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Saviour, and tried to awaken in the conscience of those with whom he conversed, repentance unto life.
His conduct, so different from that of other political men, produced much wonder. It seemed strange to some that a layman should show so much ardour, so much zeal for the things of religion. But as he honoured his faith by his humility, by his candour, and his good works, he gained, in a little time the esteem of all; and infidels themselves could not but render a tribute of respect to his noble character. No one knows all the good he did by his conversations with worldly men. How many who were heedless have been awakened, and will acknowledge at the last day that M. de Stael was the blessed instrument of their conversion.
In 1826, he returned to Switzerland, and on his arrival received the sad news that a part of the building which he was to occupy was destroyed by fire. Considerable sums were needed to repair this disaster. He resigned himself to the calamity without a murmur.
'I was at first," he says, in a letter to a friend, "a little perplexed; but I recollected soon that all the events of our lives are ordered by a Father who knows better than ourselves what is for our good. I am now happy. Yes, surely we must thank God every moment of our lives; for if he treated us according to our deserts, and not according to his goodness, how many chastisements would be our portion! All the trials he calls us to endure have one aim full of love, which, though not known to us now, will be one day revealed."
In the month of February, 1827, he married an amiable and pious lady of Geneva, who promised to bring him all the happiness compatible with this world of sorrow.
Alas! after some months only of marriage, the 17th of November, 1827, M. de Stael left this earth for a better world. The nature and progress of his disease prevented his manifesting so much as he would have wished, his confidence in the promises of the Saviour; but every time he had strength, he employed it in prayer. The night of his death, in spite of his extreme feebleness, he raised himself in bed and made for himself, for his wife, his relatives, and his country, a fervent prayer, which drew tears from all the attendants.
His sudden and unexpected decease was felt as a public calamity. The peasantry and the labouring people of the vicinity suspended their toil; it seemed as if death had visited every family. The effect was the same wherever the news spread. Rarely have been seen so many regrets, so many tears accompanying a man to his last home. A large concourse assembled to render him funeral honours; and when the Reformed Churches of France learnt that M. de Stael was no more, there was a universal cry of grief. Every one felt that a great void was made among us.
M. de Stael was, in the full sense of the expression, a man of prayer. "I find," he said to a friend, "that only by prayer can I live in peace with myself; only by it I do succeed in subduing to a certain de
gree the imperfections of my nature. When I can, several times a day, pray to that Infinite Being who considers our miseries, hope and gratitude seem to come to my support in the path of life."
He had uncommon modesty. Commendation caused him evident pain. "It is a sad thing," he said, "to be regarded as better than you really are. If you accept such testimonies from others, you feel that you are hypocritical; if you reject them, others take for humility the expression of the simple truth, and nothing is gained."
He was so sincere and upright in his words, that he always feared representing in too favourable terms his true spiritual state. He preferred, in his hours of gloom and
dejection, not to speak at all, rather than express the least thing which he did not feel. He was an enemy to affected piety, and that conventional language called cant. Words repeated with an air of studied humility were offensive to him; he sought always what was simple and true.
He avoided dispute on doctrines. Having heard a discussion on grace and free will, he said, "In two words, my creed is, that we must labour as if we could do something, while we know we can do nothing.'
He trusted wholly in the mercy of the Lord. "It seems to me,' said he, "that I am a child who may offend his father, but who can never be abandoned by him."
FROM THE AUTHOR OF "CHRISTIAN RETIREMENT."
MY DEAR FRIEND.-* * * What a delightful sight it is to see and hear ministers from the north and south, east and west, all bearing their testimony to the Great Shepherd, and witnessing to the efficacy of the blood of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Ghost. Oh, that we may be more bold in confessing Christ before men, and drink deeper into his Spirit. The work of regeneration is indeed a work which Omnipotence alone can perform. Those, I am persuaded, have no adequate idea of the greatness of the work, who have never attempted to curb the secret and subtle corruptions of their own hearts. Let us only fairly try to restrain all motions to sin for one day, and our frequent
defeats will show us, that He only can effect it, who said to the leper, "Be thou clean," and to the raging winds and waves, "Peace, be still." Let us, then, my dear friend, look unto Jesus. He is the Shepherd of the sheep. A sheep is a weak, defenceless animal. Its safety consists in abiding under the shepherd's care, and not straying from the fold. Divine grace can keep us near to Jesus. We are, indeed, prone to wander; but, through the love of Him who drew us to Himself, we shall be kept from the jaws of the lion, and the snares of an evil world. Oh, for a stronger faith! Oh, for a more ardent love! Oh, for a more simple, child-like dependance upon Jesus!
