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covenant, and tasted his covenant love, and devoted myself to his service; but very far was I from that non-conformity which the precept of the Gospel requires ; had I kept close to my covenant God, enjoyed his bounty with thankfulness, occupied my talents, devoted my time to usefulness and communion with him; had I prayed against corruption within, and temptation without, the Lord would have directed my steps, and held up my goings, and I should have continued to inherit the earth, and should not have been diminished. But this was very far from being my conduct; the bent of the natural, unrenewed heart, is still opposed to God; and the best are sanctified only in part, while in this life; the law in the members still wars against the law of the Spirit of life, in the mind. The goodness of God, which ought to have been a powerful motive to gratitude, love, and diligence, was mis-improved: I enjoyed the gifts, and forgot the Giver ; "hugged my comforts to death. Many, many light chastisements, my dear, my kind, my indulgent heavenly Father exercised me with ; I had many repenting seasons under his strokes ; I received many manifestations of pardon; and many fresh and solemn dedications of my heart, life, and substance, did I make: but no sooner were ease and comfort restored, than my heart“ turned aside like a deceitful bow;" my whole life, from fifteen to the thirtieth year of my age, was one continued succession of departure and backsliding on my part; of chastening, forgiving, restoring, and comforting, on the part of my God.
He did not cast me off, but dealt with me according to the constitution of his well-ordered covenant-Psalm lxxxix. 30.; “ If his children" (Christ's) “ forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments—if they break my statutes, and
keep not my commandments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail ; my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” This is the covenant (made with Christ as the federal head of all who believe) of which I took hold in early life; my God kept me to my choice, and manifested his own faithfulness, and the stability of his covenant. When lighter afflictions proved ineffectual, he at last, at one blow, took from me all that made life dear, the very kernel of all my earthly joys, my idol, my beloved husband. Then I no longer halted between two opinions; my God became my all. I leave it as my testimony, that He has been “ a Father to the fatherless, a Husband to the widow, the stranger's Shield," and the “ orphan's Stay." Even to hoar hairs and to old age has he carried me, and " not one good word has failed" of all that he has promised. He has done all things well,' and at this day I am richer and happier than ever I was in my life. Not that I am yet made free from sin, that is still my burden; want of love and gratitude, indolence in commanded duty, self-will, and nestling in the creature. But
heart's wish and earnest desire is conformity. The bent of my will is for God; and if my heart deceive me not, my God is the centre of my best affections. It is by grace that I am what I am, and the same grace engages to perfect the work begun.
This God is my God; he will guide me even unto death, through death, and be my portion through eternity. This God I recommend to my friend ; and this well-ordered covenant, this all-sufficient Saviour, for your acceptance; and the Bible for your guide: pray to God for his Holy Spirit to lead you to the knowledge of the very truth, as it is in Jesus. Accept this as a testimony of friendship, and believe me yours in love,
November 2, 1800. You have, I find, been the child of affliction ; she is a stern, rugged nurse; but blessed often are the lessons she teaches. “ I have” (says God,)“ chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." It is God's ordinary way of drawing sinners to himself, either to dry up, or imbitter, the streams of worldly comfort, that he may shut them up to seek that comfort that depends not on any transitory source.
I have not a doubt but you shall yet sing with the royal Psalmist, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted;" for, “ before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy word. Blessed is the man thou chastenest, Lord, and makest to learn thy ways.” Many are the texts to the same purport; take them for your consolation as a part of God's well-ordered covenant.
You have met with a late bereavement, which has entered deep into your soul. We are not called to stoicism, but to tenderness of heart and spirit. Jesus wept with the two sisters over a brother's grave. But still the Christian's spirit must be resigned, and say, and try to say with cheerfulness, “ Not my will, but thine be done.” And O, my friend, great will be the wisdom and happy the acquisition, if every new bereavement enlarge the room for divine love in the heart, and be filled up with that most noble, most blessed of principles. Seek not, my friend, to replace
friendship with any mere worldling; beg of God to fill up the vacuum, then will you be a great gainer.
Why hesitate to join the church ? Let not a sense of unworthiness keep you back. A deep sense of unworthiness is one grand part of due preparation; and no worthiness of yours can give you any title to that “ New Testament in Christ's Blood, which was shed for the remission of sins." Worthless, vile, empty, helpless, is every son and daughter of Adam's race; but it was for the ungodly that Christ died : it was while we were without strength : his name was called “Jesus,” because he should save his people from their sins. “ In that day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood” among a mixed multitude, and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink; whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely."
If conscious at the time that it is the supreme desire of your soul to be washed in his blood, clothed with his righteousness, sanctified by his Spirit-go—and take this water of life freely: go as a
sinner" to a Saviour;" go at his command, put honour on his appointment, and repeat the dedication of all that you are, have, or can have over the symbols of his “body broken for you,” his “ blood shed for you:” go, trusting in his mercy, and leave all to his management, believing that he will shed abroad his love in your heart, order your footsteps in his ways, and in due time perfect his image in your soul. Keep close to him in the use of means, but look beyond the means for life and power. I commit you to our God and Saviour, and pray that he may be to you, “ Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification,” and “Redemption.” I am, my dear Miss M., your ever affectionate,
by your Managers. Blessed office! They are your agents, Ladies; they are also the agents of your God, by whose ministration he is the Father of the fatherless, the Husband of the widow, the stranger's Shield, and orphan's Stay. Blessed, indeed, is he who considereth the poor ; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble ; the Lord will preserve and keep him alive, he shall be blessed upon the earth; the Lord will strengthen him on the bed of languishing, and make all his bed in sickness. Blessed are they who consider the poor, who devise liberal things. But more blessed still, ye, who, like the good Samaritan, bind up their wounds, pour the oil and wine of consolation into their bursting hearts, bring them to your homes, and share their griefs with them,--who are eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and make the widow's heart to sing for joy! May the blessing of them who are ready to perish come upon you ; may your persons be accepted in Christ ; then shall a reward of grace accompany and follow your labours of love. May you be blessed in your basket, and blessed in your store-blessed in your going out, and blessed in your coming in-blessed in life-blessed in death! and through Christ the Purchaser, blessed with the inheritance of his saints, through eternity.
TO THE SAME.
April, 1806. It is with increasing pleasure, Ladies, that we come forward year after year, and report that the Society prospers. In funds, in respectability, and most of all, in usefulness, it continues to advance, spreading wider and wider