Imágenes de páginas

serious impressions herself, she called upon these friends and made many enquiries respecting their views and feelings, and from that time evinced a desire to be more intimately associated with them. One of them has very kindly furnished a few particulars of her at this time, which are the more acceptable as her journal is silent on this all-important change.—“The work of conviction for sin was carried on in her heart more by the drawings of the Holy Spirit than by any deep awakenings of conscience. After associating awhile with the abovementioned friends, she declared herself more openly on the Lord's side; and soon being enabled to believe with her heart unto righteousness, she became ready to make confession of the same to others. About this period she joined the Society of Methodists. In our love-feasts' and band-meetings” she often testified of the God of grace, to the edification of the church. We, and many who were present, remember well the first time in which she arose publicly to express her gratitude to God for the change He had made in her soul: she was so overcome as to be constrained to fall on her knees, and in that posture to pour out her full heart before God.” She soon gave herself up to the work of her Master, and divided her time between public and private devotions, and visits to the sick and afflicted. This season is evidently the one in which she commenced her journal. “July 2nd, 1796. This morning I have given myself to God.' I have made a solemn vow that I will be the Lord's, and live a more faithful, obedient, self-denying life than ever I have done. This I have done in the strength of the Lord, begging of Him to give me that spirit of humility and love which shall constantly look up to Him for help. Lord, keep me! I am surrounded by many dangers, but thou canst raise my soul above them. I am thine; preserve me, and let me be thine for ever ! “6th. I have long deceived myself by relying on my own strength, by attempting to reform myself-now on one point, then on another. But my conduct had no degree of uniformity, and I had no spiritual solid peace till I came with all my imperfections on my head, in obedience to the call of my Saviour, simply as a little child, weary and heavy laden, casting my care and burden before Him. Then I was willing to take His yoke upon me, and learn of Him, endeavouring by the grace of God to copy His humility, convinced that “His yoke is easy, and His burden light.' My only wish now is to lay aside every hinderance, and the sin that doth so easily beset me. I have enlisted under the banners of Jesus. I have made a covenant with God to devote my understanding, will, and affections to His cause : this I know is my reasonable service; yet I can neither do it, nor go on the Christian warfare in my own strength. God is the God of hope and strong consolation, on this Rock I will build my confidence; no longer will I trust to a bruised reed, when the power of Jehovah is offered to support me. I cast off all hopes of acceptance on my own merits, for I know I am less than nothing. My God, convince me of this truth more strongly. I would fix my soul on Jesus, I would endeavour in all things to follow His steps. O, that I could glorify the God of my salvation. The whole world and all its pleasures have nothing to be compared with one single spark of Divine love. O, let all my soul, let all the world unite in blessing God, the Father of light and life. I thank thee, O Lord, for thine abundant goodness to me. Carry on thine own work in my soul. Let me be indeed to all eternity thy child in Christ Jesus. “January 1, 1797. Blessed, ever blessed be God that there is balm in Gilead; there is a physician there, and the wounds, however deadly, of the children of men may be healed. It is now a little more than twelve months since I first knew the salvation which is in Jesus. A year of mercies indeed it has been ; my soul has been borne up by the Spirit of God, and kept from sinking back into nature's darkness. “I never before felt such a sense of the entire dedication I had to make of myself to God; but He is worthy. Oh, what have I to give! My God, be thou my strength ! I do devote myself to thee! Having thus given up myself to God a sacred calm overspreads my soul. The Lord will keep Ine. “Blessed be God, I can lay down my head in peace to-night, yet still I feel something of fear, on account of the sacred vows which are upon me, —a fear lest I should break these vows, a fear which has a degree of pain in it, and which I think I should be freed from were I perfected in love. “3rd. I hate the tyrant's chain, and it distresses me to think that the enemies of Christ should have any part in my soul. Oh, that I might more fully see the depth of corruption there is in my heart' then I should surely shrink from myself, and take refuge in the hope set before me. “4th. One part of this day I seemed quite weary of myself: my communion with heaven seemed almost closed, my soul barren, and faith at a very low ebb. Sometimes I was distressed with the fear of falling into lukewarmness and insensibility, because of the excessive slothfulness of my spirit. Then again, at other times, (that is during a part of the forenoon, while engaged in domestic employments,) I got into a spirit of carelessness, and gave way to such light, trifling conversation as afterwards caused me a good deal of pain.

Love Feasts—Primitive Christians had feasts of charity. They frequently held these after public ordinances, and spoke to each other of the love of God, and the things which concerned their salvation. The Moravians followed a similar plan, and John Wesley adopted their mode of holding love-feasts almost in every particular. Persons of various societies meet on these occasions; bread and water are handed round, they declare what God has done for their souls, and thus become acquainted with each other's experience, which not only increases their love to each other, but enables them to bear their brethren afterwards on their hearts before God, in their addresses to His gracious throne.

* “Band-meetings and Select Band-meetings are principally designed to help those who have believed through grace. They should meet by choice, with the persons they know, and in whom they can confide; the number not less than three, and not exceeding six. They should meet together once a week, and begin their worship with singing and prayer. They should speak their mind with the greatest freedom. They ought to tell their experience, that others may be encouraged; also all they feel in their hearts, that suitable exhortations may be given, and suitable prayers offered on their behalf.

“The members of the Select Band should especially be exemplary, that all who see them may be thoroughly convinced that they are aiming at nothing but to glorify God, and find their way to eternity.”

' This was a practice among the early Methodists.

“Darkness and distress continued till evening, when, towards the close of a meeting I was attending, my soul was brought into an agony of distress; I felt a piercing sense of the holiness of that God of whose favour I had rendered myself so unworthy. I had a painful struggle with the corruptions of my nature, which were still rising. At length I found power to look to God in Christ Jesus, and in mercy he delivered my soul ; my burden left me, and a sacred peace entered my spirit. The Lord was my refuge: I had sweet consolation in secret after I returned home, yet still without that full witness of the Spirit, that powerful love in my soul, that would assure me without a doubt that I was sanctified to God. “9th. My petition at the throne of heaven today is, that in all things I may have a single eye to the glory of God. I feel at present a particular need to pray for this. Oh, that I might always have cause to rejoice that the Lord knows the most secret thoughts of my heart! I adore that God who requireth truth in the inward parts. ‘Search and try me, O Lord,' and grant that ‘in all things nothing may I see,_nothing desire or seek but thee.’ “May the Lord enable me to choose the part that shall be most for his glory, and the peace of those around me ! whether in so doing my natural inclination be gratified or crucified. But I would leave to-morrow in the womb of eternity. May the Lord help me to live to him the present moment 1 “ 11th. Towards evening I retired into my room, and began to pray: was rather languid in the beginning, and oppressed by trials; but soon

« AnteriorContinuar »