« AnteriorContinuar »
pointments. The following extracts furnish her sentiments on this interesting topic, shewing her love, as well as practice, of humility.
"Sabbath, Dec. 9, 1688. In the morning I was more than ordinarily drowsy, but God was found of me before we went to public worship. I find it more easy to go on in a course of external duty, than to be heavenly and spiritual as I should be. How many vain thoughts lodged within me to-day. How long, Lord, must it be so? This night I begged of God the twenty-four good spirits* which my dear Father has been preaching over this last year. Methinks I see cause to be especially earnest for a humble spirit. Oh, humility is a most excellent, adorning grace. I find pride strong in me, and I am apt to be jealous of my dear relations, lest they do any thing in pride or vain glory. I am of his mind who named the three great graces of a Christian-Humility. Humility. Humility. We cannot have too mean thoughts of ourselves provided we do not neglect our duty, nor let go our hold of Christ."
"Aug. 7, 1694. The return of the day brings to my mind the mercy of God to me in my birth. Thirty years I have been a monument of mercy. Yet, how have I abused that patience and long-suffering which have so long waited to bring me to repent
See the Evangelical Magazine for September, 1817, p. 349.
ance. If I can any way judge of a change, the greater part of these thirty years of my life was spent wholly in a state of unregeneracy, wherein I was not only a stranger, but an enemy to God; and if, out of the lesser half of my time, I subtract all that which hath since been employed in serving the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, how small a part of my time hath my God had to his service; and when, out of that, I subtract all my lifeless, careless duties, wherein I have, as it were, only mocked him, offering a sacrifice without a heart, I am amazed to think that his patience is yet lengthened out to a tree which hath been so many years barren in the vineyard. O what empty spaces are there in the time that is past. I wish that for time to come my time may be better filled up."
"Sept. 14, 1702. Dear brother (after long intermission) came to us, and preached our lecture from Matt. v, 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Lord, entitle me to this blessing. Such are happy in both worldsboth here, and hereafter. This true poverty of spirit is that which empties me of self that I may be filled with Christ. It extends itself to God-our brother-ourselves. It enables us to possess ourselves in any condition. I have often desired it of God, and it is the breathing of my thirsting soul-Lord, make me poor in spirit, and rich in spirituals. How poor soever I may be in the
world, make me rich in faith, an heir of the kingdom,' and I have enough."
At another time she writes thus: "In the evening several of our friends came, especially Mr. King, who was our good helper. He preached excellently next day (Sabbath) from Luke xviii, 22. Yet lackest thou one thing; but he rather insisted on the parallel scripture, What lack I yet? There is much lacking in the best. Alas! I lack muchmuch wisdom, much knowledge, much grace. Surely it is a proper, a very proper question for me to put to myself frequently, and especially some times-when going to prayer. I should then be reflecting-what lack I? What is it most needful to pray for? When going to the Lord's Supper I should askWhat is it I now especially want?—Lord, that my eyes may be opened-that my heart may be softened. This evening we had a long-desired opportunity. All things ready. But my poor heart was not prepared. I was cold and dull. Lord, pity and pardon, and help me in after reflection. I need not long consider to answer this-What lack I yet?”
Noticing an unpleasant dispute between Mr. Savage and a neighbor, she writes, "I heartily desire to forgive him all his hard thoughts and speeches. If we can approve ourselves to God in our integrity, we must be content to pass through evil report, as well as good report. It comforts me much that my husband has so satisfied Mr. Law
rence, Mr. Illidge, and others of the chief of the society, that he has not deserved those aspersions which he has cast upon him. I hope God will, in time, bring good out of this evil. I have earnestly desired it of God, but I am concerned that I do not pray so much and earnestly for him as I should. I think of Mr. Baxter's saying-other's unkindnesses to us are but a check to us for our unkindness to God.'
The concluding sentence of one of the volumes of her Diary is strikingly characteristic of her prevailing disposition. "It is now almost seven years since I began this little book. If there have been the workings of any grace, it is owing to the God of Grace, for I am nothing."
HER PATIENCE AND RESIGNATION UNDER AFFLICTION.
It was in tribulation that Mrs. Savage most evidently manifested, by a heavenly dignity and composure, the influence of piety. In her afflictions we see the keenest sensibility regulated by faith, and in the deepest sorrow behold her yielding, by sincere resignation and fervent prayer, to the divine will. Her patience and humility, with a constellation of celestial graces, shone, in every mel
ancholy gloom, with peculiar lustre. The brilliancy of the stars is best seen when the night is dark. "Oh that we could learn," she remarks, "these four good lessons, which sickness should teach us-What a vain thing the world is-What a vile thing sin isWhat a poor thing man is-What a precious thing an interest in Christ is. If we could thus make the house of affliction a school of instruction, how well were it."
She thus notices the sudden illness of her beloved father, at a time when he was expected to preach at Wrenbury Wood: "Monday, Dec. 26, 1687. I went at night with my husband to Broad Oak, on foot, with a sad heart. Sometimes I could resign my father up to God-then bye-and-bye natural affection prevailed-then, grace again. I well remembered that when, at first, I entered into covenant with God (as well as often since,) I gave my all to him, without excepting any of my dearest comforts, and now shall I draw back? No. I did heartily, as my tender affection would suffer, resign him up to God. We found him not so ill as I feared. Wednesday and Thursday his pain continued, yet still supported. Everlasting arms are under. An unseen hand making all his bed easy to him, and, in some degree profitable to us. Three things, he told us, are comfortable in affliction-An affliction borne patiently-an enemy forgiven heartily-and a Sabbath sanctified uprightly."