« PoprzedniaDalej »
strained to cry out, What a sinner! What a wretch! What a beast am I! How have I wandered from the Lord, and been pleasing myself with earthly things! Now the Lord hath called my sin to remembrance, and given me to see, that in him is my help. How often and how sweetly did these words of the Psalmist pass through my mind: “God is a very presenthelp in time of trouble.” Itappeared to me, that he is not only a help, but a very present help. Every word accorded with my feelings. Before I had time to pray, the Lord appeared for me, and gave me full confidence in him; and I knew that it was the Lord, for no other God can save after this sort. O how good it is to have God for our God; and to have access to him through the blood of Jesus! During the operation of setting my limb (which was very painful), I was enabled to commit my case unto the Lord, and trust myself with him. I endured much pain after the dressings were performed, and a most violent inflammation took place, so that gangrene was daily expected. From the day that the bone was broken (Tuesday,) until the next Sabbath, I enjoyed a sacred nearness to the Lord: no cloud passed my mind, no darkness, no doubt, no temptation. I could call God my portion, my rock, my hiding place, !. friend, my all. I had (if I mistake not) access to him every hour; my intercourse with Heaven was truly sweet. If I lived, I thought it was well; if I died, it was well. With the woman of Shunem I could say, all is well: but on the Sabbath before mentioned, my mind was disturbed a little, by means of a relation coming to see me. I prayed that it might not be: and the good Spirit was grieved, so that I had pot that comfort in prayer as before. At this I was alarmed, for I thought I could not live at a distance from God, in a time of distress like this. I immediately re
quested my brother to read a portion of God’s word to me. He read a number of verses, until he came to a promise, that the Lord made to David concerning Solomon, that if he transgressed he would correct him, but his loving kindness he would not take away. This promise was set home to my mind. . I rested upon it, as on the word of the eternal Jehovah, that could not fail. I fully believed, and do now believe, that if I sin, the Lord will bring sorrow upon me; but will not let me live in sin, nor cast me off at last. I must not neglect to mêo ion the goodness of God in giving me patience. The most I felt like repining was this: being alone one day, I cast my eye around on my bed, and said to myself, what a dreadful thing it is, to be here in this situation! But the thought had scarcely passed my mind, when it was succeeded by this: How dreadful it would be, to be cast into hell! I felt more than contented ; I felt thankful—the Lord dealt in covenant love. No words can fully express the struggle I had, in giving up my children. Oh! the thought that they must be left motherless at that tender age | Five helpless children, the eldest but nine, the youngest not two years old: that they should be left in an unfriendly world, a world that is hostile to religion: my heart was almost broken for them. My sorrow respecting my husband was alleviated, for I viewed the time to be short that should separate us. Soon we should meet in a better world, and sing purer praise to that God whom we had united in worshipping here below. After several trials, the Lord enabled me to give up the whole to him. I saw plainly, that the Lord would take care of them, without me, as well as with me, and that I, as well as they, am dependant on the Almighty. Now it was, that I needed the support of the holy religion of the .#. Saviour #. #. world, with all its busy scenes, all its smooth promises, had no attractions for me. My eye was fixed on eternity. , I expressed my feelings to one of my watchers, when I said I had not a tie upon earth. But the want of the enjoyment of temporal things was more than made up in views of eternal realities. One night when my limb was in great pain, my fever high, and my stay on earth appeared very short, I was much animated, and comforted, b meditating upon the scene in whic the church shall be presented to the Father, with exceeding joy, all pure and spotless. My first idea was of the person who should present her. Christ will have this office to perform; and he is worthy, for he spent his life to work out a robe of righteousness for his people. He adopted them into his family, and made them sons of God. The second idea suggested to my mind, was of the persons that should be presented; an innumerable multitude, that should stand upon the heavenly mount Zion, redeemed out of every nation, kindred and tongue under heaven; clothed in white; all of one heart and mind, to give glory to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They had been in Christ’s school upon earth, and had come out of great tribulation, having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Now methought there was great joy in heaven, for the bride, the Lamb’s wife, had made herself ready. The Father smiled with joy ineffable, and was reconciled to me. The holy angels were delighted, for they saw more and more into the mystery of redemption. Every expanding soul was transported. At other times, in the midst of my distress, I was comforted with a view of the resurrection. On a sudden all business and recreations should be arrested, by the sound of the archangel’s trumpet, which shall