Well, let us not despond! He
hath said, Ask, and ye shall have." He delights to bestow his blessings. His name and nature are "Love." We dishonour him, when we think hardly or meanly of him. Is He not as worthy of credit as an earthly friend? Do I doubt the sincerity of my dear friend's invitation to C-? by no means. Then ought I for a moment to doubt the willingness of Christ to save, when he hath declared that all who come unto him, he will in no wise cast outwhen he hath so lovingly said, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Unbelief is a sin dishonourable to a God of truth, and destructive to the soul. The least particle of this sin brings darkness and distress into the believer's mind; and lamentable experience proves, that there are seasons when even God's dearest children are harassed with unbelieving doubts and fears: as if infinite love had forgotten to be gracious, or infinite power had ceased to operate. Prayer, however, soon dispels the cloud; not the formal prayer of a mere professor, but the ardent breathings of a wrestling Jacob. Oh for the spirit of prayer-the form will profit nothing.
Remember me, dear friend in your prayers; and may the blessed Jesus be our Advocate on high. Yours very affectionately,
T. S. B. READE.
Leeds, 22nd July, 1812.
sons he has clearer and more appropriating views of his loveliness and grace. In seasons of affliction, when creature-comforts prove to us their inefficiency to support the soul, how precious is the Saviour, when apprehended by faith, in all the fulness of that precious Name. The Name of Jesus is like ointment poured forth-at once healing and fragrant. Happy the soul which can live upon him daily by faith, and to whom he manifests himself, as he does not to the world.
I rejoice to hear that Miss F is so graciously supported under her heavy trial. Surely we must acknowledge (and oh, may we ever do it with gratitude) that the Lord does not, yea, will not forsake his people. When they pass through the water he will be with them, &c. And in all ages this blessed truth has been verified-that no one ever trusted in God and was confounded. I earnestly hope that He who so providentially opened a way for the poor girl's escape from the dreadful evils of prostitution, will graciously bless the instructions she will receive to the everlasting good of her soul. It is quite delightful to hear continually of the bloodless victories of the Bible Society. Emperors and kings are now become its nursing fathers. But I was much distressed at the intelligence in the Leeds paper of this day, stating that the great printinghouse at Serampore has been destroyed by fire. 2000 reams of paper from England, and founts of type in 14 languages, ready for printing the Holy Scriptures, has been consumed. It is supposed to have been set maliciously on fire. The damage is estimated at £12,000. The money is nothing compared with the value of the materials. Oh, my dear friend, how this proves the importance of the Bible Society. The great enemy of mankind begins
to tremble for his eastern possessions; and he has been permitted, as with Job in former days, to burn and to destroy. But the end of Job was more glorious than his beginning, and so I trust it will be with the interests of the Bible Society in India. This painful catastrophe will call forth the anxiety, the aid, and the prayers of every sincere member of this Institution. The breach made in its ramparts will, I trust, soon be repaired, and types for 28 languages be cast, for 14 destroyed. However, this must be a work of time; and when we consider the death of Dr. Leyden in conjunction with this recent calamity, it forms a dark cloud over that glorious sun which was so beautifully rising in the east. Still the Lord is sufficient, and He will prevail.
