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self at liberty to choose my own road, and even to digress from it occasionally to any moderate distance, when an object which is inviting happens to attract my
"I frankly acknowledge, that I was under no necessity of laying hold upon the gentleman who hath offended you, but might have let him pass on quietly, without seeming to take notice of him. And yet, however strange it may seem, such persons are apt enough, of their own account, to thrust themselves into the company of serious Christians; and which is equally surprising, though they affect no concealment, but appear without disguise, yet their solicitations, not only obtain a patient hearing, but too often make an impression upon, and even prevail with some, who bear that honourable appellation.
"I am truly at a loss to determine which of the two is most astonishing: whether the confidence of an avowed enemy in presuming to offer counsel, or the simplicity of those who are capable of hesitating for one moment about the reception that is due to it.
"I can look back upon a time, and it is not very remote, when they that were styled of the world pleaded for nothing higher than a toleration to follow their own way. Instead of pressing the Christian to be conformed to them, and reviling him for an opposite course, they only begged the favour of him to turn his eyes some other way, that he might not be offended by looking at their conduct. They seemed contented that others should frequent places of worship, and be as devout as they pleased, provided only they themselves might be indulged to resort freely to other places that were better suited to their inclinations and taste. "Whence the amazing revolution we now behold hath proceeded, deserves to be seriously inquired into ;
and I have little doubt, that the result of such an inquiry would afford just matter of shame and sorrowful regret to many yet living, who still retain the name of Christian, and would complain loudly of injury, if you should apply to them the opposite denomination.
"But I have detained you too long, and shall only add, that I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Lady Glenorchy complains of want of spiritual comfort-Inquiry into the cause of this-Extracts from Diary, from January 5, to April 3, 1774 -Note of Lady Glenorchy to Lady Maxwell-Situation of Lady Glenorchy's chapel in Edinburgh-Correspondence between Lady Glenorchy and the Presbytery respecting her chapel-Chapel opened for public worship-Extract from Diary-Lady Glenorchy goes to Taymouth-Finds much delight in the retirement she there enjoys— Extracts from Diary, from July 18, to September 11, 1774-Lady Glenorchy returns to Edinburgh-Is exposed to new trials-Extracts from Diary-Lady Glenorchy goes to England-Remarkable occurrence in Pinner's Hall-Visits her friends at Hawkstone-Extracts from Diary, from March 14, to August 13, 1775-Lady Glenorchy goes to Taymouth-Extracts from Diary, from August 17, to October 8, 1775.
LADY GLENORCHY almost always complains in her Diary of the want of religious comfort. This is a very common case among Christians; and by many it is frequently ascribed to a want of integrity, to negligence in the use of the means of grace, to the indulgence of known sin, to undue conformity to the world, and to a heart but partially devoted to God. None of these things, however, with truth could be charged against Lady Glenorchy. Her integrity was evinced in all her thoughts, and words, and deeds; she was most diligent in the use of all the means of grace, both public and private; she was, in an uncommon degree, separated from the world, and her heart was unreservedly devoted to God; yet she enjoyed comparatively little peace of mind and religious comfort. It may not be improper, therefore, to inquire, What was the cause of this? It was attri
1774.] THE WANT OF SPIRITUAL COMFORT.
buted by her to wandering and vain thoughts, to cold affections, to guilt on the conscience, to sensible distance from God, and to the want of liberty in prayer. But these are rather to be considered as the effects than as the causes; for if the mind has peace and comfort, these things have no place,-it is only when they are absent that they exist. The truth is, as the Scriptures teach, salvation is of the Lord, and the peace and joy which flow from it are also from the Lord, (for every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights; and as we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it being the gift of God,) so we receive the peace, and joy, and comfort of salvation in the same manner, that is, by grace, through faith given us of God. This enables the believer to apply the doctrines and promises of the Scripture respecting the saving virtues of the blood of atonement and reconciliation to his own mind and conscience, and hence arises his peace, and joy, and comfort. The moment he ceases so to apply the blood of atonement, his peace, and joy, and comfort, wanting their only support, will fail, and like Samson, when deprived of his hair, he will become, in these respects, like other men. No integrity, no diligence, no separation from the world, no devotedness to God, can be of any avail in these circumstances. Lady Glenorchy was indeed occasionally enabled to apply these doctrines to her conscience, and at these seasons she did enjoy a certain degree of peace and comfort; but not applying them with that habitual perseverance which she ought, and which is emphatically styled in Scripture, living by faith, she, as might be expected, notwithstanding her eminent attainments in religion in other respects, became not unfrequently very comfortless and distressed.
These remarks will receive illustration from what is next to be exhibited from her Diary.
January 5.-I had great comfort in reading Owen on Communion with God, and felt my heart drawn out towards him, in love and gratitude for his numberless mercies towards me, but especially for his love manifested in Jesus. All night and next day I experienced great joy and peace in believing.
January 6.-I had more than usual comfort in hearing Mr Walker preach from 1 Thess. v. 16, 17, 18. "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." The Lord enabled me to hear and retain the things spoken, and the word was refreshing to my soul. I saw it to be my privilege in every thing to give thanks: this sweet frame lasted during Friday and Saturday. Perhaps I was lifted up and thought my mountain stood so strong, I should never be moved, for on Sabbath the 9th, as I was dressing for church, and full of the hope of being refreshed there, a sudden temptation came across my mind; at first I repelled the thought, but at church it returned with more violence; a seeming accident made it more plausible-it took possession of my mind, and I could not attend to any thing I heard. Haste, Lord, to my help, for thy own name's sake.
Sunday January 16.-This evening I got uncommon liberty and comfort while speaking to some of my servants about their souls. My temptation ceased while I was thus employed.