« AnteriorContinuar »
“I know you do; but you do not larly in the Epistle to the Romans. read it regularly, or as a duty you
This I did with an earnestness I owe to God its Author.” And she tried in vain to subdue. I felt added, “Now I shall return home wretched, but still I did not pray with a happy heart, inasmuch as you till one night I arose in a state of have promised to read the Scriptures horror from a terrific dream. I fel daily. O Robert, my son, read much on my knees, and felt as if
sins in the New Testament. Read much like a great mountain. were tum in the Gospels, the blessed Gospels. bling down upon me, and that there There you cannot well go astray. If was but a step between me and the you pray, the Lord Himself will
place of woe. Then followed the
struggle between hope and despair. I parted from my beloved mother, I tried to reform-not by avoiding now long gone to that mansion about grossly immoral conduct (for I had which she loved to speak. I went never been guilty of that), but by on my way, and ere long found my. forsaking foolish and worldly com, self among strangers. My charge
My charge pany, vain thoughts, and wicked was an important one for a youth; imaginations. and though possessing a muscular For many weeks I was miserable. frame, and a mind full of energy, it I wished to feel that I was converted, required all to keep pace with the but I could not believe I was. I duties which devolved upon me. I thought I had the faith required, lived at a considerable distance from and that I had repented or turned to what are called the means of grace, the Lord, and could adopt the words and the Sabbaths were not always _" To whom shall I
but to Thee, at my command. I met with no one O Jesus ?” but still my soul was who appeared to make religion their like a ship in a tempest. At last I chief concern. I mingled, when op- made a resolve to become as wicked portunities offered, with the gay and as I could make myself, and then if godless in what were considered in- converted I should be so sensible of nocent amusements, where I soon the change that all doubts would became a favourite; but I never for- vanish. I looked over this awful got my promise to my
mother. precipice over which I was about to I had, like most Scotch youths in leap, and trembled at the thought those days, the Bible in two small that I might perish in my sins. volumes. These I read (remember- turned anon to my Bible, and grasped ing her last words), chiefly in the it, feeling something like a hope that New Testament; but it was only as I should not sink with it in my a pleasing duty I owed to her. I hands. I knew of no one to whom thus became familiar with the Gos- I could unbosom the agony that pels, notwithstanding my inattention burned within. I tried to pray to what I read. At length I became vently, but thought there was a uneasy, and then unhappy. The black cloud between me and the question would sometimes, even throne of God. I tried to hear Jesus when my hands were at work, dart saying to my soul," Only believe ; across my mind, " What think
ye of but the passages from which I Christ pus which I dared not to sought comfort only seemed to
A hard struggle followed. | deepen my wounds. I could have wished to have ceased Living alone in a lodge in an ex. reading, but the very thought would tensive garden, my little leisure was raise the image of my mother before my own. One evening, while poring
I tried hard to stifle convic- over the Epistle to the Romans, tion, but I could not help reading could not help wondering much in the Epistles, and particu- number of passages which I had
read over many times before. They where I lived, to purchase a trifling appeared altogether different. I ex- article which I required, I went claimed, with a heart nearly broken,
thither. It was on a calm beauti"Can it be possible that I have never ful summer's evening. All nature understood what I have been read- seemed to be at rest, not a breath of ing?”-turning from one passage to
wind to move a leaf. In the clear another, each sending a renovation blue expanse of heaven was to be of light into my darkened soul. The seen a single cloud passing over the Book of God, the precious, undying disc of the sun, as it hastened toBible, seemed to be laid open, and I wards its going down. I seemed saw at once what God had done for more than usual to feel admiration the sinner, and what was required of
of the handiworks of God. I imthe sinner to obtain the Divine fa- perceptibly was led to a train of vour and the assurance of eternal life. thinking of the past, how much of I felt that being justified by faith I my life I had spent serving the had peace with God through the world, and not Him who died for Lord Jesus Christ; and that He me—that I had really been living was made unto me wisdom, and to no purpose.
