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" Why,” they said, “his absence mourning,
Gaze ye thus, ye chosen few?
High enthroned at God's right hand!
his pardoned band.
Still He loves our fallen race;
When the needy
May we all thine influence prove:
Let his presence
Fill our hearts with joy and love. Drayton, Beauchamp, 1843.
W. H. R.
THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.
Lord, I can ne'er unravel,
A. FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALI,
MEMOIR OF A GARDENER.
James Cutler and Sarah Brown were brought up in the same village, and knew and loved each other from childhood. Their parents were decent, moral people, and often prided themselves on the respectable manner in which they brought up their families; and had their children been intended to live always in this world, their management might justly have been praised; but not when we consider them as immortal beings training for eternity. They taught not their offspring to avoid sin, on account of its sinfulness in God's sight, but to shun what appeared disgraceful in the eyes of their fellowcreatures; because, not feeling the sinfulness of their own hearts, they knew not their need of a Saviour, and were unable to lead their young ones to Him, as the only way of salvation.
Thus they brought up their children, as I fear very many parents do, totally regardless of their state as perishing sinners. When Sarah and James were old enough, and had each saved a little from their earnings, they married, with the consent of their parents; and they set out in life with just as much religion as was to be expected from their bringing up; in fact, they considered themselves Christians, although unable to give a reason of their hope.
But the Lord, who is rich in mercy, was graciously pleased to draw Sarah to himself.
Severe affliction visited her in the death of her firstborn, when her heavenly Father pierced her heart with conviction, by means of a sermon which divine grace blessed to her. Long and painful were her struggles with sin, before peace was granted: her inward trials were not all, more outward troubles were in store to purify and strengthen her.
James became sadly altered in his conduct; having no
fixed principle, and being of a credulous temper, he was easily induced by sinful companions to break the Sabbath, which is the almost certain forerunner of other crimes.
Though not an habitual drunkard, he too often frequented the public-house, and the money which he should have given to his wife was spent on, what is falsely called, making merry with his companions. Sarah never complained, nor heedlessly mentioned his faults: one day a neighbour wondered she could work so hard for such a husband-for her part, she would not bear it so quietly: Sarah meekly replied, “He is my own, I must make the best of him;" and she not only made the best of him, but did the best for him. She interceded for him frequently at the throne of grace, and treated him with affection and consideration. She felt a fearful dread that his day of grace was quickly passing away; and she one day said, “Oh! Mr.
what will become of me, if my poor James should leave this world, living as he now does, regardless of his God and Saviour. I endeavour all I can, sir, to talk to him, but his Redeemer's love has no effect on him-he still, poor fellow, loves me and his children, but how can I wish or expect that to influence him, when his heart is not moved by what his Saviour, who is now calling him, has done for him! I often fear, sir, he will shorten his life-drinking beer, and sitting up late, are so bad for his constitution.” Mr. deeply sympathised with his poor friend, besought her to continue earnest in prayer for the object of her anxiety, and drew her attention to those texts which appeared most likely to afford her comfort; when the Lord says he has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, and “When the wicked man turneth away from the wickedness he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive."
This trial led the now humbled wife to fervent prayer, and deep searchings into her own heart; and at length she was fully enabled to enter into Paul's feelings, expressed in Romans xi. 33. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" and now she was mercifully supported: “though cast down," yet, not in despair, for she knew that He, in whom she trusted, was able and willing to support her, whatever might befal her.
I was sent for to visit James, who had broken a blood vessel, and thought himself dying. The surgeon who attended him ordered perfect quietness; but when there is a wounded conscience, how can the troubled soul feel rest?
He so eagerly desired to see me, that his medical attendant at last reluctantly consented. When I entered the room, he raised himself up, and, with the deepest anxiety depicted on his countenance, which expressed even more than his words, exclaimed in a feeble, broken voice, “O sir, I am a great sinner; this is bad, very bad,” pressing his heart, at the same time groaning heavily. “You feel, then,” I said, “ you have broken the laws of a just and offended God.” “O yes, sir, but I am sorry, very sorry; is there then any hope for me?" “ Yes, James, the Son of God died for such as you; though your sins be as scarlet,' yet turn to Christ, and
they shall be white as snow;' confess to Him all your sins, feel you have no goodness of your own to boast of, believe that He died to save you, and He will receive you. He saith, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out.' ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. xi. 28.) “O sir, my wife has been talking to me in this way, but I could not believe her; I feel my sins are so many." I answered: “This is a true saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I chief.” At these words the poor man appeared much agitated-a conflict seemed rising in his mind-however, in a few minutes, his countenance assumed a calm expression, and he feebly murmured, “ This is good, good news; there is hope for me.” “Yes, my friend," I replied, “Jesus came into the world to seek and to save those that are lost-lost and dead in trespasses and sins. “They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick.'”
I now read him the parable of the prodigal son. He listened attentively, and seemed to feel deeply. I then knelt by his bedside, and prayed that God would look in mercy on this his servant, who felt his vileness in his sight, who repented his past misdeeds, and desired to cast himself entirely at his Redeemer's feet. I prayed that sin might, through divine grace, be subdued in him, and a new heart given to him, that he might be washed in his Saviour's blood, clothed in his righteousness, and so be made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. I now left him, and am thankful to say, much more tranquil than when I entered.
I again visited James; Sarah said he had had no return of spitting of blood, and though his cough had been very distressing, yet, on the whole, he was more composed during the night, though at times his sins appeared so great, he thought they could not be forgiven; yet at others he seemed able to lay hold of Christ, to hope that He was both able and willing to save him. Once he faintly said, “Yes, yes, it still may be, sinful as I am, I may not be cast out, but how nearly has the door of mercy been shut on me: oh! how great the Saviour's love." His wife said his thoughts seemed much on this subject, for at times she heard him indistinctly utter, in broken sentences, “Yes, for sinners, for me; oh! God is love.” When he saw me, he stretched out his hand, and said, “O! sir, have you brought me more good news?" “Yes, my friend,” I said, " if you continue to loathe sin, feeling by it you offend God, if you cast off every vain thought, all dependence on your own strength, and trust entirely on Christ for pardoning and justifying you, and making you holy, I indeed trust your sins will be forgiven you, and blotted out of the book of remembrance for Christ's sake; but, O! my friend, be ware of presumption; pray for divine grace, and cling with child-like simplicity and earnestness to your Redeemer." I then read him part of the 14th chapter of John; and after commending him to his heavenly Father, I took my leave.
The next day I found him a little stronger, and in a