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ther thought, that being ripe for glory, the Lord in mercy removed him from this present evil world to that happier state after which he had so long and so ardently aspired. I had by his advice some time before renewed my intercourse with my brother's family, in which I found pious and affectionate friends, until they removed out of the country to a more promising situation. And thus I was left alone in the world, as to any earthly connexions; yet not alone with respect to my God, with whom I had long been enabled to hold such communion as I have now, in my simple manner, endeavoured to describe.
"At length, the sense of my happiness became such, that I felt Icould keep it no longer to myself. It seemed quite to overcome my natural disposition, which was that of great reserve. I looked about for some to whom I might impart my joy, but was several times checked by persons who appeared unable to comprehend the nature of it, and who treated me as one that from a solitary life had acquired certain wild and romantic notions which amounted to little less than absolute derangement. Finding that such was in general the opinion of my neighbours respecting me, I withdrew again into my former retirement, in which I continued to live till the Sundayschool seemed to open to me a mode in which I might evidence my love for Him who had so long formed my happiness.
"About the same time," continued the old man, "finding myself getting infirm, I took a good old woman into my family, who has proved to me a quiet and inoffensive help-meet, though I never could by any means succeed in opening her eyes upon the subject of religion; for while she quietly assents to all I say, as far as I can perceive she still remains in ignorance. This was a source of peculiar trouble to me; but I have now committed her to the Lord, and trust that he will carry on his own blessed work upon her without my interference.
"And now, good Sir, I am come to the end of my history, having shewn you all that the Lord has done for me; the mighty sum of which I have not power to calculate, neither shall I through all eternity be able justly to conceive the height, the breadth, and depth, of that redeeming love, from which I derive my richest consolations."
Here the lady of the manor having finished the history of Henry Hart, called her young people to prayer; after which they withdrew for the evening.
A Prayerfor a lively Communion with God.
"O ALMIGHTY FATHER, who in thine infinite mercy hast permitted thy redeemed ones to hold communion with thee in prayer, in meditation, and by a participation of all those blessings which thou hast promised to those that are in covenant with thee, pour down upon us, we beseech thee, those inestimable gifts of thy Holy Spirit, by which alone we can be enabled rightly to appreciate this glorious privilege, as well as to receive benefit and consolation from all our approaches to thy throne, and our contemplation of divine things. O Almighty Father, we are assured that thy saints have found such delight in these exercises as no earthly enjoyment is capable of imparting: nevertheless, we feel a backwardness to all communion with thee, which we cannot too deeply lament, nor too humbly acknowledge; since we feel a painful conviction that this reluctance arises from the depravity of our nature, and from that evil heart of unbelief in us which is ever prone to wander from God. We have hitherto considered prayer as a task, and almost every written work of man has been more acceptable to us than thy holy word, even when convinced that no real happiness is reasonably to be expected but that which proceeds from a heart truly devoted to thee. We gladly admit any excuse by which we may absent ourselves from thy service; our thoughts are far from thee; we even associate gloomy ideas with the worship of the Creator of heaven and earth; and seek to divert ourselves with any trifle, rather than be occupied with the wonders of redeeming love. Yea, in what a total state of estrangement from thee have we hitherto lived! How alive are we to our worldly concerns! how dead and lifeless in all spiritual matters! Though thou art ever near to us, we are generally far from thee. Our hearts are hard, our affections cold; and thus does our disinclination to divine things form a wall of separation between thee and us, even after we have had some experience of thy regenerating power and sanctifying grace. We beseech thee, O heavenly Father, have mercy upon us; cast us not away from thy presence; leave us not to ourselves, and to the power of our sins; but compel us to come unto thee, and rather deprive us of all earthly consolations than permit us to rest exclusively in them: for what should we be profited, were we to gain the whole world, and be separated for ever from thee 1 Whom have we in heaven, O our God, but thee? and there is none upon earth we should desire but thee. All that is excellent in thy saints, is but the faint and polluted image of thy glory. And all that is beautiful on earth, is but the imperfect emblem of that which thou hast prepared for thy redeemed ones in the world to come. Instruct us to look through all temporal things to those which are eternal. The heavens declare thy glory, O Lord, and the earth is full of the works of thy hand! Permit them not to exist in vain with regard to us: but enable us to discern in all these surrounding objects the evidence of things not seen; that, with the patriarchs and prophets of old, we may live by faith in the promises of God, and finally be numbered with those who through the exercise of that mighty grace subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions; and of whom the world was not worthy. And now, O blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, though creatures of unclean lips, we earnestly supplicate thy mercy, in humble assurance that thou wilt hearken to our imperfect prayers, for the sake of him who condescended to visit us in our low estate, that he might raise us from the ruins of our fall, and finally present us before the throne of his grace without spot or blemish, being clothed with his own righteousness, and washed from our sin in his own blood, and thus rendered meet for that perfect communion with himself which will form the highest enjoyment of the saints through a blissful eternity. "Now to God the Father," &c.
Q. You said that your Godfathers and Godmothers did promise for you, that you should keep God's Commandments. Tell me how many there be?
Q. Which be they?
A. The same which God spake in the twentieth Chapter of Exodus, saying, I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage.
First Commandment.—Thou shalt have none other Gods but me.
On the usual day of the week appointed for the assembling of the young people at the manor-house, the lady of the manor received them all in her wonted graceful and affectionate manner; neither were they sorry to observe a small manuscript lying upon her work-table, from which they promised themselves the pleasure of hearing some interesting and profitable narrative. However, the lady commenced the business of the evening without any reference to this manuscript, by putting several questions from the Church Catechism to Miss Sophia. The questions and answers were to this effect.—
"Q. You said that your Godfathers and Godmothers did promise for you, that you should keep God's commandments. Tell me how many there be?
"Q. Which be they?
"A. The same which God spake in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, saying, I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
"It cannot be necessary, my dear young people, to remind you of the time and occasion when these commandments were delivered," said the lady of the manor. "I will not therefore expatiate on this part of our subject, but proceed to remark what perhaps some of you may already be acquainted with—that the ten commandments comprehend not the whole communication made at that time from Mount Sinai; but that there were many other laws and ordinances given on the same occasion for the observance of the people of God. These have always been classed under two heads; viz. the moral, and the ceremonial: the former of which are of eternal obligation, having been ratified by Christ, and being in their own nature essentially good; but the latter, consisting only of types and symbols, all of which received their completion in Christ, are now passed away, even as the shadow gives place to the substance. With respect to the moral law, it has been found, by the universal experience of every individual throughout all ages, that no man has ever been able to keep it undefiled in the smallest point. Hence St. Paul says, Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. iii. 20.)
"Could a man perform every article of the moral law," continued the lady of the manor, "and were he so to do from his infancy unto his death, he would have undoubtedly such a claim on the divine justice, as to have nothing to apprehend, were the earth itself to be dissolved, and the elements to melt with fervent heat; for death could have no dominion over such a man, neither would he be subject in any degree to those pains and infirmities, which are the effects of sin in all our fallen race. But while it seems almost profane to fancy the existence of such a man, you will be surprised to hear me assert, that many persons, either from their ignorance of themselves, or of the nature of the divine commandments, imagine themselves to be nearly without sin; presuming to speak and act as if eternal happiness was the merited reward of their good works. But in order, my dear young people, to convince you of the spiritual nature of the commandments, and to make you sensible of your