תמונות בעמוד

“ MY DEAR HERBERT,-I have your note before me: it almost breaks my heart. You say, all is well. Oh! could I say this, I should then rejoice and take comfort from the Christian consolation offered in your kind address. You do not more eagerly wish to see me, than I do to see you; but, I have been sent home in a coach, and dare not come out in the wet. As soon as pru. dence will admit, I will see you. The doctor says, there is nothing very bad about the phlegm ; but, that I shall soon be better : this he has said to Mr. —- privately. O my God! for the sake of Jesus, restore me, at least, 'till I recover my spiritual strength.' I tremble at the thought of departing in the present state of my soul. O vain, 0 most treacherous world! () more treacherous and deceitful heart! hadst thou been devoted to God's service, as thou hast to the world, it would now have been better with thee than it is. O, my friend! I have much to grapple with. May Jesus, of his infinite mercy, save this soul, as black as hell, from the horrors it has purchased! O for the blood of Christ to save me from the love, the power, the awful consequences of sin, of neglected and abused privileges, -and of in. sult offered to that very blood which only can atone! Oh, Herbert! if you be taken hence first, and should ever see me in heaven, you might hail me as one of the greatest miracles of grace, that ever entered the celestial gates. Oh! how glad I feel, that I have an interest in your prayers : do pray carnestly, constantly pray for me. I cannot describe the anguish of this heart. May God be with you! I hope, ere long, to see you. Till then, Adieu."

Yours, &c.

In the course of an hour, enfeebled as he was, Herbert returned the following reply.

"MY DEAR JAMES._Till now, I did not know the cause of your sorrow. To find you so much cast down afflicts me more than you can conceive; because I do think rour fears are all groundless ; and, that to indulge your present despair, will not only be very hurtful to your health ; but sinful in the sight of that God, who has provided so amply for your comfort and salvation.Mind ! if you were as ignorant of your condition as a sinner, as you are sensible of it, I should not have one word of consolation for you ; but, as it is, I have nothing else, nor does my Bible teach me to say any thing else, but peace ; for it was not the righteous, hut sinners, Jesus came to call; and for such, he hath made peace by the blood of his cross. -I said, all was well; and, whilst I notice, and grant you all that you have said, as it respects the greatness of your guilt, and the blackness of your soul, yet I insist on what I have said, and, at the same time, defy you to prove the contrary. Though I am too unwell to write much, I wish, if possible, rightly to employ your thoughts, and to divert your mind from dwelling too much on that state of horror and gloom which you describe.-I say your fears are groundless; and it is for you to shew me the contrary. As you have not done much work of late, I will now give yon a little employment, pledging myself to reward your labour. Now, my dear James, I am really in earnest, and will engage to give you a large sum, (say five pounds.) for every passage you will find me iz

the Bible, which speaks any thing but encouragement to persons in your state of mind. If you do not find any, ask yourself, why you indulge your fears? If God does not condemn, why should you ? The law has nothing to do with you, because you seek salvation by Christ, who has fulfilled it. Should Satan say to the contrary, you know he was a liar from the beginning. Should conscience say, all is not right; refer it to the blood of Christ, and the groans of Cal. vary, which show that his thoughts towards you are those of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. O, my dear friend, with a bleeding heart, and a tearfraught eye, I have prayed, and I will pray, that God the Holy Spirit may apply this blood to your conscience ;-remove the load of guilt from your mind;-shine into your heart, giving you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; -bring you out of the horrible pit, and miry clay, and put a new song into your mouth, even praise to our God! I am quite ex. hausted : Adieu.”

Often, whilst pain forced streams of per: piration down his face, Herbert smiled under the anguish, in the enjoymeno of divine comfort. His bodily frame was now so shattered, that he could write little. The following extracts from his Diary are the last fruits of his pen; and they will best describe the state of his mind in the near prospect of death.

July 10th, 1822._“Have felt very happy to-day in reflecting on the character of God,

as my Father, and on the bliss of heaven as my eternal home. My title to it is founded on that gracious declaration, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' I be. lieve, Christ is the Messiah, the Sent of God. I rely on the atonement which he has made for my sin.-My faith. I trust.is of that kind which works by love; and, from a principle of love to Christ in my heart, I trust, I yield cheerful obedience to his commands. God is my chief good ; nor have I any happiness, but in aiming at con. formity to his image, and in seeking communion and fellowship with him, as my reconciled God and Father in Jesus Christ. O God! search me, and try me; see what way of wickedness is in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

July 18th. 1822.--Though very unwell, I thank God, I am not tired of life. I am quite happy in living, and in the thought of living yet much longer; though I know I must remain unwell. Yet, I know not how it is, I feel quite willing to die, and more happy in the thought of dying, than living. -Iwonder if this is any thing like what the Apostle felt, when he said ; 'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' Or, when he said, 'I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.'

"O how excellent is the holy religion of Jesus ! It not only presents to our view an etonity of happiness beyond the grave; but it gives us sweet earnests and foretastes of it here below. 0! how I glory in the perfect scheme of Christianity--the religion of the Bible! and pity, from my very soul, the poor infidel, the worldling, the careless sinner, who either reject or neglect that which alone can make them happy here, and warm their hearts with a prospect of a blissful im. mortality hereafter. If any man will do Christ's will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.'-How true !"

August 2d. 1822.-_"Have been very dull and Hat in mind, these last three or four days, owing to the hardness and wickedness of my heart, the weak and exhausted state of my body, for want of rest, together with the advantage which Satan hath gamed of my weaknes, by causing me to look more at these than Christ; and by suggesting, that because I did not enjoy such and such com. fortable feelings, I'must be an hypocrite. I have, however, been able to examine the ground I have taken, the foundation on which I am building; and I find it to be none other than Christ; Christ crucified. Here I find firm and sure footing. As evi. dence of sincerity, I mourn over my hard. ness of heart; and allow not my wandering and coldness in düty-ihate vain thoughts: and, I trust, I aim at, and earnestly desire, complete conformity to the image of my God

in thought, word, and deed. Thus, Sa. tan hath done me a kindness : for, should I walk in darkness, and have no light, I will trust in the name of the Lord, and stay my. self on my God ;-and though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Oh! with what delight can I now sing the hymn

Begone unbelief, &c." August 1lth. 1822.--"For some time back, day and night, the hand of my God has been heavy upon me. Wearisome nights and

« הקודםהמשך »