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Nov. 10, 1818, she says, “I desire to be truly thankful to my heavenly Father for his goodness in sparing my unprofitable life to the present time. This day I have completed my sixteenth year. And what have I done to glorify my Maker? Nothing! I have spent much of my time in seeking for honours and pleasures in the world; but did I ever find them? No! They were like phantoms which eluded my grasp. I have enjoyed more real happiness during the few weeks that have elapsed since I was brought to the knowledge of sins forgiven, than I ever did before. O what sublime enjoyments are the portion of the sincere Christian.". It
appears that this notice was made not long after her conversion; and that she had not yet ventured to acknowledge Christ in His ordinance; for on the 27th of the next month, we find the following item, which, while it shews the tenderness of her conscience, exhibits a mind deeply impressed with the duty of commemorating the dying love of the Lord Jesus :
“This day, after many doubts and fears, I ventured to approach the table of the Lord. I drew near with fear and trembling. My heart almost sunk within me lest I should partake unworthily. I did indeed halt between two opinions. I dared not disobey the pointed and dying command of my Lord and Master; and yet I hardly knew how to obey, feeling such a deep sense of my unworthiness. A sense of duty, however, prevailed; and God fed me with the manna of His love."
Having thus publicly acknowledged her Lord and master at His table, she found her spirit greatly strengthened to do His will. But it was not only in the use of this profitable means of grace that she found spiritual benefit. She greatly relished the word of God, and was always punctual in her attendance, honouring those who announced it as the servants of Christ. This is evident from the following extracts from her private diary :
“ Feb. 28, 1819. O how has my soul been refreshed this day while waiting before the Lord in the appointed means of grace. This morning brother B. spoke from these words, “ Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” He shewed how necessary knowledge was in many things, and how useful when used to the glory of God; and he also spoke in a beautiful manner of the blessed effects of charity on Christian communities. He afterwards administered the Lord's supper. O! what a glorious season. Surely it was none other than the house of God and the very gate of heaven to my soul. In the afternoon brother C. spoke on the Parable of the Vine. He exhorted us in a very feeling manner to abide in Christ at all times what a faithful labourer is he in his Master's cause. Many, no doubt, will date their awakening and conversion from hearing him preach. O may the services of this day be deeply impressed on my mind.”
The following remarks will shew with what godly jealousy she watched over her spirit, and that she also was sometimes in heasiness through manifold temptations.
6 March 21. I went to the house of God this afternoon ; but fear I was but little benefitted. I felt an unusual deadness and coldness. I prayed the Lord to remove it, which He in a measure did. O merciful God! forbid that I should feel such stupidity of mind again.
“ In the evening I heard brother B. on these words, The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord will give grace and glory; and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. I felt pleased when I saw him ascend the pulpit, because his preaching has always proved a great blessing to my soul; but when I heard the words of his text, my feelings were inexpressible. Last evening when I opened my Bible, these words were the first on which I cast my eyes. They were peculiarly appropriated to my feelings, and were deeply impressed on my mind."
After giving a general outline of the sermon, as was her usual method in noticing such seasons, and observing the blessed effects it had upon her soul, she says,
“O Lord! Help me to walk uprightly. Help me to eye thy glory in all I do and say."
Nor was it under the preaching of God's word only that she took such delight, and received such benefit. She also speaks of the spiritual consolation which she derived from attending her class-meeting, making honourable mention of her leader, as a man deeply devoted to God. But we have not room to extend our extracts much farther. The following, however, will shew how ardently she thirsted after a full redemption, after perfect love.
“God has, of late, been calling me to cut off the right hand, and to pluck out the right eye. My rebellious heart was almost ready to re"fuse ; but I have been enabled to bring my mind to this resolutionThat all my spiritual foes shall be slain at the feet of my Redeemer. Since then the enemy of my soul has suggested a variety of difficulties and discouragements; but I desire to be thankful to God that He gives me strength to resist, and that He supports me under them all ; and I find a secret satisfaction in doing the will of God. Although He may see it proper to withhold the joys of His salvation, yet peace-heavenborn peace, is the portion of those who do His will." “God will, I trust, enable me to love Him with all my heart. I feel this to be the greatest desire of my soul. For this I feel willing to make any sacrifice the Lord shall require of me. And if we enjoy such sweet peace, and such communion with our heavenly Father now, what shall it be when all the corruptions of our hearts are destroyed.”
These extracts are sufficient to shew that this child of grace, was lovely in the eyes of God. If any thing more were necessary, the following covenant, the words of which were borrowed from Dr. DODDRIDGE, and, adopted as her own, will be fully sufficient.
