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glad heart, I yield to him. I do not wait any longer. I bless you for telling me, I need not wait."
I have not seen her since. But I have learned that she publicly professed her faith, and lived for years as a reputable and happy believer.
Probably the influences of the Holy Spirit are more common with impenitent sinners than they suppose. Such persons greatly err when, instead of fleeing at once to Christ, they wait, and think they must wait, for some attainment first. Their waiting for it is but a deceptive excuse; and if they suppose they have gained any attainment, and on that ground Christ has accepted them, their religion is only self-righteousness and delusion. A broken heart is invited to the balm of Gilead. "Tell other sinners that Christ is waiting for them."
The subtlety of the adversary is wonderful. The want of the Holy Spirit was this woman's obstacle. The devil had led her to believe, that she was forsaken of the Spirit; and if she was, she knew from the Bible that there was no other help for her. Instead of going to Christ, therefore, in faith, she miserably supposed that she must wait. She did not know that the very urgency and influence of the Holy Spirit consist in bringing sinners to embrace Jesus Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel. The very thing that God wanted her to do, was the very thing that she supposed she must not do; and thus she was compelled to wait in darkness and fear, by a subtle device of the adversary. It is important for convicted sinners to know, that the cause of their irreligion is not that Christ is not willing to receive them, but that they are not willing to trust in him.
"TOO HARD FOR ME."
Morris Clinton was an only son, bom to wealth and a proud position in society. He belonged to one of the best families in the distriot in which I resided—a family, however, in which there was no deep or spiritual religion. Blameless in all outward and social morality, few of its members displayed interest in vital godliness. His father was preeminently worldly, seeking mainly to increase his already large fortune, and looking to see his son, as he expressed it, "cut a handsome figure in the world." Mrs. Clinton, how
ever, was a Christian; and while Morris was a child, he was sufficiently under her influence to be gently led in the paths of Christian nurture.
But as he emerged from childhood, the more worldly views of his father and other friends drew him gradually into another course. Morris was easily influenced; he was gentle and yielding. So, while from habit and deference to his mother's wishes he spent his sabbaths in outward religious observances, he followed his gay comrades during the week to the racecourse, the ball-room, and the theatre; and he tolerated as friends some whom he knew to be familiar with haunts of vice. Yet the young man was himself free from all gross immoralities, and was warmly loved by his family and his acquaintances. Especially was he an object of deep interest to his minister, who saw his amiable natural traits, his danger of being led hopelessly astray, and he earnestly desired to see him a trophy to Christ.
When the young man was in his nineteenth year, not a few of his friends were led to give their hearts to the Redeemer. Morris became a subject of pious solicitude and prayer, and many were the invitations he received to join those who were seeking the Lord. He did not seem insensible to the appeals made to him, but still kept himself in the charmed circle of the world's gaieties, holding aloof, as much as his courteous nature would allow, from the tender persuasions of Christians.
At length his minister sought and found an opportunity for direct personal conversation with him upon the subject of his soul's salvation. "I cannot see you continue indifferent to your immortal interests," the good man said, "without a special entreaty to you to give instant heed to this great matter of obtaining peace with God. Surely you must think, must know, how important a thing it is for a sinner under sentence of eternal death to seek and to gain reconciliation with his God—to win through Jesus Christ pardon and life."
"I do," replied Morris, "I do acknowledge the duty of becoming a Christian. I have been too well instructed by yourself and by my mother not to know that I ought to repent of sin and give my heart to God. But it is too hard for me at present; I cannot see my way clear to lead a Christian life."
"Surely, my dear young friend, there are no obstacles on the part of God. He has made full provision for you, has opened a clear way through the hlood and intercession of his dear Son, and now calls to yon, 'All things are ready.' Why will you delay?"
Morris was deeply moved, and his trembling lips could hardly speak his answer. "Dear sir," he said, " 1 feel the force of your appeal. I would be a Christian; I hope and mean to be some time."