be so loud as to awake the sleeping dead. All ears shall hear, all eyes shall see, for themselves. No unconcerned person, no idle spectator shall then exist. Those that sleep in Christ shall be raised, fresh and vigorous, like unto his glorious body. Paul, when speaking to the church of the resurrection, says, “Comfort one another with these words.” Imeditated on the time when all Christ’s followers should arise. There would be no want of limbs or activity. But what would crown all, Christ, the captain, would lead this innumerable company. He had given his life for them, and watched them through their pilgrimage. Their hearts were all his. They were all united in placing the crown on his head. What a glorious scene must this be! The day for which all other days were made! I think the happiness of those that have part in the first resurrection consists in their being cordial in the Saviour’s interest, in being like him, and in being with him. Some time in October my husband was violently seized with a fever; he was brought to the sides of the grave, and I was daily expecting the angel of death to summon my soul to the eternal world. This was a strait place. My children need father and mother both; and to be deprived of both at once was more than I could well bear. I thought of Jacob’s strait, when about to meet his brother. He did all that he could to provide for his family, before he retired for prayer. I agreed with one of their uncles to keep the children together, and then had no resort but to a throne of grace. I found, that I with my husband had before given them up to God; but now I must give them up to God alone. This I was enabled to do with some confidence. Now, in a strict sense, there was but a . between me and death. I had nothing to look forward to but eternity. The goodness of God was manifestin many things; especially in disposing people to kindness. This I hope to remember with gratitude, not only to the great #. poser of all events, but also to my neighbours and friends. About the time of public thanksgiving we were both of us better, so that we lay on our beds and took supper with our children, who were | providentially at home. I never felt such emotions of gratitude on such an occasion before; for the lives and health of our children had been continued, and it seemed likely their father might be spared to them if their mother was not. Another trouble awaited us which we did not expect. Our eldest son fell and put his elbow out of joint, which was very troublesome for two months. Three of our children were taken with a fever, and one of them was brought very low. Now I think I can truly say I learned to live by faith, not by sight. Three others of the family were sick of the same fever, one of whom died, apparently in the triumphs of faith. We enjoyed the prayers, conversation and singing of God’s children, of different denominations. While the Lord afflicts with one hand, he supports with the other. We were cast down, but not destroyed. Soon after the first of March, my limb grew much worse. At times the pain was excruciating, and so affected my nerves that I was almost beside myself. This, together with the quantity of opium which it was necessary for me to use, left me but little time to be in a devotional frame. I experienced more than ever before the hidings of God’s face. I do not know that I enjoyed any religious subjects for a length of time. It seemed to me as if Satan came against me with great power, knowing his time was short. I knew how to mourn with Job. I thought then, and now think, my case was the most like Job’s of any person I ever knew or heard of.
It often occurred to my mind, that I knew the depths of Satan. He did not take away my earthly friends, as in the case of Job, nor my hope in Christ; but cast into my mind such horrible suggestions, such blashemous thoughts, as it would be imprudent for me to relate. I was almost afraid to have any one windicate the character of God in my hearing, for such hard things would be thrown into my mind as would make me shudder. I did not feel condemned for these thoughts, as if they had been my own; for I abhorred them, and myself on account of them. As far as I can judge, they served to rinse and d. my heart, and at the same time gave me to see that my heart was like a cage of unclean birds. All the relief I could get was by crying mightily to God. My agony was so extreme, that I regarded not company, time, nor place; but poured out my complaints into the bosom of my covenant keeping God with all my might; and if any asked me, why I prayed so, my answer was, “It is the rack of nature.” Even at this distance of time, it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with emotions which language cannot express. I asked some of my Christian friends if they thought it justifiable for me to pray for speedy dissolution. They thought I might not. This tried my feelings very much, but in a short time my trouble was so great, that I prayed almost incessantly for speedy dissolution: for I had not the least doubt but that it would be well with me after death. The first relief I gained was while one of our neighbours was in prayer. I seemed to gain a little rest to my weary soul. This passage of holy writ occurred to my mind in a commanding manner ; Hold fast that thou hast. I felt this to be from the good Spirit, and it greatly encouraged me to hope my sufferings would be short. This scripture was spoken with authority, and caused the enemy to slacken his assaults in some measure. For when those times of distress were coming on, this word was set home with such power, as settled my tossed mind in no small degree. I decided about the second week in March, to have my limb amputated. And here I must not forget to notice the good hand of my God upon me; for all the time after my limb was broken till about this time, the thought of having it cut off was distressing; but now I was made willing, and anticipated little or no trouble about it. In February preceding, the physician that called occasionally to see me, hinted that my limb could not be saved. This distressed me; for though I was willing to die, I was not reconciled to undergo the pain of amputation. I asked a minister of the gospel, if the surgeon thought it necessary to preserve life that my limb should be taken off, whether it would be my duty to submit?. He answered, The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavours to preserve our own lives and the lives of others. This, said I, is what meets me in all my inquiries after duty; but l had o die, if I might have my choice; and if I submit to the operation, it will be from a conviction that it is my duty. I asked a second minister, and received a similar answer. And now I had but one person more to ask, which was the minister of the church with which I then communed. He gave me the same answer. This brought tears into my eyes. I told him I thought it must be of God, for being . separately, all gave me the same in substance for answer. Now my mind was settled as to what the Lord required of me. Still I hoped the Lord would shorten my days in an easier manner. I hoped the i. would say, Come up higher. How gladly would I obey ! I would hail death’s sharpest pangs that brought me on my way to God. After a se