How sweet, my dearest friend, is Christian friendship! May ours every year become more rooted and grounded in love. Christ being our bond of union, and loving each other in him, we shall, I trust, with all our nearest connexions, meet around the Throne, lost in wonder, love, and praise. Your letters are always cordials to my heart; let us pray that we may always write to each other with a simple view to the glory of God and our spiritual good. The more we look to Jesus, and the more good we shall do each other. He can impart holy thoughts to the mind, and enable us, whilst writing, to speak a word in season, when, perhaps, we know it not to be so. I perfectly agree with you respecting the danger there is, of lowering the standard of works, from a mistaken idea lest man should be elevated, by elevating the standard of holiness. When we consider that all good comes from above, and that we have nothing excellent that we have not received-where
is boasting? It is excluded. Jesus came to save his people from their sins, and to make them a peculiar people zealous of good works. Mere forms and ceremonies will avail nothing, if faith working by love be wanting. The pure in heart shall see God; and if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature. A new heart and a new spirit were the great blessings promised in the New Covenant. If any man, therefore, pretends to know Christ, whilst in works he denies him, that man's religion is vain.
What great need is there then for watchfulness and prayer-for prayer, that we may draw from the fountain of grace, continual supplies of strength into the soul; for watchfulness, to guard against the deceitfulness of sin, the depravity of the heart, the subtilty of Satan, and the allurement of the world. I daily feel the force of all these combined enemies. Often, my dear friend, do I groan, being burdened. But Jesus ever lives! Oh! that I had a stronger faith, and more ardent affections. The fountain is open.
I am invited to draw water out of the wells of salvation. What kindness! Ah! nothing but unbelief! Jesus is as willing as he is able to save. Oh! then remember me in your prayers, that I may partake richly of all his spiritual blessings, and with an enlarged heart run the way of his commandments.
Your ever affectionate friend,
tous in respect to us, are foreordained by that infinite Wisdom, which knows the end from the beginning. It may often be said :"What thou knowest not now, thou shalt now hereafter." The promise is, that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to his purpose. Now this could not be, if daily passing events were the effect of mere chance. The doctrine of an over-ruling Providence is most comfortable to that soul which has intrusted all its cares and concerns into the hands of Jesus. Be the day smiling or gloomy, all is well; for Jesus guides the stupendous machine, and is continually making all things, both prosperous and adverse, work together, to advance the interest of his Church. Oh, my dear friend, how wonderful is the Covenant of Grace. It is indeed ordered in all things, and sure-yea, it is an everlasting covenant; and those happy souls, who are brought, by converting grace, into the bonds of it, were loved with an everlasting love. How clearly the Scriptures define the character of such blessed souls. God bestows upon them, through his Son, a new heart, and admits them through faith in the blood of Jesus, into fellowship with himself. All is of grace, that God may have the glory of all!
When I look at myself, and into myself, what do I behold? A worm of the earth-a rebel! and yet free grace offers even to me, eternal life! saying Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Here is no exception, then why should I except myself? But, ah! the cursed pride of fallen nature, is desirous to patch up the old Adam, and make him appear somewhat comely, in order to gain the favour of
the Saviour. Thus the leaven of self-righteousness, often keeps us from closing in, by simple faith, with Jesus. But as the Israelites were commanded to purge their houses of leaven, before the celebration of the Passover, so must this leaven be purged from the heart, before we can truly receive Christ, our Passover, who was sacrificed for us. And when he is received by simple faith, oh! what joy and peace fills the believing soul, through the power of the Holy Ghost. You live, my dear friend, in the enjoyment of this blessedness. You can sing of abounding grace. How loving is the Saviour in his dispensations towards you and your dear family; let me join you in heartfelt praises, and adore that Jesus, that almighty Saviour, who does all things well. When I look at my own mercies and privileges, oh! how great is the sum of them; if I should count them, they would be more than I am able to express. The manna falls daily round my habitation. The waters of life are flowing in a continual stream. The sweet trumpet of the Gospel is sounding every Sabbath in my ears, calling me to Jesus, to happiness and to heaven. Surely all this demands the most lively gratitude and unceasing praise. But, my dear friend, when I compare my returns with my mercies, I am sickened at the review. I am well assured, that the divine mercies will for ever infinitely exceed any poor returns of love which I can make; yet I want to feel a warmer glow of affection in my heart; a more entire surrender of myself to Jesus; and a stronger and more abiding sense of my obligations to a crucified and exalted Redeemer; and where can I obtain all this, but at the hands of Jesus? without him I can do nothing. His Spirit alone can shed abroad this