Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

when a mortal sickness broke out in the ship, during which the lifeless body of many a brave fellow was committed to the deep. I was daily called to assist in this mournful office, which at length became so painful to my feelings, and so depressing to my spirits, as nearly to incapacitate me for active duty. It was at this period that I first began to think seriously on the state of my soul. Where were the departed spirits of my comrades ? Alas! their lives but too plainly told me that they were unfit for the regions of purity, and I had but one other conclusion to make regarding them. The thought was dreadful. I shuddered at an eternity of torment, though as yet I felt no inclination to forsake my sins, nor any desire after holiness, without which, the Bible says no man shall see the Lord.

I was sitting one day on deck watching the movements of the vessel, and ruminating on the forlorn condition to which I had brought myself, when a young gentleman, a passenger on board, perceiving, I suppose, my dejected look, accosted me in a friendly manner, and took a seat by my side, He proved to be a missionary, sent out by a society in Scotland for the propagation of the gospel among the heathen. We got into conversation, which was at first of a general character ; but on my using the word badluck, he looked at me with an air of pity mixed with severity, and said “My dear fellow, there is not such a thing in God's universe as bad-luck. Every thing is conducted under the superintendence of the Almighty, whose care extends to that very surf on the brim of the ocean.' " The more then," said I,“ is the wonder that there is so much suffering in the world.” • That there is so little, rather,” he replied. “Man is a sinner, and as such deserves God's wrath and curse. Should we then wonder, that he at times allows us to feel the power of his anger ? Should we not rather wonder that ever he permits us to experience his mercy and favour ?" God knows, sir," said I, “that feeble Aesh cannot stand constant sufferings." "Yes,” answered the missionary firmly; “God knows it, and, blessed be his name! he has provided against it. He has sent his own Son to suffer in our stead; and any mental or bodily affliction with which he is pleased to visit us here, is neither to atone for our offences, nor to punish our guilt, but to correct our faults and to fit us for heaven." “I know at least,” said I, “that my faults have occasioned my troubles ; for if I had not foolishly run off from the best home ever a boy had to leave, I might have escaped much fatigue of body and more of pain to my feelings than I can express. And if sincere repentance for the step I have taken be any evidence that my troubles have corrected my faults, I have every reason to hope well of myself; for rather than live another month as I have lived, and do the duty that I have done, I shall submit to the meanest employment and the hardest fare on land." “It would appear, my dear fellow," said my companion, " that your troubles have indeed shown you the evil consequences of sin in this world ; but before you can become the object of saving repentance, they must show you more-they must teach you not only that your faults have made your earthly condition bad, but also they have hazarded the happiness of your precious soul for eternitynot only that you have offended and grieved your earthly parent, but also that you have dishonoured your Father in heaven, and vexed his Spirit. If you feel in this way,

[graphic]

the result will be the same with regard to your spiritual state, as it is now with your earthly condition. As you have resolved, come what will, to leave off a sailor's life, and to return to your friends; so, in God's strength, you will determine to quit for ever your sins which have separated you far from your Maker, and return to your duty and to God.”

The limits of a letter, my dear father, will not suffer me to tell you more of what passed between us; but I may add, that I became every day more and more attached to my spiritual instructor, though it was some time before I could say that the load was taken from my heart, and the veil from my mind. I hope, however, that I have obtained that peace which passeth understanding, and become in some measure acquainted with that joy of which the world knows nothing, but which constitutes in some measure the felicity

of heaven. Such are my present views and feelings, which I pray God to deepen in my mind. Pray for your once rebellious but now penitent son, who would with deep contrition for past faults subscribe himself, His father's in the bonds of the gospel,

E. B." “Let me 'praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !'” exclaimed farmer Beechhill, on the first reading of this letter. “Poor Edward !” he added, “he has indeed been on his way to his Father's house, and he has now I trust, reached it. 0 Robin, Robin!” he continued, “what a miracle is the salvation of the sinner! and how useless are the best means,

till once the Spirit of God begins his work in the heart! I think I have erred there, Robin. I have trusted too much to human power, and too little to infinite mercy; and I have been shown my error. Certainly the medicine has tasted bitter, but I hope the effect will be good. I shall try to be more humble for the future, more dependent on divine grace, and more afraid of offending Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire, to discern the slightest blemish in his creatures.”

After this Farmer Beechhill improved much in his general health, but he never afterwards took any interest in the farm. “Whom am I labouring for ?” he would say. “My house is desolate, and my very name is rooted out." He therefore committed the management of his affairs to the old shepherd, in whom he had the greatest confidence, and devoted his time chiefly to the study of his Bible, and to prayer. Indeed, from this period he seemed as if his chief and dearest interests lay in another world than this. On that world he seemed to have fixed his whole attention, and daily and hourly appeared as if waiting for the summons of his transition thither. It came at last, and found him ready. “You are very ill, farmer," said one who called to see him in his last illness. “ Yes,” he replied, “but it is well. Weakness and pain are the passage to immortal strength and heavenly felicity; and if it be dark, I have reason to think it will not be long. I once thought," he

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

a class should be formed for the senior scholars, and other persons, who were desirous to give their hearts to the Lord. After consideration by the officers of the church, and the teachers, it was resolved that a class-meeting should be held on Sunday afternoon at five o'clock, and I was appointed to be the leader. The first meeting of this class was held on the second Sunday in January, 1851. On the next Sunday, Mary attended the meeting and became a member of the class.

It was evident that the Spirit of God was at work upon her young and tender mind; she evinced an anxious desire to know Christ as her Saviour ; she felt her own sinfulness and unworthiness ; she wept and prayed that the Lord would pardon her sins, and for several weeks she continued to be in deep distress about her soul. But while she was at her class, and when I was praying to God on her behalf, she ventured her all on the atoning Lamb of God ; her burden of sin was removed, and she rejoiced in God as her reconciled father.

Her disposition being naturally reserved, she did not make known her conversion to her parents or friends ; but her parents had noticed a marked change in her conduct; she delighted to read God's word. The Bible was a precious book to her; and always, when she went to her work, she carried the “Scripture promises” in her pocket; and when she had any leisure time, at home, she would go up stairs to read and pray alone.

Her parents say that they never remember Mary disobeying them in her life ; but she was ever obedient and affectionate.

She was very fond of the school and her class-meeting, and on no account whatever would she let any trifling circumstance detain her at home.

I may say of her, she was prudent, punctual, and consistent; her experience was always sound and good, and if she had been, through affliction, deprived of the means of grace, when she again met her class, the sentiments of the poet seemed to influence her soul, and she uld exclaim

« AnteriorContinuar »