« AnteriorContinuar »
broad, and nearly thirty long, to Coningsby, where we found a numerous congregation, of a far different spirit. Scarcely one of these but had tasted, more or less, of the powers of the world to come.
After a comfortable opportunity here, we rode on to Horncastle. We were but roughly saluted at our entrance. And the mob increased more and more till six. I then began to preach in a yard near the Marketplace, to a large concourse of people. But their behaviour quite disappointed us; for there was no tumult, no noise, but an earnest attention through the whole congregation.
Thursday 5, I preached again at seven, to nearly the , same congregation, and was again refreshed, by the remarkable decency and seriousness of their behaviour. At four in the afternoon I preached at Marum in the Hill, two miles from Horncastle. The number of people constrained me to preach without, and the rain, to shorten mý sermon: though none went
Indeed I believe none were present, who had not known some work of grace in their hearts,
Friday 6, We rode over The Wolds ( a chain of hills ) to North-Elkington, three miles from Lowth. The congregation was large, notwithstanding the rain, which drove full in our faces, till we came to Grimsby.
Sunday 8, The house was pretty well filled at eight. At two I was obliged to go into the Old Church-yard : where was such a concourse of people, as bad hardly ever, they said, been seen at Grimsby before. As many as the room would well contain, were present at the Watch-night : and at seven in the morning. I then commended them to the grace of God. Monday 9, I preached in the evening at Laseby : the next afternoon at Ferry, (after riding through much water and continued rain) and in the evening in the new house at Epworth.
Friday 13, Having appointed to preach at Awkborough at one, I set out between seven and eight. I was in hopes of coming thither before Church began ; but I did not consider the Lincolnshire roads. With some difficulty we reached it before noon, and found there was no service at the Church, I preached in the Church-yard at one, to a listen
ing multitude : most of whom, I suppose, had never heard this kind of preaching before. Many of them were in tears, and pressed after me into the house where we met the Society. I could not but hope, that some of these will press into the kingdom of heaven. Returning thence, I called on Mr. Romley, of Burton, one of my former parishioners, a lively, sensible man of eighty-three years old, by whom I was much comforted. An hour or two after, we took boat, but could not cross over. The violence of the stream swollen by the late rains, bore us down in spite of all we could do. Haying striven against it a considerable time, we were obliged to cast anchor. After waiting some time, we got near the shore, and were towed up to the place of landing. A toilsome day was followed by a comfortable night. At half an hour after eight the house at Epworth was well filled : and most of the congregation stayed, till the whole service was concluded.
It was on this day, that after the battle of Bergen in Germany, “ Among the many wounded who were brought into Frankfort-upon-the-Mayne, there was the Right Hon. George Charles Dykern, Baron, Lieutenant-General of the Saxon troops, in the service of the King of France. He was born of an ancient and noble family in Silesia, on April 10, 1710, so that it was just on his birth-day, he received his wound. He was of equal abilities as a Minister in the closet, and a General in the field. In his younger years, he had gone through a regular course of study in the University, and made great proficiency in Philosophy, especially in Mathematics. Afterwards he studied Polemical Divinity, till he reasoned himself into an infidel. During his illness he shewed not the least desire of pious company or serious discourse, till the Surgeon let his valet de chambre know, that he could not live long. The man then asked his master, whether he did not choose to be visited by a Clergyman : He answered with warmth, 'I shall not trouble those gentlemen. I know well myself what to believe and do.' His man not discouraged, continued thus, "My Lord, have you ever found me wanting in my duty, all the time I have been in your service?'
He answered, “No.' Then, replied he, ‘I will not be wanting now.' The Surgeons count you past hopes of recovery ;
but every one is afraid to tell you so. You stand upon
the brink of eternity. Pray, Sir, order a Clergyman to be called.' He paused a little, but soon gave his hand to his servant, thanked bim for his honesty, and ordered to send for me. * When I came, the man told me plainly, the General was a professed infidel. : I went in, and after a short compliment, said, “I am told, my Lord, your life is near an end. Therefore, I presume, without any ceremony, to ask one plain question : Is the state of your soul such, that you can entertain a solid hope of salvation ?' He answered, 'Yes.' " On what do you ground this hope ?' He replied, “ I never committed any wilful sin. I have been liable to frailties ; but I trust in God's mercy, and the merits of his Son, that he will have mercy upon me.' These words he uttered very slowly, especially, the merits of his Son. I made the following reply. 'I am apt to believe, you are not tainted with the grossest vices : but I fear, you a little too presumptuously boast of never having committed wilful sin. If you would be saved, you must acknowledge your being utterly corrupted by sin, and consequently deserving the curse of God and eternal damnation. As to your hoping for God's mercy, through the merits of his Son, I beg leave to ask, "Do you believe God has a Son ? That his Son assumed our nature, in order to be our Saviour? That, in the execution of his office, he was humbled unto death, even the death upon the cross, and that hereby he . has given an ample satisfaction for us, and recovered our title to heaven?' He answered, I cannot now avoid a
' more minute description of the true state of my soul. Let me tell you, Doctor, I have some knowledge of Philosophy, by which I have chosen for myself a way of salvation. I have always endeavoured to live a sober life, to the uttermost of my power : not doubting but the Being of all beings, would then graciously accept me. In this way I stood in
* Dr. Fresenius, Senior of the Clergy at Frankfort.