I thought of the righteousness, and sanctification, and present, how little I could do. It redemption.
was more pleasurable to contemplate "Oh, to grace how great a debtor
the future. The prospects of ere Daily I'm constrained to be!"
long being put in possession of a
situation of honour and trust had, of I must now tell you how God led course, a charm to one who was yet me to become a missionary to the in his teens, besides the hope of
having it in my power to do good. I, had undergone a great change Little did I imagine that this bright of heart; and this, I believe, was picture I had been painting of future produced by the Spirit of God, comfort and usefulness was, in the through reading the Bible and the course of an hour, to vanish like a Bible only-for my small stock of dream, and that I should be taught books consisted chiefly of works on
the lesson that it is not in man to gardening and botany. "Beyond visit- direct his steps. ors to see the gardens, and the men With thoughts like these I entered in daily employ, who returned to the town, and passing over a bridge, their homes after the labours of the I observed a placard. I stood and day, I saw no one. I occupied my read. It was a missionary placard, leisure in studying the Scriptures; the first I had seen in my life. It and when opportunities offered I did announced that a missionary meetnot fail to try to convince others of ing was to be held; and a Rev. the necessity of repentance toward William Roby, of Manchester, would God and faith toward our Lord Jesus take the chair. I stood some time, Christ. I thought I had only to tell reading over and over again, althem what Christ had done for them,
though I found that the time the and what was
required of them to be meeting was to be held was past. saved. I wondered they could not Passers-by must have wondered at see as I saw, and feel as I felt, after my fixedness. I could look at noexplaining to them the great truths thing but the words on the placard, of the everlasting gospel. On the which I can still imagine I see before contrary, I was treated by some as
me. The stories of the Moravian one who was somewhat disordered missionaries in Greenland and La
brador which I had heard my mother Having a desire to visit Warring- read when I was a boy, which had ton, a town about six miles from been entirely lost to memory, never
having been once thought of for heart beat at the prospect before many years, came into vivid re- I had told my beloved com: membrance as if fresh from her lips. panion, Hamlet Clarke, what I inIt is impossible for me to describe tended doing, and asked him to go the tumult which took hold of my with me. This he decidedly objected mind.
to; but he wished me to go, and proI hastened to obtain the trifle I mised to wait within sight till I wanted in town, and returned to the should return. Though the distance placard, and read it over once more, we had to walk was more than a and now wended my solitary way mile, it seemed too short for me to homewards another man, or rather get my thoughts in order. Reachwith another heart. The pleasing ing the end of a rather retired street, earthly prospects I had so lately I proceeded with a slow step. On been thinking of with pleasure had getting to the door I stood a minute entirely vanished, nor could any or two, and my heart failed, and I power of mind recall their influence. turned back towards my friend, but My thoughts became entirely oc- soon took fresh courage, and came cupied with the inquiry how I could back again. The task of knocking serve the missionary, cause. No at the good man's door seemed very missionary society would receive me. hard. A second time I reached the I had never been at college or at door, and had scarcely set my foot an academy. I, however, began to on the first step, when my heart devise plans. I had been for a short again failed. I feared I was acting time a young sailor; and I resolved presumptuously. to go to sea again, and get landed on At last, after walking backward some island or foreign shore, where and forward for a few minutes, I reI might teach poor heathen to know turned to the door and knocked. the Saviour.
This was no
sooner done than I Soon afterwards, having heard would have given a thousand pounds, that a Wesleyan Conference was to if I had possessed them, not to have be held in Manchester, I proposed knocked; and I hoped -oh, how I to a young man with whom I had
hoped with all my heart that Mr. become intimate that we should go Roby might not be at home, resolvthither. During our few days' so- ing that if so I should never again journi, hearing first one and then an- make such an attempt. A girl other, I resolved on hearing William opened the door. "Is Mr. Roby in?" Roby. His appearance and dis- I inquired, with a faltering voice. course, delivered with gravity and “Yes," was the reply; and I was solemnity, pleased me much. shown into the parlour. the evening, the lady of the house The dreaded man whom I had where we lodged remarked that he wished to see soon made his appearwas a great missionary man, and
Of course I had to informi sometimes sent out young men to him who I was, and my simple tal the heathen. This remark at once
was soon told. He listened to all ] fixed my purpose of calling on that had to say in answer to some ques great man; but how and when was tions, wită a kindly smile ; I had à very serious matter to one of a given him an outline of my naturally retiring habit. I thought tian experience, and my wish to be and prayed during the night over helper in the missionary, the important step I was about to did not even tell him that it was take. There was something like
on the missionary placard daring in the attempt, which I could not overcome.
which had directed my steps to his
door. He said he would write to the Next morning, when I awoke, my Directors of the Society, and on hear
ng from them would communicate heir wishes respecting me. I reurned to my charge; and after some weeks was requested to visit Manchester, that he might get me placed in a situation which would ifford him the opportunity of examning me as to my fitness for mis. sionary work. On my arrival, Mr. Roby took me to several of his friends to obtain, if possible, a situation in à garden, a, mercantile house, or a bank; but all failed, there being no opening for any one at the time. Mr. Roby then remarked, “I have still one friend who employs many men, to whom I can apply, provided you have no objection to go into a nursery-garden."
