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been much abroad and making many visits," unable to remain in an unholy dissipated state, and seeking God earnestly in prayer.” Whilst waiting at the India House be employed that time “ for which," he says, “ he would have given any thing at Cambridge,” in private ejaculatory prayer, and in repeating passages from the word of God ;-and yet, though he ever aimed at an entire abstraction from the vanities of the world, he hesitated not to allow himself the full enjoyment of rational and refined gratifications:-his observa. tions on this head are all well worth recording : “ Since I have known God in a saving manner," he remarks, “painting, poetry, and music, have had charms unknown to me before I have received what I suppose is a taste for them ; for religion has refined my mind, and made it susceptible of impressions from the sublime and beautiful. O how religion secures the heightened enjoyment of those pleasures which keep so many from God, by their becoming a source of pride.”
Unable at present to discern the cloud which should conduct him on his way, Mr. Martyn resumed his ministerial functions at Cambridge with ardour, but with a heavy heart. The affairs of his family, affecting, as they did, his own destination as well as his sister's happiness, were no light pressure upon his spirits; in any other point of view they would scarcely have raised a sigh, and certainly would not greatly have disturbed his composure. But when “most oppressed,” he was enabled to find comfort in reflecting, that “ even such a condition was infinitely preferable to that of those, whose minds were discontented in the pursuit of dan
The words of the wise man, that “the day of death is better than the day of one's birth,” can apply only to those who practically discern in the light of the Scriptures the great end of their existence. This subject was ever in Mr. Martyn's contemplation; and that he might more closely consider the object for which he was created, he never failed of making a particular commemoration of the anniversary of his birth
"Twenty-three years have elapsed,” (he wrote on the 16th of February, 1804,)“ since I saw the light-only four of which have been professedly given to Godmuch has been left undone-much remains to be done as a Christian and Minister; yet my past experience of the long-suffering of God leaves me do doubt of being carried on all the way. I feel that may heart is wholly for heaven, and the world mainly behind my back. Praised be the Lord for his mercy and patience! The number of my days is fixed in his purpose :-0 may I 'glorify him on earth, and finish the work he has given me to do!" »
In the interval which passed between the months of February and June, he was found actually labouring in the service of his divine Master. He preached animating and awakening discourses : he excited societies of private Christians to watch, quit themselves like men, and be strong ;" he visited many of the poor, the afflicted, and the dying: he warned numbers of the careless and profligate-in a word he did the work of an Evangelist. Often did he redeem time from study, from recreation, and from the intercourse of friends, that, like his Redeemer, he might enter the abodes of misery, either to arouse the unthinking slumberer, or to administer consolation to the dejected penitent. Many an hour did he pass in an hospital or an alms-house--and often after a day of labour and fatigue, when wearied almost to extremity of endurance, he would read and pray with the ser vant who had the care of his rooms, thus making it his meat and drink, his rest as well as his labour, to do the will of his heavenly Father in conformity to the example of Christ :
“ His care was fixed
And hope that reaps not shame.” The delight he experienced on hearing that benefit had resulted from his exertions, proved to him an am. ple recompense for every sacrifice of time, comfort, or convenience; and it was equalled only by the humili
ty with which he received such cheering intelligence. "I was encouraged" (he observes on receiving a communication of this nature) “and refreshed beyond description, and I could only cheerfully and gratefully offer up myself to God's service; but it was at the same time a check to my pride to reflect, that though God might in his Sovereignty bless his word by my mouth, I was not on' that account less sinful in my ministrations."
The incalculable value of habits of self-denial never seems to have been more deeply impressed upon the mind of Mr. Martyn than at this time.“ A despicable indulgence in lying in bed,” he says, "gave me such a view of the softness of my character, that I resolved on my knees, to live a life of more self-denial: the tone and vigour of my mind rose rapidly : all those duties from which I usually shrink, seemed recreations. I collected all the passages from the four Gospels that had any reference to this subject, it is one on which ] need to preach to myself, and mean to preach to others. Whenever I can say “thy will be done,' teach me to do thy will, O God, for thou art my God; it is like throwing ballast out of an air-balloon, my soul ascends immediately, and light and happiness shine around me."-Such was his thirst after this Christian temper! such his enjoyment of its blessedness!