vere turn of distress, something like cramp, which proceeded from my limb, gave me a little comfort, thinking probably the next turn would put an end to my sufferings. When the cramp took me again, which was after a few days, I felt calm, though not quite so rejoiced as I expected. It increased while prayer was offered, so that my breath seemed about to leave me. I beckoned to my nurse to raise me up. She did so; and I breathed more freely. I found that it was a great thing to die, and thought I would wait all the days of my appointed time till my change should come—would leave all my cares with the Lord. I lived by the day. When the time was set for the operation to be performed, I endeavoured to live above this world. I looked upon the day set as the day in which I should probably enter into my rest. I hoped and prayed that I might not disgrace my profession. Yet this suggestion would follow me, that when I came to the extreme part of the suffering, I should blaspheme. Not that I so much regarded my own name; for I had given that up; but to wound the cause of Christ was worse than death. I trusted that very many of God’s children were praying for me. I knew not why it was, but my Christian acquaintance were much interested on my behalf; and I doubt not that many secret, as well as public prayers ascended to the throne of all grace. Saturday morning, twenty-eighth of March, ten physicians met in my room, and made all necessary preparation for amputating the limb. The eye of my mind was fixed on the great Physician above, who is able to wound and to heal; whose prerogative alone it is, to kill and to make alive. The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice, was still my support. I can walk through death's darkest shade, if Christ be with me there. I could say,
“Faith builds a bridge from this world to the next :” and with one of the martyrs, when going to the stake, “’Tis but winking, and thou artin heaven.” Before the operation was commenced, feeling the need of prayer, I asked all present to pray with me, telling them, that probably within an hour I should be above hearing prayer and bearing pain. They all refused except my husband. After he had concluded, I thought soon might prayer be changed into praise. This may be the last prayer I shall hear while on the shores of time, except what might be extorted from me by the pangs of expiring nature. Jesus was kind to me in this hour of distress. And though the tempter said, “Now you are going to blaspheme,” yet I believe I did not; for I cannot tell all I did say. My distress while taking up the arteries was great, and no one would tell me what I did say. My mind was remarkably held up. The Lord have all the praise. I was not discouraged nor faintin my mind. The operation was performed a little before noon. After the physicians were all gone, the blood started from one of the arteries. Now I thought death in a few moments would close the scene. Truly death is the king of terrors. I do not know that I felt unwilling to go, yet the apprehension that the grim messenger had already arrived, caused a little tremor at first, which soon subsided into a calm resignation. It is the Lord. This artery providentially stopped of itself. The surgeon soon returned. In a few minutes after his return another artery burst. This did not distress me. Living or dying, all is well. The doctor stopped this, and sat by me a considerable time; and when he left me, the heavenly, the best of all Physicians, did not leave me. Next morning, being Sabbath, at the breaking of the day I awoke with these lines upon my mind: “Light is sown for the righteous.”
It must be sown by the Lord, and will spring up, and be springing up to all eternity. It is but of little consequence what our lot is in this world, if we enjoy this light. How pleasant was my meditation all that day! The next morning I awoke with another text upon my mind, which afforded me sweet meditation. On Wednesday morning this text met my waking thoughts: “Fear not, little flock; it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” This was replete with rich instruction. Fear mot;—How kind, how tender is our heavenly Parent, notwithstanding all our wanderings. Fear not, little flock;—a little flock, truly, when compared with the multitude that know not God. But though they are small in numbers, they are assured the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. It is the Father’s good pleasure, as well as the Son’s, that they should receive the kingdom. The Father is reconciled to men. This is a theme which might well employ an angel’s tongue. If we have a kingdom, we shall reign—reign over sin, and Satan, and the world, and all trouble. At evening I grew distressed, so that for the first time I thought I was actually dying. It caused a little tremor, but I did not mention my apprehension to any one ; for I thought I would first attend to the business myself. I looked around me to see what my evidences were, and thought “if I have never given myself to God aright, 'tis time I had ; and if I have, ’tis safe to do it again;” and therefore I gave myself up to God, through Christ, that new and living way. I saw the way of salvation as plain as ever I saw any thing, and believe all might see it and come to God, if they would. Fearing I might forget this surrender, I spoke aloud, “Let me remember I am no more my own. I have just given myself away.” Then I began to ask, Who has chosen the