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pentance: humbles their souls ; lays them prostrate in penitential confession ; washes them afresh in the open fountain ; restores to them the joys of his salvation; seals their pardon by shedding abroad his love in their hearts, and making them " walk in the path of righteousness for his own name's sake."
Thus he carries them on “ from strength to strength" by various means of his own appointing, and some terrible things in righteousness, in the course of his providence; in all which he is sovereign, but ever consistent with his new covenant time, as proclaimed to Moses on the mount: as manifested in the character of God, dwelling with us in our own nature, in whom mercy shone prominent, his darling attribute ; by which mercy, “ They shall appear in Zion, before God,” in due time.
Is it so ? Is this God my God, and the God of my seed ? Is he himself become our salvation? Are we heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ? Is our life hid with Christ in God? When he appears, shall we (I and the children which he hath given me) in very deed, appear with him in glory? Is all this so? Shall I believe it! Yet I tremble at the approach of any of his providences. Shall I not say, when it has taken place, The will of the Lord be done, especially when clothed with love; I trust that, as my day, so shall my strength be, and in the interim, I have the same confidence for you.
“For he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
April 25, 1801. My dear Children,
The storms and tempests that have almost unremittingly succeeded each other, ever since you left us, have kept my mind in constant exercise about you ; the wind roars and howls in my windows, though not facing the storm : and the white waves in the river picture, in my mind, the foaming billows of the ocean. The name of our God is my consolation ; though the waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God. God shall help her, and that right early. When I walk about Zion, and go round about her, when I " tell the towers thereof, mark her bulwarks, and consider her palaces," my heart rejoices, that "this God is our God; he will be our guide even unto death ;” and O the joy, that my children are the citizens of this Zion, and the heirs of all the promises by virtue of the New Testament in Christ's blood! A covenant of works it was to our Surety, and his heart's blood finished the requisites of it. It is now a Testament to you, sealed by the same blood. Wherever in his word I meet the character, the providence, the work of God, I read my own and my children's interest. I hope your experience will be in Psalm cvii. 28. If not wholly, it shall terminate in Psalm xxiii. 4. Though you "walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you shall fear no evil;" for this God, who is your Guide, even unto death, shall be with you; “his rod and staff shall comfort you;" and our darling J-y, he shall carry as a lamb in his arms, and hide her from the horrors, in his bosom. I dwell much on these subjects, and I feel comforted, whatever be the event.
If the Lord has carried you safely through, and you
live to read this in the body, know that our God continues to bless us abundantly, in health, peace, and plenty, as to temporals ; we also experience the peace of his covenant, and have tastes of the bread and of the water of life. Thanks, all thanks, to our new covenant Head, for the stability of the covenant; we change, but he changes not. He himself is the covenant given to the people, and because he lives, his people shall live also, in spite of Satan, and his colleague sin, in our heart: sin may, and does, bring his people into captivity, but it shall not keep them in bondage for ever. The time of deliverance “ shall come, when they shall revive as the corn,” &c. Is it not a wellordered covenant, and sure ?
May 10, 1801. My dear Children,
Last evening was preparation sermon! Mr. Ypreached a very excellent sermon from the Song of Solomon, “ Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved ?" He considered first, the wilderness of this world ; next the church coming up; then the attitude leaning, and on whom. I thought the simile well supported, and practical, as he went on. His application was rich on the Christian's support, where he brought into view many
of the names of Christ. After sermon we witnessed a most affecting scene; two female members rebuked, and restored to the communion of the church. Never, never,
did our dear Mr. M. shine so bright in my eyes ; many tears were shed. I knew nothing of it, and wondered to what he was leading, when he addressed the congregation after sermon, upon Christian walk, watchfulness, and temptation, and the distress occasioned in Christian society, when any of the members were left to fall into open and aggravated sin. Such was the case in our own congregation ; two (naming the offenders) had been so far left; but, while deeply wounded by the sin and scandal, he was consoled by their penitence; he assured the congregation that they had given great evidence of deep contrition, and were now come forward to acknowledge their crime before their offended and grieved brethren, and to give all the satisfaction in their
power, by submitting to the censure of the church in this public manner, which, although painful to him, he must pronounce according to God's appointment.
“ Them who sin before all, rebuke before all.” He then made them stand up; scarcely an individual turned to look ; many were weeping while he laid before them their guilt in strong, yet tender, terms; and finished by expressing his approbation of their thus submitting to the rod : pronounced their absolution, and gave them an exhortation to humility, and redoubled watchfulness. Then, again, he addressed the members, requesting them to receive into their Christian love and affection their repenting, returning sisters : that they would treat them with tenderness, and restore them in the spirit of meekness, considering themselves as also in the body, and subject to temptation. Let no one put them in remembrance of the sin which the Father of mercies has blotted out, nor open those wounds which he has closed. “ He doth not chide continually, nor retain his anger for ever." ' But I can do no justice to the melting tenderness of his address. Afterwards, the youngest brought her babe to the font of baptism; and here, and in prayer, Mr. M— was very particular. She appeared to be weeping all the time.
May the Lord bless the discipline of his church; may he meet us to-morrow with multiplied pardons; may he melt our hearts to contrition, heal our backslidings, and manifest himself as married unto us; may he bring us into his banqueting-house; may his banner over us be love : may his grace be magnified, and his name glorified : and may he send a portion to my dear children-yea,“ a Ben- , jamin's portion;" may he open wide the leaves of that New Testament, and let them read their rich inheritance, and rejoice in their portion.
Two days more will fill up seven weeks since you sailed ; but, from every account of the winds, you have not reached port, at least a port on earth.
Farewell, my dear children. The Lord bless you, keep you, guide you, and cause his face to shine on you ; so prays your affectionate mother.
May 21, 1801. I would fain begin to hope that my dear children are now on or near the green fields of Albion. Many a severe gale has agitated them, and tried their faith and confidence, before this day. But as He who sitteth on the clouds commanding and governing the elements, is their own God in covenant, who loves them, cares for them, and perfects what concerns them ; I hope that they have had much of his presence ; and have found, even on the boisterous