible pit, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings; put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto the Lord."

JAMES'S ENQUIRY ANSWERED.

[Besides the following, we have other answers

to give.-ED.]

of this month's (October) VESSEL, an Enquiry MR. EDITOR-THERE is, on the 21th page by a Correspondent with the signature of James;' he asks that if there is (be) no offer in the gospel to all men-and all men have it not in their power to receive it is not the message, (command) preach the gospel to every creature, a tantalizing one P'

in the gospel to all men or not; or, whether Now, Mr. Editor, whether there be an offer all men have power to receive it or not; I do not see how, in either case, the message can be tantalizing. But let me explain what tanderived from an ancient Asiatic fable. Namely, talization is. The subject of tantalization is that one of the kings of Lydia, for some crime, was cast into Tartarus, and placed by the side

« FöregåendeFortsätt »