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And breathing incense there;
Almost I heard the sound
Of wings upon the air;
Light as the breeze, and clear as light, Her happy spirit took its flight.

Back on that solemn hour
My thoughts are often cast;
Be mine such faith and power
To triumph at the last;
With smiles to meet my latest foe, And die eternal life to know.

I am like Noah’s dove. The world is a dreary waste of waters without anything upon which I can set my foot. My friends are dying, and disappointments common.–Wrote to Mr. B. on the importance of preparing to meet God; and enclosed three sermons on eternity.–Four persons, whom I have visited this week, have passed into eternity. These I have warned, urged, and pointed to Jesus. Of three of them I entertain hope; but Oh! the danger of delay, and the responsibility of visiting sick beds!–I have been much troubled with the inattention and neglect of a servant. This is permitted for the trial of my faith and patience, and my earnest prayer is, that I may secure the good intended. With respect to my inward experience, I have access to God, and can more implicitly pour my wants into the ears of Him, who waits to answer. I now enjoy, through Christ, solid peace. Many precious seasons for want of opportunity to record them pass unnoticed, and some painful exercises, in which I have to sing my deliverer’s praise.

“Sinnington. I have enjoyed sweet communion with my best friend, and in pouring out my soul among my dear relations. Mr. B. has read the little book I sent him, and carries it about with him in his pocket. With me he appears more social; but it is the work of God to change the heart. Still, he is laid upon my mind to remember him before the Lord. My dear uncle, although in apparent health for his years (eighty-one), is increasingly deaf, and almost cut off from intercourse with society, so that he seeks to be alone. In a conversation I had with him, he told me how the Lord blessed him, and how he meditated in the night season. In this place I am secluded from my usual care. Lord help me to improve the opportunity. I can truly say, I long to sink, to rise, and grow in all the image of God.–I felt much in parting with my friends, especially my dear uncle, who said he should perhaps see me no more. I reminded him of our meeting above, and endeavoured to urge upon him a preparation for it.–On reviewing the week, I have endeavoured to walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, and enjoyed union with God, both in private, and at the family altar; but yet I want more uniformity in my walk with God. Mrs. H. accompanied me to see two poor widows; and, inviting some of the neighbours in, we read and conversed, and prayed with them. I felt inclined to go again.–A good class-meeting–after which I went to visit the widows; four more persons came in. My heart was enlarged while I endeavoured to exhort them to flee from the wrath to come, and prayed with them.–I have returned to spend the last hour of the year at home. I feel a prayerful frame, and a determination to give myself and all my powers to God. Though buffeted by the enemy, my heart is fully resolved. I will be Thine,–save me.

Oh! Thou, who dost in secret see
My lifted heart, and bended knee;
While now my soul pours out the prayer, O let it find acceptance there:
Come now, and claim me for Thy own, And make my heart Thy glorious throne.

Twelve o’clock. Another year is gone.”

XVII.

THE MOTHER IN ISRAEL.

“THE HOARY HEAD IS A CROWN OF GLORY, IF IT BE FOUND IN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.”–Prov. xvi. 31.

There are some countenances which even in advanced life are singularly beautiful; lit up with a heavenly lustre which rivals the freshness and bloom of youth. Such was the countenance of my venerated mother, on the eve of threescore years. Her expressive features discovered the rich adornment of her soul. It was the outbeaming of hidden glory within;–the reflection of beauty caught by constant and secret communion with God;–the bright halo of love, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. Though in the middle period of life the subject of frequent and severe attacks of pain in the head, which, for the time, greatly enfeebled her, she had, by the blessing of God upon the use of suitable means in connection with her abstemious habits, overcome the force of disease, and recovered a degree of strength and vigour which was remarkable. Her step was light and active; her gait erect; and as, in consequence of the removal of her children into active life, she was now, to a great extent, freed from domestic duties, she might often be seen in the streets of the city hasting upon her errands of mercy. The care of three classes, two of which were large, together with her numerous engagements in every department of usefulness, which the church opened out to her, furnished her with continual employment, and hence, at this period, her diary is a detail rather of Christian activity than of inward experience.

