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of old, in their emancipation from Egypt, of whom it is said, that God led them not through the land of the Philistines, although that was near, lest when they should see war their minds should be tempted to return ; but Gọp led the people about through the way of the wilderness. * Similar to this now, in the first opening of the spiritual path, the difficulties and discouragements are by no means like those which believers meet in the after stages of their pilgrimage. Thousands there are, who like Israel have sung the song of triumph, as they did at the RedSea, when a forty years travelling through a dreary wilderness lay still between them and Canaan. And many, no doubt, like Israel too, afterwards, in the midst of some heavy unlooked for trial, have been prompted to exclaim in the bitterness of their soul, Is the LORD among us or no?
The reader will indulge me again to pause over this remark, and ask him if his experience hath nothing of a correspondence with it? I am persuaded the case is very general. The gracious Leader of His little flock, who feeds them, as it is said, like a shepherd, gathers (we are told) the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom, and gently leads those that are with young. He always suits the strength to the day. He proportions the burden to the back. Hence the earliest inanifestations of Divine love are generally the most pleasing, and, according to our conception of things, in
** Exodus xiii. 17.
that period, the most powerful. It is in grace, as it is in nature; first impressions are most affecting. When the eye of the body suddenly emergeth from darkness into light, the transition is most strongly felt. And in like manner, when the eye of the soul is first opened to see the wonderous things of God's law, the effect is proportionably greater than when accustomed to their view.
I could wish the reader of long experience would consider this more than, I am persuaded, is generally done; and mark it down in the diary of his pilgrimage. These things formed many hard problems in David's life; until frequent experiments, aided by frequent visits to the sanctuary, explained them. It was not in the first trials that he adopted that sentiment, I know that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.* It becomes a very blessed proof of advances in grace, when the tried soul can use such language.
But to return,—The season was come, when my exercises were to be given me. And for the better opportunity of trial, all human aid was to be first withdrawn; that like the pelican in the wilderness, being solitary, Jesus might be my sole resource. My faithful friend and companion the LORD had removed out of my sight. He had sent the worm to destroy this highly prized gourd. And now the storm began.
* Psalm cxix. 75.
I have not, according to the usual mode of histories, brought my reader in the former part of my tale acquainted with an account of my connections in the world. The reason hath been, that objects of an higher and more interesting nature claimed a priority of attention. It would not even now be at all important, : in the memoirs of a Pilgrim to Zion, to inquire “to whom related or by whom begotten.". But if he wishes to know, he may be told, that I have not been without the enjoyment of those sweet charities of life. The Lord hath given me many who are very near, and very dear, to my affection in the ties of nature. Even in the very moment while writing, I feel all the tender influences of the claim'; and pause to lift an eye of humble supplication to the God of all grace, that He may give to every one of them grace according to the measure of the gift of CHRIST. Grace doth not destroy, it only heightens and refines our feelings.
Among the number there was one more intimately wrapped about my heart, whose influence in every thing but religion, I have ever found it to be both my interest and my happiness to feel: for whom there needs no other claim than nature's feelings to call forth every energy of the mind in the promotion of her welfare ; and in grace my earliest and latest prayers for her salvation will cease but with my breath.
Perhaps some reader, circumstanced in the same particularity of situation and of sentiment, may feel his mind drawn out in a similar affection. As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
I sustained very much of conflicts and persecutions from the whole of my unawakened relations. But from her, in the sweet and almost irresistible claims, in which her arguments were encircled, ten-fold more than all. “You have “ made up your mind, I suppose,” (said one of them to me, in a very pointed and half-angry manner, one day when the conversation had been serious) “ to forego all your future pros« pects in this world. Neither the profits nor “ pleasures of this life can be worth your atten“ tion. And as to the scorn and derision of “ mankind, no doubt you move in an atmosphere “ too high to be sensible of it.” “I do very “ earnestly wish (said another) that you would “ reflect before it be too late, of the folly and “ scandal of associating yourself with such low “ and ignorant persons, as you have lately “ made your companions. A man of your “ education and ability to be seen with such ! “ Have you no pride, no regard to your own “ character ?” A third upbraided me with “ blasting all the hopes of my family, and that “I should certainly bring myself to beggary." And a fourth very jocularly desired me first to " be assured of the reality of what I professed “ 'to be looking forward to another world for,
| Proverbs xxvii. 19.
“before that I relinquished all the prospects and enjoyments of this.”
But all these were trifling, compared to the solicitations, the remonstrances, the jealousies, displeasure, and a long train of other persuasions, with which that very near and tender friend, before-mentioned armed herself to prevail upon me to relinquish my pursuit. · And if no power but nature had been with me to resist her claim, very sure am I, that I must have yielded to intreaties coming from an advocate so endearing. “If,” (said she, in a moment of peculiar solemnity, after speaking of a dear friend to both, departed into the world of spirits) “ if those new sentiments of yours be really “ founded in truth," what is become of him “ whom we followed to the grave? Is it possible " that so much sweetness and amiableness can “ be lost?"_The reader who knows what the conflicts of nature and grace mean; whose heart at times is like that of the Shulamite, in the contentions of two armies, will know somewhat of what I have felt in those seasons.
-Adored Redeemer ! I have not wanted, Thou knowest, that evidence of being Thy follower ; in plucking out an eye, cutting off an arm, and taking up a cross ! - It was the legacy of my late companion, that I might know the fellowship of CHRIST's sufferings. And here was an answer to his prayer.
It was much about the same period, in which my mind was thus deeply exercised with the unceasing importunity and persecutions of my