no need of Christ, and therefore did not believe on him. But if I take the Scriptures to be a Divine Revelation, this way of mine I perceive is not the right one. I must believe in Christ, and through him, come to God.' I replied, “ You say, if you take the Scriptures to be a Divine Revelation !! He fetched a deep sigh, and said, O God, thou wilt make me say, Because I take the Scriptures to be thy word.' I said, “There are grounds and reasons enow to demonstrate the Divine Origin of Christianity, as I could shew from its most essential principles, were not the period of your life so short. But we need not now that diffusive method, faith being the gift of God. A poor sinner tottering on the brink of eternity, has not time to enquire about grounds and reasons. Rather betake yourself to earnest prayer for faith, which if you do, I doubt not but God will give it you.' I had no sooner spoken these words, but pulling off his
сар, and lifting up his eyes and hands, he cried out, 0 Almighty God, I am a poor, cursed sinner, worthy of dama nation. But, Lord Jesus, eternal Son of God, thou diedst for my sins also. It is through thee alone I can be saved, O give me faith, and strengthen that faith.'. Being extremely weak, he was obliged to stop here. A little after, he asked, "Is faith enough for salvation ? Yes, Sir,' said I, if it be living faith.' Methinks,' said he, it is so already; and it will be more so by and by : let us pray for it.'. Perceiving he was very weak, to give him some rest, I retired into the next room; but he soon sent to call me. I found him praying, and Jesus was all he prayed for. I reminded him of some scriptures treating of faith in Christ, and he was much delighted with them. Indeed he was quite swallowed up by the grace of Jesus, and would hear of nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. He cried out, I do not know how it is with me. I never in my life felt such a change. I have power to love Jesus, and to believe in him, whom I so long rejected. O my Jesus, how merciful art thou to me!' “ About noon I stepped home; but he sent for me di.
; rectly, so that I could scarcely eat my dinner. We were
both filled with joy, as partakers of the same grace which is in Jesus Christ; and that in such a manner, as if we had been acquainted together for many years. Many Officers of the army came to see him continually, to all of whom he talked freely of Jesus, of the grace of the Father in bim, and of the power of the Holy Ghost through Him : wondering without ceasing, at his having found Jesus, and at the happy change, by which all things on this side eternity, were become indifferent to him.
“ In the afternoon he desired to partake of the Lord'sSupper, which he received with a melting, praising, rejoicing heart. All the rest of the day he continued in the same state of soul. Toward evening he desired, That if his end should approach, I would come to him ; which I promised. But he did not send for me till the next morning. I was told by his valet, that he slept well for some hours, and then awaking, prayed for a considerable time, continually mentioning the name of our Lord, and his precious blood, and that he had desired several of the Officers to make his conversion known at his Court, (that of the King of Poland.) After some discourse, I asked,' Has your view of Christ and his redemption, been neither altered nor obscured since yesterday?' He answered, Neither altered, nor obscured. I have no doubt, not even a remote one. It is just the same with me, as if I had always thus believed, and never doubted. So gracious is the Lord Jesus to me a sinner.'.
«. This second day he was unwearied in prayer and ex. ercises of faith. Toward evening he sent for me in haste. When I came, I found him dying, and in a kind of delirium so I could do no more than give him now and then a word of comfort. I prayed afterwards for him, and those that were present, some of whom were of high birth and rank. I then, by imposition of hands, gave him a blessing, which being done, he expired immediately. A royal Prince who was there, (Prince Xavier of Saxony) could not forbear weeping. The rest of the Officers bewailed the loss of their General, yet praised God for having shewn such mercy to him.