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“ morning light again vouchsafed to one who « lives but to abuse it?" Such a solemn appeal to the heart, in the cool moment of reflection, might be blessed by Divine grace; and induce a new train of thought, and new principles of conduct in the mind. How doth the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you? and therefore will he be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you ; for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him. $
I hardly know at what period to commence my history. All that part of life which I spent prior to my conversion, I cannot reckon in the estimate of really living. He only lives, who lives to God's glory. All else is but a blank in creation. And were the_sum total of my days to be made up under this numeration, it could only correspond to the character of him, who being regenerated after he had attained the age of three-score, ordered for the inscription of his tomb-stone; “ Here lieth an old man of four
I can only tell the reader, that if from my first apprehension of divine things must commence the calculation of my real life, I have but a little path to go over.
But from this æra would I desire to date my history.
What were the secondary means, which the Lord in his providence was pleased to employ, it is not so interesting to the reader to be informed of, as to behold their efficacy under
Isaiah xxx. 18.
grace. It will be sufficient for him to know, that from an ardent pursuit, like that of the generality of the world, of the several objects which attract attention in the circle of life, I found my mind suddenly arrested by matters of an higher nature; and among the first evidences of the renewed life, I discovered two or three leading principles manifesting the mighty change. As for example --From being occupied in an unremitting regard to things temporal, I now found my heart earnest to pursue the things which are eternal : and if at any time, the necessary and unavoidable claims of the world broke in upon me, to call off my attention; my heart, like the needle under magnetic influence, which cannot be long diverted from the object of its attraction, soon was turned again to its favorite pursuit. In like manner the troubles of life, and the disappointments necessary to the present preliminary state, which in the days of my unregeneracy operated with all their severity, now lost their power, or at least became lessened, in the greater anxiety of what might be
situation in the world to come. This, like the ocean, whose boundless bosom takes in all the rivers flowing into it, swallowed up every lesser stream of sorrow; and an awakened concern for the one thing needful, made me forget every other consideration. Add to these, I had been exceedingly prodigal of time, while I knew not its value; and have been literally sending out into the streets and lanes of the city, to invite passengers to take it off my hands. But when it pleased God to call me by His grace, I found every part of it to be so precious, that like the fugitive man-slayer hastening to the gate of refuge, I dreaded every moment lest the adversary should seize me before I had found a sanctuary from his fury. As well as I recollect (and great cause have I to recollect every thing connected with a situation so critical) I was in this state of mind, when my desires were first awakened to an enquiry after Zion; and the question involuntarily was bursting from the fulness of my heart, who will shew me any good ? Lord, do Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance upon me; and it shall put more gladness in my heart, than in the time when corn and wine and oil increase!
Awakened to a concern which I had never before experienced, and called upon continually by a voice from within, which neither the engagements of pleasure, nor the clamor of business, could wholly stifle; I found myself, insensibly as it
as it were, entered upon the road to Zion, eagerly disposed to ask every one by the way, who would shew me any good ? though unconscious at that time what that good meant, or whether there were any means of attaining it.
It was in the midst of one of those highly interesting moments, when my heart seemed to be more than ordinarily impressed with the consideration of the importance of the inquiry, and perhaps too ready to receive the bias of any direction which might first offer, that it
occurred to my recollection, there was a person who lived in the neighbourhood, who might help me in my pursuit of happiness, whom, for the sake of distinction, I would call
THE MORAL MAN.
His house lay on the left-hand side of the road in the way to Zion ; and therefore it would not be going much out of my direct path to call upon him. I mention this for the better information of those travellers who may come after me on the same errand, concerning both his situation and character.
I had long known him, and not unfrequently been witness to some striking instances of the benevolence of his mind. He was well known indeed to all around for the extensiveness of his charity. The poor never went from his door with his tale of misery unheard, or his wants unrelieved. And it was said of him, almost to a proverb, by the pensioners of his bounty, that“ if ever any man went to heaven, it would “ be he.” I considered myself particularly fortunate in the recollection of such a character, to whom I might unbosom myself on the sub-, ject which lay so near my heart : so that calling upon him, with that kind of freedom which necessity begets, and which a confidence in the person you address will always excite, I communicated to him, without reserve, the state of
He heard me with great attention; now and then only, as I stated my distress, expressing much pity for my concern on a subject which he considered to be perfectly unnecessary; wondering, as he said, that there should be a single person upon earth, weak enough to interrupt, the enjoyment of his own happiness with an anxiety so ill founded; and which, according to his ideas; tended to reflect so greatly upon the goodness of the Deity. “ For my part “ (says he) I have too high notions of God, to
imagine that he ever made any creature to be “ miserable; neither can I fancy the possibility “ of what some gloomy minds are so much “alarmed about-of the doctrine of future "punishments. It appears to me altogether 5 inconsistent with the benevolence of the Divine character."
" Hold, Sir, (I interrupted him) and pray satisfy my mind on this point, before
farther. I readily join issue with you '" in the highest acknowledgments of the good
ness of God; and am most fully persuaded, " that all praise must fall infinitely short in the description of what it really is. But I see as
plainly as though written with a sun-beam, “ that much misery may, and in fact doth, “ consist with the Divine goodness, in the present life.
And as I suppose, no one will « venture to impeach God's goodness, in the “permission of evil here; I cannot form the
vestige of an argument, why that goodness may not be as consistent with the existence
you go farther.