“1839.–The Covenant-service was a solemn season; yet I did not feel so much sensible comfort as firmness of purpose to consecrate myself to God; seeing how greatly it concerned my interest, and what condescension it implied, on the part of God, to accept of one so unworthy.–Entered upon subscriptions for the new chapel.–Poor Fanny McD. has a second time been severely burnt. I saw her this morning; she was just able to say ‘yes,’ when asked, if she was happy. About twelve she expired. I am thankful I had the opportunity of commending her soul to God. It was good to go to the house of mourning. For ten years I have collected, or given her, the amount of her rent; and for one year provided a woman to wait upon her.–As I was going to Fanny’s funeral, I was accosted by a young woman, who seemed to know me: but of whom I had no recollection, until she told me that she had formerly met with me, but had wandered from God, and was now made willing to return. The next day being my class, I invited her to come. She did so; and said, that as she was going out the day before, she was strongly impressed to pray for a blessing, and thought within herself, ‘Why should I? I am not going to chapel.’ She concluded that our meeting was providential. God grant she may again get into the right way.–A blessed Sabbath to me; it was good at the morning prayer-meeting;–good in the forenoon;–good to visit the house of mourning;–and good to point to Jesus some old women who desired to behold Him.–I have this day surrendered my Sabbath class into the hands of Mrs. H., during her stay in York, having latterly had so little time for reading, and she desires employment.–The perusal of some of my old MS.S. has been the means of rousing my spirit. Save me, O God, from spiritual sloth; I see the danger; may I fear it more than ever, never looking at others, but always looking unto Thee.–The month of my nativity. My obligations to God are twelve months deeper, and myself a bankrupt–dependant upon the bounty of providence, and abased under a sense of my ingratitude, nevertheless my purpose is to live for God alone: my faith strengthens, and I have a little love–

‘Tis but a drop, O might it grow.
And all my happy soul o’erflow!”

“I accompanied my husband to Harrogate, where I now write, having secured a quiet retired spot which just suits me. Help me, Lord, to improve the opportunity which this quietude affords. I can truly say my soul longs for God; yea, for the living God.–Much liberty in family prayer. I was drawn out on behalf of the visitors who were about to leave in the forenoon. The old gentleman seemed affected. Tears came into his eyes when I bade him farewell. He thanked us for all our favours, which could only refer to our presenting him at the throne of grace–a duty we owe to all men. O Lord, help me more faithfully to discharge it!–Went to Goldsbro’; and accompanied Mrs. D. to see a neighbour, who was deeply affected under the sermon the previous Sabbath. Our visit was welcomed, and after a little conversation we got upon our knees, when the Lord was very present. Mrs. W., the person upon whom we called, pressed us much to go again, which we did after tea, before we left the place. She then expressed her confidence in God, and determined to cast in her lot among the people of God.

“Sinnington. I was much pressed in spirit to visit a certain family in the village, and got cousin P. to accompany me. My errand was to urge the parents to seek the Lord. It was a softening time. The Lord opened my mouth, and enlarged my heart. Both the master and mistress wept. Oh! that it may not be as the morning cloud and early dew. I feel hope.

The message of mercy came wrapp’d in disease, Destroying my comfort, and spoiling my ease; Enclosed in the foldings a jewel I found, And a circlet of diamonds encompass’d it round; I eagerly seiz’d it, and read on the seal A name newly graven, I cannot reveal;
But, where it is present, no sorrow can dwell, Affliction is welcome, and all must be well.

“Returning from chapel, I met with a person who was a stranger to saving grace, and invited her into a house, where I was going to see a sick person. There I prayed with them. The woman seemed much affected, and to me it was a season of refreshing. In the afternoon I saw several afflicted people, among whom I was encouraged and humbled, thankful, and almost overwhelmed with the troubles I was made acquainted with. After the evening service, in company with Mrs. R. I visited another woman. There is no hope of her recovery. She is quite ignorant of salvation, but exceedingly desirous of instruction. We had much power in prayer, and reluctantly left her. I determined to go again in the morning, but, before I set off, she sent for me, I found her perfectly sensible, but the hand of death was upon, her. I pointed her to Christ, and, while engaged in prayer, the power of faith was sweetly given. When. asked by her husband if she was happy, she said with emphasis, ‘Yes’.–Another half hour, and the year 1839 is gone for ever! How precious these moments seem! But to the last, my hand, moved by the feelings of my soul, shall write Thy precious name–JESUS!–my Saviour! my God! my all! I now stand on the brink of another important division of time. What it will develope. God only knows; but my firm determination is to live for God. On my knees–surrounded by the unseen Deity–I give myself to Thee,–to reign in, and rule over me for ever. The moment is fled.”