"Go!" I replied, “I would go anywhere or do anything for which I may have ability Very providentially Mr. Smith, of Dukinfield, happened to be in town, and at once agreed that I should proceed to his nursery-garden.
Thus was I led by a way I knew not for another important end, for, had I obtained a situation in Manchester, I might not have had my late dear wife to be my companion and partaker in all my hopes and
fears for more than half a century in Africa. As it was, Mr. Smith's only daughter, possessing a warm missionary heart, we soon became attached to one another; but she was not allowed to join me in Africa till nearly three years after I left.
Mr. Smith-whose house was a house of call for ministers, and who was always ready to advance the Redeemer's kingdom at home and abroad-only bethought himself, on returning home, that the step he had taken might eventually deprive him of his only daughter; and so, in the providence of God, it turned out. It would be unnecessary to detail the subsequent events during my stay under the watchful care and instruction of Mr. Roby, which lasted nearly a year at the nursery-garden, from which I could visit him only once or twice in each week. He and my father-in-law, as well as both of my own parents, were spared to see us, with grateful joy, after twenty-three years' absence, revisit our fatherland. It is easier conceived than described how all our hearts were filled with gratitude to Him who had guided us and blessed us.
To His name be all the glory!
THE DEATH OF MOSES.
(Concluded.) SUCH would be some of the considerations tending to make this servant of God unwilling to die. There were, however, other things present to his mind which would go far to reconcile him to death.
(1.) He had the favour and presence of God. His fault was forgiven, necessary as God saw it to be that a deterring mark should be set upon it. His was
“the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.” And, if a sinless life were the only condition
peace in death, who of us could look forward to the close without dismay? The grand consolation, swallowing up every other,--and
are others,-is that we are accepted through the Divine mercy for the sake of Him who “ tasted death for every man.”
See how the best of men have clung to the cross of Christ when they have come to die. From prince* to peasant, and amidst almost
* The late Prince Consort may be cited as an instance.
every diversity of religious opinion, how have men felt the words of Toplady exactly suited to their case: "Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”
The presence of God, too, was granted to Moses. He did not die alone. In some form of manifestation God was there. It was He that “showed him the land.” How little, after all, can a human presence do for a dying man? Our friends cannot go with us. They can only accompany us to the entrance of the mysterious journey. There they leave us. Every man must die alone, so far as man is concerned. But, if God be our friend, it is not so much we that are going to Him as that He comes to us, and conducts us with His own hand through the valley of death: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself.”
Often are such manifestations of the Divine presence granted in that hour. Paul, in the near prospect, seemed to see nothing but the “crown of righteousness," to hear nothing but the voice that said, “Well done! good and faithful servant.' Stephen, as he died, saw the Son of man in heaven, risen from His seat and" standing” up in token of the interest He felt in His servant's death. Visions of brightness, sounds of glory, have often seemed to greet the departing spirit. The young have been willing to die, because Christ was with them. The character of death has been changed. Good men 110 longer seem to die.
(2.) The work of Moses, unfinished as it seemed, was really done. Much as he desired to lead the people across the river, he was not needed for this. A successor was already named and consecrated. The people would not be left without a leader or a ruler. Joshua would do the work which Moses fondly hoped would fall to him. God has much less need of us than we are apt to think.
The very fact that the work is His, rather than ours, is a guarantee that He will provide the necessary agents for carrying it on. John Howe, speaking of the removal by death of a promising young man, strikingly says that God is so rich in resources that He can afford to prepare with the utmost care the most valuable instruments, and then lay them aside without using them.
What a happy lot, then, was that of Moses! He had not lived in vain. His work was not incomplete. All that pertained to him to do he had done. Nay, there was a natural completeness in what he had effected. As a lawgiver alone he had laid the foundation of incalculable good for all time. Especially had he, more than any other man had done or was ever again to do, prepared the way for Him who was to appear in the end of time" to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Why should he wish to stay any longer ?
And, when we come to die, next to the great consolation of being among the number of the redeemed, will be that of feeling that we have placed if it be but one stone in the temple which God is rearing to stand for ever.
(3.) Moses is leaving all sorrow, especially all sin, behind him. His