“ New-York, Feb. 8, 1819. “ Eternal and ever-blessed God! I desire to present myself before thee with the deepest humiliation and abasement of soul, sensible how una
worthy such a sinful worm is to appear before the sacred Majesty of
through Jesus Christ the great Mediator of it, to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, be everlasting praises ascribed by all the millions who are thus saved by thee, and by all those other celestial spirits in whose work and blessedness thou shalt call them to share. Amen and amen.
HARRIET DONALDSON. “ Being fully convinced that this covenant transaction which I have extracted from DODDRIDGE is far superior to my own, I have substituted it in place of my former one. O that the Lord would enable me ever to keep in mind the solemn obligations I am under to love and serve him."
Of her Slial affection, were her affectionate parents permitted to speak, they would, as I have already heard them, say much. It was evinced on all occasions, both before and after her conversion to God, and both before and after her marriage. How highly she honoured and valued them, may be seen by the following extract of a letter directed to them while she was on a visit in the country.
“I feel sensible, my dearest parents, that under my Creator, I owe my all to you; and I here render my thanks and acknowledgements to you for your kindness and affection bestowed on me, and I hope I may be able so to conduct myself as never to cause you a moment's pain."
May 24, 1820, she was married, no doubt in the Lord, to Mr. LANCASTER B. DUSINBERY. Alluding to this circumstance, in a letter to her parents, she observes,
“ It is a source of satisfaction to my mind, when I reflect that I have always felt a disposition to consult you in affairs of moment, and to abide by your opinion, and especially in the important step of marriage; that step which removed me from under your more particular care, your judgment had great weight with me. Although I am blest with the kindest, the best, and most affectionate of husbands, yet I should feel unhappy had I the painful reflection of having acted contrary to your wishes in this respect.”
These remarks lead us to notice the affection and respectful attention she always manifested for her husband, whom she had received as from the Lord, and who was every way suited to her feelings and views.
“I feel,” says she, “ that I have abundant cause of gratitude for innumerable mercies received from the bountiful Giver of every good and perfect gift, among which I enumerate the having pious parents, who taught my youthful feet to tread the courts of the living God, and my. infant tongue to lisp forth the praises of my Redeemer; and also the having a companion, whose aims, wishes, and pursuits, are so congenial to my own.”
In a letter to a female friend, she adverts to the same circumstance.
“I feel,” says she, “ daily that I have cause for renewed praises to my God, for bestowing on me the greatest of earthly blessings, a kind, tender, and affectionate husband. I tell you, my dear Fanny, my hap'piness since my marriage has exceeded my best expectations. My dear companion often says that he fears his happiness is too complete to be lasting. I fear that mine is.” (How prophetic!) But I am thankful that I can repose my cause in the hands of an all-wise Creator, who knows what is best for me."
The following extract of a letter, which she wrote to her parents while on a visit to the relatives of her beloved husband, while it evinces the same ardent affection for him, likewise shews that she knew how to relish the beauties of nature, to admire the sublime evidences of the Creator's skill, and to behold and adore him through them all.
“ It will doubtless afford you pleasure to learn that I am very plea. santly situated. The relatives and friends of my own dear LANCASTER, treat me with the utmost kindness and affection. The most part of the time since I left you, I have spent at CORNELIUS DUSINBERY's. His house is built on a rock just at the foot of Snake-Hill. The prospect from the front is beautifully picturesque. The celebrated Hudson, meandering beautifully along, enclosed by lofty mountains, its surface covered with vessels of various sizes, with their sails spread to the wind, has a very sublime and elegant effect upon the contemplative mind. The land prospect is also highly delightful. As far as the eye can reach, it alternately beholds fields in the highest state of cultivation, groves and woodlands, in which the hand of nature vies with the hand of art.
66 The orchard a little above the house, is a favourite place of resort for me.
In the centre is a large smooth rock, to which I retreat every day, when there, after an early tea, and remain until the curtains of night veil creation. The view is rather more extensive from the rock than from the house. The steeples and tops of some houses at Newburgh can be disterned very plainly through the trees. The vicious might derive pleasure from scenes like these; but how is pleasure heightened, even to rapture, when in the midst of such delightful objects, we can exclaim in the language of CowPER—My Father made them all! The beauties of nature always have a tendency to 'lead me up to nature's God;' but more eminently when on my Rock, where I contemplate the attributes of the great Creator and Preserver of universal nature, have I been permitted, weak, unworthy, and unfaithful as I am, to hold sweet converse with heaven. Oh! wonderous condescension.
My willing soul would stay
In such a frame as this,
To everlasting bliss !' « That these visits may be so transforming to my nature, that I may be assimilated into the divine image, assist me, my beloved by your prayers--and be assured that I am fully of the opinion that the best manner in which I can repay your kindness is to remember you at the throne of grace." Vol. VII.