« AnteriorContinuar »
walking, no dwelling like this. They that dwell in love dwell in God, and shall be with him for ever. A whole Psalm, the cxxxiii,—a whole Chapter, 1 Cor. xiii,a whole book of Scripture, the first Epistle of John-all written to commend brotherly love.
6. Be careful what company you keep. Psalm i, 1; Acts ii, 40. Be not delighted in that company that you would not be with for ever. "I am a companion of all them that fear thee."
7. Set a watch over the door of thy lips. Psalm cxli, 2. By our words we shall be justified, by our words condemned. Some say, 'Our lips are our own.' Do not say so. Do not think so. The sound of the vessel discovers the emptiness of it. Those that are bound for Canaan must not speak the language of Ashdod. Be the first to begin good discourse, never the first to let it fall.
8. Acknowledge God in all thy ways. Knock at his door. Beg of him guidance and direction, success and a blessing. Ask at his mouth, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" Own him in your successes. In your disappointments acknowledge him. The Lord is pleased to disappoint me in this,
9. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. I fear God hath a controversy with our nation about this. Our fights and our fires discover this so plainly, that he that runs may read. London fire began on the
Sabbath day. So did divers others.
will find that according as you keep the Sabbath, your worldly affairs succeed well or not. "Will a man rob God?"
10. Die daily. Let no day pass without some serious thoughts or words about death and the grave. This will help to make you serious. It was Paul's practice-I die daily." Do something every day to make your dying day comfortable.
11. Honor the Lord with thy substancethat is, dishonor him with no part of it, and pay him his rent out of it, in charity to the poor. They are God's receivers, and are always with us.
12. Make Christ your all in all. Make Christ your strength, to assist you in duty. Make him your righteousness, for nothing we do is, or can be, acceptable to God. None but Christ, none but Christ. I live upon him. I live by him. I live through him."
Mrs. Savage, a few years after her public profession of religion, commenced that particular series of writing, to which I am indebted for the most interesting parts of her biography. "August, 1686. I have had it," she remarks, "in my thoughts, to do something in the nature of a Diary, being encouraged by the advantages others have gained thereby, and the hope that I might be furthered by it in a godly life, and be more watchful over the frame of my heart
when it must be kept on record. I would approve myself to God, who alone knows the sincerity of my heart. To him I have made my request known herein, and I heartily beg that what I shall at any time put down, may be the true workings of my heart, and that I may in nothing bear false witness against myself."
The following year, March 28, 1687, she was married to Mr. John Savage, a respectable farmer, and land-agent, residing at Wrenbury-Wood, near Nantwich, in Cheshire. Her notice of the annual return of that day, evinces much gratitude for the providential kindness which she experienced in the important change. She was not unequally yoked. Mr. Savage appears to have been a pious, active, and useful man. It was his custom, in addition to family and closet duties, to pray with his wife morning and evening, and it pleased God to continue them together on earth forty-two years.
Mr. Henry, conformably to the pious custom of the times, addressed a Sermon to Mr. and Mrs. Savage on their marriage. The text was Genesis ii, 22, and though I am unable to present the reader with the discourse, another, preached by his son Matthew Henry, on a similar occasion, is given in the Appendix.*
A pious solicitude, honorably to discharge the duties of her new relation, is apparent in
* See Appendix, Note B.
her Diary. The anticipation of them was connected with fervent prayer, and her uniform deportment proved that the petitions were sincere.
The first visit she received, in her new abode, from her excellent father, is thus noticed. "He read and expounded the ci, Psalm (well styled the householder's Psalm,) and gave us these rules always to act by; well worth remembering. That God, who is the first and best, must be served with the first and best.-That except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.That every creature is that to us that God makes it to be, comfortable or uncomfortable. That man's life and happiness does not consist in the abundance of what he possesses. That the things of time and the body are not to be compared with the things of the soul, and eternity."
As from this period, her religious principles were necessarily more fully called into exercise, it will not be unprofitable to mark, with increased attention, their holy influence. Religion did not flow, in her soul, as a contracted rivulet in a subterraneous cavern, but like a widely extended river, by its fertilizing streams, it enlivened and enriched the sphere in which she moved.
To delineate the character of persons long since dead, is, indeed, a task: but happily, in the present instance, the difficulty is materially lessened by Mrs. Savage's pious industry.
It is not my intention to eulogize, but, for public advantage, to represent this excellent woman with all possible fidelity. That she had faults none can doubt; though, to adopt the language of her funeral sermon, (an authentic copy of which, in manuscript, is in the author's possession,) "This testimony is borne of her, that notwithstanding the many and great trials she met with in a large family of children and servants, above forty years, she was never seen so much in a passion, as to say, or do, what she might have cause to accuse and reproach herself for afterwards."
*The late Mrs. Brett informed me in conversation, that she distinctly remembered her pious ancestor. In stature she was rather short and corpulent, with features more like the painting of her father than that of her mother. The sprightliness of her disposition appeared even in old age, and she constantly promoted, by heavenly converse, the edification of all around her. Mrs. Brett was often catechised by her, and preserved a prayer which she composed for her use. It is a pleasing specimen of simple language, comprehensive brevity, and pious supplication.