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where he (his father) was sitting with a bible on his knee. He was reading in the Psalms of David. I saw the tears running, down his cheeks ; yet there appeared a joy in his countenance. I said, “ Pray, father, what now? what is the matter?' He instantly answered, “I have found Christ at last. Upwards of sixty years I have lived without him in the world, in sin and ig
I have been all the day idle : and entered not into his vineyard till the eleventh hour. O! how merciful was he to spare, and hire me at last: he hath set my soul at liberty. O! praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name. I left him rejoicing in God his Saviour, and retired to praise God for answering my prayers.”
Mr. Shadford's mother was convinced of sin, by means of over-hearing him and an old man conversing in private on the subject of their Christian experience. She had been strictly moral, had feared God, and conscientiously endeavoured to serve him, according to the degree of knowledge she possessed. But, notwithstanding her former regularity of conduct, when she was thoroughly awakened, her distress of mind so affected her body, upon several occasions, that she was like a person convulsed. After some time, under a sermon preached by Mr. Samuel Meggitt, God set her soul at liberty, shed his love abroad in her heart, and enabled her to “ rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
About this time, Mr. S. visited his sister, near Epworth, in order to inform her what God had done for his soul. When he began to converse on the subject of inward religion, she imagined he was beside himself; but at length she listened to him with seriousness and attention. After he had returned home, she began to revolve in her mind what he had said to her; and thought, “ How can my brother have any view to deceive me? What interest can he have in so doing ? Certainly, my state is worse than I imagine'; he sees my state, and I do not. Besides, he seems to be another man, for he does not look, or speak, or act as he used to do.” So powerfully did the amazing change which she observed in her brother, together with the pious instructions which he gave her, operate upon her mind, that she 'could not rest till she came to her father's house, from whence she returned home under a strong conviction that she was a guilty, miserable sinner.
Encouraged, from a thorough persuasion that God had begun a good work in his sister, Mr. S. visited her shortly after; and took her with him to hear Mr. Meggitt preach. The sermon pleased her much. A love-feast was held after preaching, and as she desired to attend it, she was, at the request of Mr. S. admitted. As the people were singing a hymn on Christ's coming to judgment, she looked up and saw all the people singing with visible joy in their countenances. She thought, “ If Christ was to come to judgment now, I shall go to hell, and they will all go to heaven.” Instantly she sunk down, as if dying, and lay some time before she was able to walk home. She continued praying and waiting upon God for about a fortnight ; when, one day going to the well to fetch water, she found the God of Jacob
open to her thirsty soul a living fountain of divine consolation ; and hence, as she returned from the well, her soul magnified the Lord, and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour. “ So merci ful (saith Mr. S.) was the Lord to my family, that four of them were brought to God in less than a year. My mother lived a happy witness of the love and favour of God three years, and died in peace. My father lived upwards of four years happy in God his Saviour, and used to say, Now I am a little child turned of four years old. Meaning (although near sixty-five) that he had never lived to any good purpose, or the glory of God before. About half a year before his death, the Lord so circumcised his heart, as to enable him to love God with all his powers, and rejoice in the happy assurance that the blood of Christ had cleansed him from all unrighteousness.
When his father was taken ill of his last sickness, Mr. S. was preaching in Yorkshire.' When he came near home, a friend told him that his father lay dying. As soon as the good old man saw him, he was much affected; for he greatly longed to see him before he died. He said, “ Son, I am glad to see thee; but I am going to leave thee; I am going to God; I am going to heaven.” Mr. S. said, “ Father, are you sure of it ?" “ Yes, (said he,) I am sure of it. I know that my Redeemer liveth. Upward of four years ago, the Lord pardoned all my sins ; and half a year ago he gave me that perfect love that casts out all fear. At present, I feel a heaven within mc. Surely this heaven below must lead to heaven above." “When (saith Mr. S.) I saw he was departing, I kneeled down by him, and with fervent
prayer commended his soul to God; and I praise his holy name that he died in the full assurance of faith."
Mr. Shadford's sister lived a faithful witness of the love of Jesus sixteen years. She was remarkable for her strength of faith and fervency in prayer. She had eight or nine children; had nothing of this world's goods to leave them ; but she left them a good example, and sent up many prayers to heaven for them. She used to say, Brother, I believe all my children will be saved.” When he seemed to doubt it, she answered, “ But I pray in faith ; and whatsoever we ask in prayer believing we shall receive." Her eldest daughter died before her a little, aged twenty-one, in the triumph of faith. “ And (saith Mr. S.) it is remarkable, since her death, her children, as they grew up, one after another, are convinced of sin, brought to God, and join the Society."