“1840. Saw Mrs. H., whom I found in dying circumstances. She was at class on New Year’s Eve, when I urged her to lay hold upon Christ,–cautioning her not to remain unsaved, and expressing my fears lest she should do so. She appeared much affected, and remained at the bottom of the stairs to kiss me, ere we parted. Little did I think it would be the last time: but such is the frailty of our nature.–At the request of a lady, whom Mrs. R. and I were providentially called to visit, we went to form a class in her house. It was a blessed season, although we had only herself to begin with. [This lady she continued to visit weekly for a considerable time, until death rendered her visits unnecessary.] It is long since I heard from Richard, but the promise has been repeated: ‘Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ So for some days I have been hoping. [Two days after she writes.] Just as we were about to commence family-worship, the postman brought two letters,–one from Richard, and one from Mary Ann. The tidings are affecting, and strongly exhibit the guardian care of Providence.–Without a servant, but in no wise discontent.–I visited Miss Rosetta W., who is declining fast, and has for some time been under considerable depression. The Lord was pleased to remove the cloud. The change was perceptible in her countenance.–A memorable day in consequence of the fire at the west-end of the Cathedral–occasioned, it is supposed, by the carelessness of a workman, who was employed to repair the clock; at least, nothing further has been elicited. The spectacle was awfully grand, and supplied me with an errand to the throne. The burning particles flew over several streets, and descended like flakes of snow. Surely the Providence of God preserved us. Visited a lady, by her own request, who is desirous of salvation. She has attended Mrs. C.’s class since it has been committed to my care.–Called on Mr. W., and looked upon the remains of dear Rosetta, who left this suffering world in triumph, waving her hand, and endeavouring to shout victory, the morning after I saw her last.–While meditating on the 15th chapter of John, the word was conveyed with power to my heart; but I want a constant spirit, never to be weary in the search, of truth. I was led to see how the Saviour’s words, ‘Without me ye can do nothing,’ are often improperly applied, and made an excuse for spiritual sloth; since it is our own fault, if we have not strength, because He has commanded us to abide in Him.–Mrs. C.’s class was met by Mr. E. From this time I suppose I am to be recognized as the leader. In accepting this additional responsibility, I am affected by a sense of my own unfitness for the work, and the honour which the Lord puts upon me; for I look not at second causes, in thus placing me to watch over His people. It is, and may it ever be, a stimulus to seek a closer walk with God, that I may know His will, and act in conformity with it. Walking down High Ousegate about half-past eight in the evening, in company with my daughter, I had my pocket picked of a small silver box, given me by a cousin. I can, and have prayed for the miscreant who did it; but wish to have my box again: I fear this is wrong; it is not like Paul, who suffered the loss of all things without regret.–Several ladies commenced cutting out clothing for the poor. May we be clothed with humility. Our interview was pleasant.–On returning from my band, I found a note from our landlord, giving us notice to quit in six months, in consequence of some proposed buildings in connexion with the railway station. For a moment I was startled, as we hoped our residence was fixed for the term of life; but my mind soon fell into a profitable train of reflection. I thought, ere this term has expired, a higher mandate may be sent to quit my clay tenement, when I must give up my account. My heart feels it is well, and will be well.–This morning I traversed the haunts of the ‘navvies’ to give tracts to as many as I could. It has been my purpose this day to surrender the powers of my body and soul to God; and I have steadily kept it in view. Still, I need the ‘blood of sprinkling’ through which alone I can be accepted.–Finished my month’s visitation to the school. I might have better improved the opportunity; but imperfection characterises all I do.–Had the honour of breakfasting with a few of the Lord’s servants, and was much gratified with the firmness of one, who stood almost alone in an opinion clearly right, respecting a book called _’The Centenary Takings.'”_

“1841.–I had the junior members of my classes to tea, to sew for the poor. Mrs. A. and Mrs. R. came to assist in making our meeting a profitable one.–My mind has been deeply impressed with the solemn occurrences of this day. For some time I have been wont to visit Mrs. B. every Saturday, to converse and pray with her. I found her very ill; and after rubbing her back for some time, to relieve the pain from which she was suffering, I knelt down and prayed with her, being particularly drawn out for a present blessing. When I rose, I pressed upon her the necessity of taking hold of Christ; she replied, ‘I have nothing else.’ Thus I left her, little thinking that I should see her no more; but so it is, for a short time after I had left, she expired.–My dear daughter Mary commenced a class with two members. Mrs. A., Miss B., Mrs. M., and myself, assisted at the commencement. How simple are the unadulterated truths of the Gospel! ‘He was made an offering for sin’ Amazing love! ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise him.’ Bow down, my soul, in humble astonishment and adoration; and see in the cross the malignity of sin, and the majesty of love,

O blessed cross! that points us to the sky, Loosens from earth, that we may soar on high. Thus suffering is our pathway up to bliss, To dwell for ever where our Patron is.
O blessed cross! where Jesus bowed His head, Baptized with precious blood, for sinners shed: Happy are they who keep the words he brought, And bear the cross by their great Pattern taught.”

