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“ which Thou hast spread before us for the “ support of our perishing bodies. And we “intreat Thee for grace from Thy Holy Spirit “in the use of it, that we may receive this and "every other blessing, as coming from our « reconciled Father and God in Christ Jesus. “ Vouchsafe, dearest Saviour, to sit at the table “ which Thou hast furnished; and may we be « among those, which shall sit at Thy table in " Thy kingdom; and while, as Thy children 6 going home to Thine House, Thou art re« freshing us thus by the way, though all the “ benefit be ours, let Thine be all the glory. “ Amen."
We had scarcely finished our repast, when the mistress of the house came in to inform us of the situation of a poor man in the street, who had been bed-ridden for fifteen years. “ He is a very pious créature,” (added, the mistress) “ and a great number of gentry go to fryisit him. I thought it might be pleasant to “ you to hear of him."-" That it is” (replied my friend) « and we thank you for it. We “ will go to see him. Where is his dwelling?" “ Five doors only below our house” (she answered)" and the waiter shall shew you." . When we came into the poor man's room, though every thing manifested the indigence of his circumstances, yet it was that kind of poverty which recommended itself by its clean
liness.-There stood a lady at the foot of his bed, in conversation with the sick man. '“ How “ do you live?” (I heard her say as I entered “ the chamber) " Live, madam ?" (replied the
poor man) “ I am in very good circumstances. ..“ I am not only rich by reason of present pos," sessions ; but I am heir to a large estate.” “ Astonishing !" (said she); you were pointed “out to me as a very poor man, and I came to “ give you some relief.” “ That you may still “ do, madam, if you please,". (answered he) “ for the riches I possess, and the inheritance « to which I am born, do not at present make “ me above charity. I am only rich in faith, “ and an heir of the kingdom.” Oh !" (replied the lady) " is that all ? But in the mean time “ how do you manage for this world ?” “My “ God" (cried the poor man) “supplies all my "need, according to His riches in glory by " Christ Jesus. I know both how to be abased, " and I know how to abound. I am instructed “ both to be full, and to be hungry; both to “ abound, and to suffer need. When my worldly
stock is reduced low, and I have neither scrip, “ nor bread, nor money in the purse; I make “use of bank-notes." .“ Bank-notes !” (exclaimed the lady). “Yes, madam;"(he answered) “ here is a book full of them,” (taking up a Bible which lay upon the bed, and opening it); ~ and oftentimes I find many folded up together « in the same place to which I open. Look “ here, madam,” (he continued); “ see, here " is a promise suited to every poor man's case, “ When the poor and needy seek for water, and “ there is none, and their tongue faileth for « thirst; I the LORD will hear them, I the GOD “ of Israel will not forsake them. I will open “ rivers in high places, and fountains in the 6 midst of vallies.* And the high value of
“ those promises is, that they are sure and .“ certain. Faith draws upon the Almighty
“ Banker, and His is all prompt payment.” While the poor sick man said this, he opened the Bible to another part, and he exclaimed again, “See, madam, here is another promise “ to a soul under doubts and fears. I will “ instruct thee, and teach thee in the way “ wherein thou shalt go; I will guide thee with “ mine eye. And thus, madam, in every state “ and every circumstance of life, in this blessed “ book are assurances exactly suited to the wants “ both of my body and soul. Promises of pro« vision for the way; deliverances under danger; « preservation in seasons of affliction ; support “ under trouble; direction in times of difficulty; " and the Lord's assured presence in every “ time of need. Fear thou not, for I am with “ thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. “ I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will help thee; “ yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of “ My righteousness."
The lady, without adding any thing, put a piece of money into the poor man's hand, and withdrew. What her sentiments were, I know not. But, as soon as she was departed, my
* Is. xli. 17, 18. ; Psalın xxxii. 8. $ Isaiah xli, 10.5 companion addressed the sick man. “I am much delighted" (he said) “ to see you, my “ friend, so chearful. It is a pleasing con“ sideration, that your sickness is sanctified.-“But are you enabled always thus to rejoice in 6. the promises ?
"Oh ! dear sir (the poor man answered) no. “ Very frequently, through unbelief, I am “ tempted to exclaim, with the church of old, “ My hope is perished from the LORD.* I “ have seasons of darkness, and times of temp* tation. And although I can and do say, " through grace strengthening me, sometimes “ under both, Rejoice not against me, O mine “ enemy; for though I fall, I shall arise ; “ though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a “ light unto me. Yet in my haste I cry out, - all are liars. But blessed be the LORD under « all, my God is faithful. He is better to me “ than all my fears.”
At the poor man's request, my friend and I sat down, and we had a most refreshing season. I could truly say, It is good to be here ! : We parted not till we had spent a few minutes in prayer. And in the conclusion, the paralytic broke out in a faint and trembling voice,
“ My willing soul would stay
- In such a frame as this ; “ And sing itself away
. :"To everlasting bliss.” Our departure from the sick-room was affecting. We parted as those who were to meet no more on this side the grave.
* Lam. iii. 18. Mic. vii. 8.