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MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.
"I have been young, and now am old."
"O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together."
THE following chapters are republished, with very slight alterations, from the "Christian Register," where they first appeared as they were written from week to week. The author has been gratified to learn that they are thought to be of good tendency, and has consented that they shall appear in the present form, although his plan is far from being completed. Whether it
will be carried on to a completion or not, depends upon circumstances which cannot be foreseen. In the mean time, it will be a subject of grateful rejoicing to him, if his humble fragment shall be the means of doing any thing for that personal religion, which is the first and greatest concern of man.
I HAVE lived long enough in the world to exhaust all its pleasures, and to be more than wearied with its cares. Like other old men, I look back upon a life of mingled joy and sorrow, light and darkness, and take an equally melancholy satisfaction in the remembrance of each. There is one light, as I look back, which I see shining every where; brighter than the sun of my prosperity, and casting the rainbow of peace on every cloud of my adversity; and that is the light of God's love. I cannot remember the hour when I have seen it hidden. O that I had always honored and loved it as became his child! And even now, when the infirmities of age are stealing upon me, and, to the outward eye of man, nothing remains for me but toil and sorrow even now, that love is not withdrawn. It has lighted up, as I may say, a torch of hope, which dissipates all the present clouds of earth, and scatters the thick darkness of the valley of the shadow of death. He who was the guide of my youth, is the strength of my age. He who was my sun at the noon of life, is my shield at its close.
Why should I fear for the future, when the past, though checkered with ill, is yet one continued testimony of divine faithfulness?
Methinks, as I draw near the tomb, I am as much tranquillized and gladdened by my remembrance of the past, as by my hope of the future. And why should I not be? For my faith in the promises is always the clearer and brighter, when I think of my experience of past faithfulness; and my hope is never so steadfast, as when it is supported upon the arm of memory. It is when I reflect on
the joy and peace of days gone by, that I feel most able to trust those which are coming. It is then that
Religion bears my spirits up,
And I enjoy a blessed hope.
I cannot remember the time when I had not a sense of religion, and a fear of God; and I have no doubt that it is owing to my early and habitual impressions, which became interwoven in my soul, as a part of its very fabric, or constitution, that I have enjoyed such quietness and steadfastness throughout a long pilgrimage. Little do parents consider, while they are forming their infants' hearts and characters upon other principles, and teaching them to act by other motives, how difficult they render a subjection to religious motives afterward, and how they subtract from the sum of their religious enjoyment. Were all mothers like mine, how greatly would the obedience of the young Christian be facilitated, and the peace of his pilgrimage insured! I love to dwell on the memory of that honored woman. My earliest recollection of her is in the act of teaching me to pray, when she every evening took me on her knees, and, clasping my little hands, made me repeat after her my childish petitions. Methinks I still see the beautiful expression of her maternal eye, and feel the kiss, full of affec