At the beginning of the present year, Mr. Martyn was apprehensive, we have seen, of having bestowed too much time on public duties—too little on those which are private and personal. He was fully persuaded that in order to take heed effectually to his ministry, he must, in obedience to the apostolical injunction, take heed primarily to "himself:' and this in fact was his settled course and practice. He would sometimes set apart seasons for humiliation and prayer, and would frequently spend whole evenings in devotion.-Of the Bible he could ever affirm, “thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.” “The word of Christ dwelt richly in him in all wisdom." Large portions of it did he commit to memory, re
peating them during his solitary walks, at those times when he was not expressly meditating on some Scrip. tural subject, which was his general custom: and so deep was his veneration for the word of God, that when a suspicion arose in his mind, that any other book he might be studying was about to gain an undue influence over his affections, he instantly laid it aside, nor would he resume it till he had felt and realized the paramount excellence of the divine oracles : he could not rest satisfied till all those lesser lights which were beginning to dazzle him, had disappeared before the effulgence of the Scriptures.
How much he loved secret prayer, and how vigi. lantly he engaged in the exercise of it, may be seen in the subjoined remarks of his on that subject :-"I felt the need of setting apart a day for the restoration of my soul by solemn prayer: my views of eternity are become dim and transient--I could live for ever in prayer if I could always speak to God.- I sought to pause and consider what I wanted, and to look up with fear and faith, and I found the benefit, for my soul was soon composed to that devout sobriety, which I knew by its sweetness to be its proper frame.-1 was engaged in prayer in the manner I like, deep seriousness ; at the end of it, I felt great fear of forgetting the presence of God, and of leaving him as soon as I should leave the posture of devotion. I was led through the mists of unbelief, and spake to God as one that was true, and rejoiced exceedingly that he was holy and faithful : I endeavoured to consider myself as being alone on the earth with him, and that greatly promoted my approach to his presence.--My prayer for a meek and holy sobriety was granted : 0 how sweet the dawn of Heaven!"
Nor was Mr. Martyn less diligent and fervent in the yet higher branch of Christian worship—thanksgiving.
-“ Let me praise God,” he would say, for having turned me from a life of wo to the enjoyment of peace and hope. The work is real.-I can no more doubt it than I can doubt my existence : the whole
current of my desires is altered--I am walking quite another way, though I am incessantly stumbling in that way--I had a most blessed view of God and divine things--O how great is his excellency! I find my heart pained for want of words to praise him according to his excellent greatness. I looked forward to complete conformity to him, as the great end of my existence, and my assurance was full-I said almost with tears, who shall separate us from the love of Christ.""
It has been well observed,* that we may judge by our regard for the Sabbath, whether eternity will be forced upon us.
The application of this rule as it respects Mr. Martyn, will discover a singular meetness in him for the inheritance of the saints in light. His Sabbaths were Sabbaths indeed, the antepast often of that rest which is everlasting.
Let us hear his own description of his happiness at some of those sacred times :-“Before setting out to go to Lolworth, I endeavoured to cast away all those contemptible prejudices and dislikes I often have, and on the road experienced a sweet sense of the divine presence, and happy meditation on God and his truths. I was thinking of the love of Christ and his unparalleled humility, and that to him belonged all glory, as having truly merited it. I felt quite devoted to God and assured of his love : I did not doubt of having been apprehended by Christ, (for the purpose, I hope, of preaching his Gospel) and during the service my heart was full of love and joy.”_" At church, this morning, my heart was overflowing with love and joy : during the sermon, which was an exhortation to diligence, a sense of my unprofitableness depressed me. But in my ride to Lolworth I enjoyed sweet delight-every breeze seemed to breathe love into my heart; and while I surveyed the landscape, I looked forward to the days when all nations should come to the mountain of the Lord's House."
By those who forget the history of our Lord's life,
* Adam's Private Thoughits.