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was a severe disappointment. 'Is there no dispensation?' I asked. 'Can I be admitted to my Master's table on no other conditions?'
"On none other, certainly,' replied he. 'It is Christ's church, and I can dispense with nothing which he requires.' "And does he require all these articles to be believed?' said I. 'Some of them appear contradictory, some unreasonable, and some I do not remember in the Scriptures.'
"Mr. Welston seemed surprised, and endeavored to convince me of my error. But the truths which had consoled and supported me, in which I had rejoiced and hoped, were not the doctrines of a depraved nature, election and reprobation, and the saving of only a few by the suffering in their stead of the second person in the Trinity. I had not so learned Christ, and was unable to assent to his expostulations. He at length told me that I needed to be humbled; that my pride of reason must be rebuked ere I could receive the testimony of God.
"This cut me to the heart. I had been humbled· thoroughly, bitterly humbled; and, if I know myself at all, I was willing and glad to cast myself unreservedly on God's word. What else had I? Where else could I go? That word was every thing to me. I had not a desire, or wish, or hope, except what rested there. To be thus suspected of proudly opposing it, to be accused of trusting to myself, when my whole heart leaned on God, — seemed cruel. I felt it deeply, and wept bitterly.
"Here was a new trial. It seemed as if my faith must be in every possible way exposed, that it might be proved what it could endure. I found myself looked upon with an evil eye, and regarded as an enemy to that religion which was my only friend, and for which I was ready to sacrifice every thing. I was treated as dishonoring my dear Lord, whose
name was a precious balm to my spirit, and rebelling against the authority of God, to whom it was my first desire and study to be submissive. For the first time in my life, I found religious truth made the subject of controversy. I had got where the Christian standard was composed of party materials. I found that devotion, meekness, humility, charity, and good works, love to God, love to man, and an unspotted life, were not thought to constitute a disciple; and that men judged of the Christian, not by the graces that he exhibits, but by the articles of faith he subscribes. My own case, therefore, was hopeless. I had been mainly anxious for the Christian heart and life, and my articles were of a different complexion. Unhappy as I was made by being obliged to defend them, I yet could not renounce them; unhappy as I was, to be denied the privilege of owning and honoring my Lord, yet I had no alternative, for I could not assent to a confession which he had not taught me.
"Under this disappointment I have lived year after year. Wretched, indeed, has it sometimes made me; more wretched now, as the end of life approaches, for my soul longeth, yea, panteth, for the consolation of this communion with Jesus. I trust that it is not an act essential to my salvation; but I feel that it would greatly conduce to my peace. And all that I desire on earth would be complete, if this one further blessing could be allowed me before I go hence."
It was one of the happy moments of my life, when I assured this pious sufferer that her desire should be granted. I had had abundant evidence to satisfy me that she exercised an acceptable faith; and the church did not hesitate to welcome to their communion one who was evidently to be, in so short a period, admitted to the higher communion of the church in heaven.
It was on the bright afternoon of a beautiful Sabbath, that,
accompanied by a few friends, I visited the lowly abode of the dying believer, to administer this token of her faith and instrument of her consolation. Her wasted form was supported by pillows on the low bed. Her wan cheek was flushed slightly with the excitement of expectation, and her eye lighted up with a peculiar and animated lustre. Her trembling daughter stood over her, and the silent company gazed with sympathy and admiration, till the holy service commenced; and then I trust that all hearts were absorbed in the act of devotion. It was a poor hovel, and a passenger might have cast upon it a look of compassion and disgust, at the wretchedness which must inhabit it. But the scene that was transacting within, where faith and patience were serenely waiting the summons of death, and religious friendship was kneeling around the couch as an altar, and presenting supplications in the name of Him who died for man, - this was a scene at which it was a privilege to be present, and which more than changed the cottage to a palace. The whole soul of the dying Christian seemed collected in her countenance. It seized upon and responded to every expression of faith, penitence, gratitude, and hope. And when the service was closed, and she sunk back exhausted, we gazed upon it as it had been the face of an angel. She said with a faint smile, " Now I can depart in peace; ." and before the smile had faded from her cheek, death set its seal there forever.