Mr. Shadford mentions, with great affection and respect, a redation of his, who, during the course of twenty years, continued to pray for his conversion. He says that she enjoyed the love of God above fifty years; and that she died full of days and full of grace, at the very advanced age of ninety-five years.
Like most others, who, from religious principles, engage in the work of the ministry, Mr. S. had, about the beginning of his public labours, many doubts of his call to preach the gospel. He had no doubt with respect to its being his duty to do good in the contracted sphere in which he had acted for some time ; but the idea of the important work of going forth publicly to call sinners to repentance, caused him to fear and tremble. After a great struggle in his mind, he resolved at last to make the trial. The first place he went to from home, was called Wildsworth, where, at that time, it is supposed, there was not an individual savingly acquainted with God. On Saturday night, he continued three or four hours in fervent prayer, that the Lord might point out his way. On Sunday morning he set out alone to the little village, where, as soon as he arrived, he gave notice of his errand, and quickly he had a house full of people to hear him. In the first prayer he was favoured with much divine assistance; and while he was engaged in it, some present began to weep. Under the preaching several were cut to the heart; and the Lord blessed his word to many. From Wildsworth he went, the same day, to East Ferry, where he preached in the street; and such was the enlargement of heart which he experienced, on
“ I gave way
both those occasions, that he returned home perfectly satisfied that God had called him to the work of the ministry.
But this satisfaction was shortly after succeeded by great discouragement which arose from a sight and sense of his weakness and ignorance. He reasoned with himself and the grand adversary, until he was ready to conclude that God required impossibilities. He concluded that they were very happy, who were called to do no more than act in a private capacity, and were not burdened with the care of the souls of others. (saith he) to this kind of reasoning for a month; till at times I made myself almost as miserable as a demon. Then the Lord laid his chastening rod upon me, and afflicted me for a season; and shewed me the worth of poor souls perishing in the broad way to destruction.” After this, he was so encouraged, that he was willing to go to any part of the world, to which God might open his way. About this time, a more than ordinary degree of divine power accompanied his ministry; and, to use his own words, God's “ word was like the flaming sword which turned every way, to every heart; for, sinners fell and trembled before it, and were convinced and converted to God.” The condescension of God to him excited his astonishment. As soon as his labours were blessed to the awakening of some sinners, in any place, he formed a Society, which he took the first opportunity of putting under the care of the travelling preachers.
But by loud and long preaching, (two faults which ministers ought carefully to avoid,) and by walking more than his strength could bear, together with his praying and reading many times all night, he was soon so worn down as to appear in a swift decline. In the course of some time, he fell into a severe fever, which continued seven weeks; a complaint from which he had little hopes of recovery. In this affliction he was graciously and powerfully supported; so that he was so far from desiring to remain on earth, that he desired to depart, and to be with Christ. In the midst of this affliction, after some divine impressions had been made upon his mind, one day he opened his bible on these words, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the work of the Lord.” He then believed that he should recover. From this time he began to be restored to his wonted health and vigour.
(To be continued.)
REMARKS ON ACTS XXIII. 2-5.
1. “Who was this Ananias? 2. How can it be reconciled with chronology, that Ananias was called, at that time, HighPriest, when it is certain, from Josephus, that the time of his holding that office was much earlier ? 3. How comes it to pass that St. Paul says, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the HighPriest;' since the external marks of office must have determined whether he were or not; a jest would have ill suited the gravity of a tribunal, and a falsehood still less the character of St. Paul. --The questions are thus answered. “Ananias, the son of Nebedæus, was High-Priest at the time that Helena, queen of Adiabene supplied the Jews with corn from Egypt, during the famine which took place in the fourth year of Claudius, mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Acts.
“ St. Paul, therefore, who took a journey to Jerusalem at that period, could not have been ignorant of the elevation of Ananias to that dignity.--Soon after the holding of the first council, as it is called, at Jerusalem, Ananias was dispossessed of his office, in consequence of certain acts of violence between the Samaritans and the Jews, and sent prisoner to Rome, whence he was afterwards released and returned to Jerusalem.--Now from that period he could not be called the High-Priest, in the proper sense of the word, though Josephus has sometimes given him the title of apx'setus taken in the more extensive meaning of a priest, who had a seat and voice in the Sanhedrim; and Jonathan, though we are not acquainted with the circumstances of his elevation, had been raised in the mean time to the supreme dignity in the Jewish Church.
“ Between the death of Jonathan, who was murdered by order of Felix, and the High-Priesthood, of Ishmael, who was invested with that oflice by Agrippa, elapsed an interval, in which this dignity continued vacant. Now it happened precisely in this interval, that St. Paul was apprehended in Jerusalem : and the Sanhedrim being destitute of a president, he (Ananias) un