Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Į felt the same force, but not the same sweetness, from what he said. It was a harsh sound, and the vibration long dwelt upon my ear, how should man be just with GOD? It followed me to what Job calls the visions of the night ;* and even then, like the spectre which he saw, the same expostulating voice seemed to cry, how should man be just with GOD?

The stern demand rung through all the chambers of the conscience, as if a thousand voices had concurred to proclaim the utter impossibility of answering the question, in the very moment of proposing it. And as an echo reverberates from broken walls, so the sound of conviction returned from my broken heart; by the deeds of the Law no fiesh can be justified in His sight.

It is with some degree of grateful recollection, that I look back upon this part of my history; and bless God, while I trace His Divine hand, graciously interposing by the instrumentality of this poor man, to rescue me from the dangerous path of delusion, into which I had turned, when seeking justification by the deeds of the Law. I can now enter into à participation of David's experience upon a similar occasion, and feel somewhat of that spirit which he felt in the instance of the wife of the Carmelite, when under a deep conviction of that sin-preventing providence, he cried out; blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me; and blessed be thy

* Job, iv. Rom. ii. 20.*

[ocr errors]

advice, and blessed be thou. In like manner I find cause to bless God in the review of this instance as the Author, and the poor man as the instrument, and his advice as the means, which the Lord was pleased to commission, for the emancipation of my mind from a self-confidence; which if cherished, must have ultimately ended in my eternal ruin.

- And my reader will I hope forgive me, if I interrupt the progress of the history for a moment, only to remind him, that unless the mind be brought under similar conclusions re* specting the unalterable and unaccommodating rights of God's demands; woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! We may fancy what we please, and frame a standard of our own for God to go by, according to our notions of the fitness of things; as if an arraigned culprit at the bar, should stand up and prescribe laws to his judge! But it would be well to consider, before it be too late, the very solemn tone of decision, in which scripture hath settled the point, which leaves the subject at once determined and without appeal. Behold He putteth no trust in His Saints; even His Angels He chargeth with folly. What then is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ? ||.

There is an interpretation, which I have since learnt, to the text of the prophet, Micah vi. and verse 8; , which the moral preacher

discoursed upon, very different from his; and : $ 1 Sam. xxv. 32.. | Job. iv. 18. Chap. xv. 14.

which I bless God the Spirit for teaching me. To do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbiy with GOD: the Prophet himself, in the very words as they stand, declares that these separate acts are with GOD, in their performance. And without all possible dispute, the first and highest instances of all duties, must have a priority of reference towards Him. Hence, therefore, I do justice with God, when from a clear conviction, that I have broken his righteous laws, and as such, stand exposed to the penalty due to the breach of them ; I confess, that I merit nothing from His Almighty hand, but indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. I love mercy, in the fullest and truest sense 'of loving mercy, when I acknowledge, upon my bended knees and in the most heartfelt rejoicing, that it is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed, because His compassions fail not. And I defy any one to walk more humbly with GOD, than the Believer, who while daily confessing himself to deserve nothing but punishment, is receiving nothing but mercy. This is indeed to follow up the Divine precept, and becomes the best comment upon what may well be supposed the Lord requireth. But the view of the prophet's words, according to this interpretation of them, is what I did not learn, in the early part of my pilgrimage. The reader will forgive the introduction of it here.


For ever driven from the asylum of moral duties, as a justifying principle before God; and still restless and uneasy from the suspense of an awakened mind, in respect to the solemn events of futurity; I found myself compelled to go farther in the pursuit of the wished-for. happiness; though what path to explore, or where to direct my enquiry, I knew not.

There lived a family of long reputed piety, whose place of residence lay not far out of my way; from whom it struck me, that some information might be obtained. I instantly directed my steps towards the house. And I was led to consider it as a very peculiar coincidence of circumstances, and not unfavorable to my purpose, that the household were engaged at their morning devotions, just in the moment that I entered their dwelling.

There is a principle, I know not by what term to call it, which acts with singular energy on the human mind, at the very appearance of religious worship. The heart is instinctively, brought within the sphere of attraction, and is secretly inclined to participate in what it beholds.. I felt this influence operating the moment I entered the room. I considered what this family was engaged in, as a common interest, a common concern; so that without giving any interruption, I dropped upon my knees, unbida den and uninvited, in the midst of the circle,

When the devotion was finished, the master of the house desired me to be seated, and our conversation, naturally taking its rise out of the incident of the moment, turned on religion.

“ It is my uniform custom, Sir, (said he) to “ begin and end the day in prayer-I consider “ it to be my duty. I know it exposes me to the “ sneer of the fashionable world; but I cannot “ help that. It appears to me to be the obli“ gation of every master of a family, to set up “ the form of religion in his house; and, for ex“ ample's sake, to lead his household to the “ church on Sundays. For the same reason “ I make it a point, that all the elder branches “ of my family, after they have been confirmed, “ should attend the monthly sacrament; and “it is my wish, that my wife and daughter3. “should go to prayers on the week days and “ festivals : And I believe they are pretty con“ stant in their attendance. And, Sir, we all “ find the good effects of it. We are pros“ perous in the world; and chearful and happy " as you see. Religion has nothing gloomy “ with us. No family, I persuade myself, is “ more comfortable than ours.”. .

The master of the house said, this, with so much complacency and satisfaction, and there seemed to be so much chearfulness appearing in every countenance of his household, that I began to hope the object of my visit was answered, without further enquiry. I concluded with myself, that if the observance of religious duties was capable of inducing so much happi


« AnteriorContinuar »