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know very well that you are nothing; and we know also that Christ is all in all; who, if it be his will, can speak as he did to Balaam by an ass-why, then, not by a man? Art not thou a man? Art not thou a servant of Christ? Has he not endowed thee with capacity? If you should choose to improve this volume by some additions, it will be an accept
able service; meanwhile, your
THE OLD CREATION.
GOD spake, and said, “Let there be light!"
That stud the sky and cheer the earth,
And promptly the High Will obey'd:
"Thus far they came, and here were staid!"
Matur'd at once, its bounties spread;
Its form display'd, its fragrance shed.
Burst into life, in all their names;
Nor thought of then were strife or chains.
Exalted far above the rest,
He walk'd on earth, and walk'd with God!
Not e'en endued with half his powers!
E'en Adam fell in Eden's bowers!
And then did purity and peace
Give place to sin's defiling stains;
Nor ended yet the mischiefs drear,
Sin tainted all man's unborn race;
Was preach'd the glorious news of grace.
To let thee bruise thy conqu'ror's heel!
The crush of death thy head shall feel!
That cross shall be erected high,
And thou shalt writhe beneath its base!
THE NEW CREATION.
This fair Creation's wondrous frame,
It well employ'd each angel tongue;
The morning stars with transport sung.
Exceeds in power, exceeds in skill!
Opposing principle was none :
Exceeding "mighty" power can prove
The gloom of hell enwraps the soul;
Satan leads on and claims the whole.
"That cross has brought salvation nigh."
Their ears they stop, and spurn the voice;
Make fetters, sleep, and death, their choice.
Not common death it is that reigns;
'Tis wilful death-'tis heart-lov'd chains!
For ours the slumbers, chains, and death
And breathe on us thy quickʼning breath.
A new Creation yet shall bless.
Fair "plants of righteousness" shall rise
John, iii. 3.
Ephes. i. 19.
John, v. 10.
THE VILLAGE PASTOR, No. X.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Ps. xxx. 5.
IN many departments and operations of the natural world, we behold a striking analogy to the state and operations of the work of grace on the heart of man. On a gloomy morning in May, tidings came that widow Sanders was removed to a new residence, and was more than usually indisposed in body, and more than ever distressed in her mind. The day was advancing, but the sky was overcast with a November-like hue. Our vallies were obscured in a sheet of small rain, and the gathering vapour lay on the sides of our lovely hills, and shut out all their diversified beauties from our view. As I rode along, I turned frequently to those parts of the horizon where so many natural objects of delight were wont to present themselves to the traveller, but they were all concealed. The imagination might easily figure to itself a dreary waste of inhospitable and barren rocks; a forlorn and desolate country, where wolves, and tigers, and untamed men, took up their dwelling. It would have been a difficult task to impress on a stranger's mind what a cheering and delightful piece of scenery lay around him. What beauties of nature would at once break on his eyes the instant those clouds and mists should pass away! And this, thought I, is the case with my poor widowed sufferer, whose soul is bowed down beneath the presence of many fears; whose faith is, at present, too weak to pierce the surrounding gloom. There are given unto her, and to all in her situation, many great and precious promises. The Holy Scriptures abound with consolations and encouragements; and Prophets and Apostles call on her to behold the Lamb of God who
taketh away the sin of the world
to contemplate him in all his blessed and gracious attributes as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely; but, alas! the vail is at present before her eyes; she walks in darkness and has no light. She seems more than any other of my flock to fear taking any comfort to herself. She groans, and weeps, and prays, and loves to hear of the Redeemer; but her naturally sorrowful spirit, her deep sense of sin, and the many dismal suggestions of Satan, are as a dark and wintry cloud; they shut out the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness from her soul; and much she fears that that soul will one day set in the blackness of darkness for ever. Oh! that this her night of weeping might give place to the promised joyous morning which so many have already experienced to their everlasting comfort.