"God's time is now, Morris: 'To day if ye will hear his voice; harden not your hearts.' Do you not believe this a present duty?"
"Yes," was the young man's honest answer.
"What hinders you then?" rejoined the pastor.
"Morris could not longer withstand the kind urgency of this best of friends. "I will tell you frankly," he said. "I cannot become a Christian without giving up those amusements in which I find my chief enjoyment. I cannot lead a religious life without abandoning the companions whose society is so pleasant. The sacrifice is too hard for me."
Ah! had the deluded youth realized how sweet were the pleasures which religion yields; had he been willing to trust a Saviour's promise to recompense a hundred-fold tho6e who for his sake give up friends who are dear to them, he might have had in this world the reward of longer life, and "in the world to come life everlasting."
The gay companions whom Morris Clinton could not give up, took him, a few days after his pastor's appeal, .for a moonlight sail in the harbour; and one of them, while excited with wine, upset the boat, causing Morris and another to find a watery grave.
Dear young readers, be warned by the above true history, and do not feel that it is too hard to obey God. He knows how to reward every sacrifice made for him. Especially will he bestow sweeter pleasures in the ways of wisdom than sinful follies can yield, and he will give his followers not only the purest, but the most satisfying friendships. And who can tell that an ungodly companion, renounced for Jesus' sake, may not, by that very renunciation, be led himself to Christ, and thus the ties of earth merge in the fellowship of heaven.
Dear Lucy was very, very ill; so was Mary, the servant; and my mother was still confined to her bed with the chronic disease which had so long afflicted her. What I should have done without our kind neighbour, Mrs. Wake, I really cannot tell; but she did wonders, for she took all the responsibility of nursing off my hands, and was so prompt and energetic, and yet so gentle, and she so efficiently seconded the doctor's opinions and carried out his directions, that, in the course of a day or two, things began to wear another aspect. With kind and matronly tender
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ness, she insisted upon my taking proper rest, and not exposing myself to the dreaded infection more than was necessary; while, at the same time, she spoke such encouraging words as inspired me with hope. Strange that, even then, I could not, or would not, lay aside my prejudices; hut submitted to the infliction (as I should have termed it) of Mrs. Wake's presence, because I could not, in common decency, decline her help, and bid her take her departure.
J believe that my parents also would have preferred that the help had been rendered by almost any one else; for they both of them shared in my prejudices against our new neighbours. Mrs. Wake must have been aware of this, for my mother never expressed a wish to see the self-constituted nurse; and though my father, in a blunt kind of way, expressed his thanks to her for her extraordinary charity, he, as far as he could, avoided her. The perception of this, however, made no diiference in our kind friend, who, like a true sister of mercy, continued her self-denying attendance at the bedside of the fever-stricken patients.
But if Mrs. Wake was treated with constrained courtesy by my father, and by me with cold civility, there was one who better appreciated her kindness. This was my sister Lucy, who soon became accustomed to her new attendant; and, without knowing by what means Mrs. Wake had obtained access to her chamber, received the attentions with affectionate gratitude and confidence. It was "dear nurse," as she called Mrs. Wake, who could gently raise her throbbing head, without causing additional pain, and could smooth the pillow so as to give some temporary ease. It was "dear nurse " who could persuade her to swallow the nauseous draughts which were to make her well, but which before she had petulantly refused to take. It was "dear nurse" who whispered hope and comfort to her, when no one else could do it; and it was "dear nurse" who, when Lucy began to amend, spoke loving words about the good Physician of souls, and the fatal disease of sin from which he alone could deliver, which brought tears of mingled grief and gladness to my sister's eyes.
I knew all this afterwards; but, at the time, I only felt or fancied with angry jealousy that Mrs. Wake was monopolizing Lucy's affections; and the more I thought of this, the stronger grew my concealed dislike to our kind-hearted and Christian neighbour.