This poor woman had, in her younger days, paid some attention to the concerns of her soul. But as she advanced in life, she declined in grace; and when she became a wife and a mother, the cares of this world, and the objects of her natural affection, became as the thorns on the good seed-all was choked for many days. How common and how melancholy a case is this; and how completely does such conduct prove, that the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked! Were it not so, as an increase of cares and anxieties crowded upon us, we should feel an equally increased desire to cast our burdens and cares on the Lord, and should rejoice that he had promised to care for us. So far, however, is this from being the case, that poor wayward man makes those very trials and circumstances a plea and excuse for neglecting God, which, of all others, should bring him more ear
westly to seek and serve him. But to return to the poor widow. It must be remarked, that although she long seemed disposed to forget and forsake God, yet God would neither forget nor forsake her. He visited her backslidings with the rod more than once or twice. A part of her family were removed by the ordinary course of sickness, and some were called hence by very afflictive providences they were cut off by accidents, as the world terms those calls of the Almighty which come in the form and character of sudden, violent death. In short, her gourd of earth bore happiness withered. The noontide sun of affliction fell on its branches, a worm was at its root, and it sunk to the ground. She looked around her dwelling, but there was neither child nor husband to sooth her sorrows or to share her joys; they were all gone. She was left alone, childless, and a widow, and poor and friendless in a world which too often frowns on distress altogether, and at best can administer but little comfort to one in her situation. For a considerable while her strength and health had been on the decline; and at the time when her case more particularly called for my attention, she was labouring under much of a consumptive cough and great difficulty of breathing. An internal fever was progressively consuming the whole frame; her days were days of pain, and her nights were those of tossing to and fro. These afflictions were, however, absorbed, and, as far as possible, forgotten in the heavier trials of her soul. She looked backwards on days and years spent in labouring for the meat which perisheth, and had now to bewail how much she had undervalued and neglected to procure that living bread which comes down from heaven. She looked forward to a dying hour and a judgment near at hand; and could only contemplate a God whom she
had slighted, a kingdom which she had almost forgotten, and a society which, if she had not despised, she certainly had not hungered and thirsted after. Her case much interested me. She was naturally placid, gentle, and timid. Like Hannah of old, a woman of sorrowful, tender spirit, not fretful and peevish, but depressed, and ready, like a bruised reed, to break down under every rude blast which assails it. In addition to all this, the Lord had now given her a very tender conscience; and Satan, as has been already hinted, harassed her with continual accusations of her past sins and present imperfections, and by every means endeavoured to perplex her understanding, darken her soul, and destroy her little faith. Now, although this self-abasement, this sense of sin, and humiliation of soul before God, are sure signs of genuine repentance, especially when coupled, as was the widow's case, with an earnest desire to give up the whole soul to Christ, and to love and obey him with all the heart, and all the mind, and all the strength; yet so long as the individual continues to walk in darkness and distress, the pastor cannot but deeply sympathize with the sufferer, whose want of faith, and of clearer views of the freeness and fulness of the salvation of the Gospel, cause them to go mourning all the day. Nay, his own heart will sometimes sink, and he will be ready to fear lest, in the hour of trial, he also may feel nothing but the waves and billows going over his soul. But to return again to the poor widow: it will be gratifying and encouraging to the Christian reader to learn, that He who for wise and gracious purposes does sometimes hide himself from his mourning and praying children for a season, that with everlasting mercies he may gather them at the fittest season and most precious manner, even He was pleased to look on this his afflicted and dis
tressed handmaid. Light and Light and peace, and trust, and faith, gradually took place of darkness, disorder, doubts, and despair. She lived several weeks longer than any of us expected; and though confined to her bed, and every day conscious of the near approach of death, her soul was no longer terrified. She lay calmly resigned as to every earthly event, and humbly but steadily looking forward to the hour of her death, as that happy period which should introduce her soul into everlasting life. Weak, and almost breathless as she was, there were times when she could not refrain from the attempt to sing, "Begone, unbelief, my Saviour is near, And for my relief will surely appear; By prayer let me wrestle, and he will perform;
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
Her deep sense of personal unworthiness never forsook her, but her former distressing fears were gone for ever. A calm composure now marked her countenance with
an unusually interesting cast, while a Scriptural peace rested in her heart. She could now hear portions of God's word read, and believe that she had an interest in them. It was comfortable to visit her, and edifying to converse with her. To myself it was more than comfortable; for as her former dark and distressed state had often greatly depressed my own spirits, in this her victory over those fears which once so powerfully assailed her, the Lord in effect said again to me, Why art thou so fearful, O thou of little faith?"
On Sunday afternoon, I was informed that the widow's most threatening symptoms had much increased. As it was not possible to see her that evening, I hastened, as early the next morning as my other calls of duty would admit, to wards her distant cottage, and had approached within a quarter of a mile of it, when I met a poor wo
I stayed not to converse any further, but rode on to the place which had been the scene of so many conversations with one who was to converse with me no more on earth.
"Bless me, here is Mr. M.!" exclaimed widow D. as I approached the door. I had scarcely entered and shut it to after me, before the widow and two other women burst into tears. "Poor dear Betty is gone at last; and so happy! O, said the former. Sir, I wish you had been here,"
"I wish so too; but I trust all is
well; and as I could not witness her last moments, tell me a little about them.'
"Well, Sir," answered D. "I and talking to her in my poor way, had been reading for some time, not thinking her end was so near.
"And was she quite sensible?” "O yes, Sir, and she did so seem to enjoy it, her whole soul seemed taken up with it! All at and I said, Betty, you are going, once I saw her change for death; you are going! Now, how is it with your soul? Do you find the Lord present and precious? But she could not answer, Sir; her speech was gone, she only looked at me. I said again, Betty, now you are going; if your soul is hapPy, if Christ Jesus is present and precious to you, and you cannot speak, do hold up your hand in token of your assurance. And, Sir, as soon as ever I had said so, poor dear soul! she held up both