“Went to Bishopthorpe and saw the Archbishop’s Palace. The grounds are beautiful; and nature, at this season of the year in its splendour, shewed them to advantage. But what a responsible office does he fill! How does his flock thrive? O that he may be able to render his account with joy!–Not without thought and prayer, I set off for Sinnington. All nature smiled around me, and Jesus whispered peace within. My dear uncle bows under the weight of years; cousin looks paler, and more feeble; but I was welcomed as usual.”

EASTER DAY.

The Sun of righteousness appears,
To set in blood no more:
Hail Him! who wipes away your tears, Your rising God adore!

The saints, when He resigned His breath, Unclosed their sleeping eyes;
Behold! he breaks the bands of death, And bids the dead arise.

Alone, the dreadful course He ran,
Alone, the winepress trod;
He died, and suffered as a man;
He rises as a God!

In vain the watch, the stone, the seal Forbid the Conqu’ror rise;
Rising, He breaks the gates of hell, And opens paradise.

“Mrs. R., in band, faithfully told me of my faults, which, by God’s help, I will try to amend. A meeting of Missionary Collectors was held to distribute the books, and to constitute a Ladies’ Association. I left to meet my class. Mrs. C. was elected Treasurer, Mrs. R.W. Secretary, and myself, with all my unfitness, President. However, being on my knees before I went to the meeting, my covenant engagements were brought to my remembrance: ‘Place me where Thou wilt; make me the hand or the foot; a hewer of wood, or a drawer of water.’ Therefore, by God’s help, I am determined to do my best, admonished by another sentiment of Holy writ, ‘Let not him that putteth on the harness boast as he that putteth it off.’–Christmas morn. Rose about four o’clock; a beautiful starlight morning. It seemed to me as if ‘the morning stars sang together for joy’ at the Saviour’s birth. Glory! Glory be to God!

“1842.–Nearly forty present at the sewing meeting. I endeavoured to draw out the sympathies of the ladies present in behalf of those whose welfare we had met to promote.–Under the word the Lord made such a discovery of myself to myself, as completely stripped me of self-confidence, and all hope,–except in the Saviour’s merits, upon which I had power to lay hold. Oh the mercy of God to me, a poor worthless worm! After the prayer-meeting, two of the friends begged me in future to engage occasionally in public prayer. I have not done so latterly, because it is a mighty effort to me. But God forbid that my silence should be a stumbling-block to any. At the morning prayer-meeting, unasked, but not unmoved, I feebly opened my mouth, believing it to be my duty; and was blest in so doing.–This morning I awoke with ‘Give unto the Lord of Thy substance.’ Being about to purchase wearing apparel, I resolved to moderate my expenditure. In this, as in everything else, my heart’s desire is to act in the sight of God. My son, far distant, is daily present with me. I rejoice that he is gone on the Lord’s errand to the dark places of the earth; and find here an additional motive to bring him daily before the Lord, whose he is, and whom he serves. I have been much drawn out in prayer for the Fijian chiefs.–Called upon Mrs. K. at her own request. I had previously met her at a friend’s house; and, in course of conversation, had inquired after her mother, whom I had frequently visited, but of whose state of mind I entertained considerable doubt, believing that she was resting short of sound conversion; and whom indeed, at our last interview, I had warned not to deceive herself. These fears I expressed to Mrs. K. The same evening she saw her mother, and repeated what I had said, with some degree of concern. The next time she called, her mother said, ‘Mary, you must get somebody to pray with me, or I am lost for ever.’ However, being unwell, she went home to bed; but could not sleep, in consequence of what her mother had said: so she rose at five the following morning, and went to see her mother again. She found that she had been in such distress of mind, that at midnight she had aroused a neighbour to pray with her, and not in vain; for the Lord graciously sent ‘deliverance out of Zion,’ and spoke peace to her troubled spirit. She lived about three weeks after my last visit, and died rejoicing in the Lord. These circumstances have so deeply affected Mrs. K. as to lead her to seek the Lord, and she is now pursuing her way to heaven. Glory be to God on high!–In consequence of my uncle’s declining health, I returned again to Sinnington; and am now sat by his side. He is restless, but says nothing. It is the midnight hour; yet ‘He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.’ No sound salutes my ear but the pendulum of the clock, which, with every stroke, admonishes me that time flies.–Alone with uncle. He sleeps. All is tranquillity and peace; my soul is fixed on Christ, and enjoys undisturbed repose. Surrounded by Him, in whom I live, move, and have my being, all nature,–the balmy air,–the rich verdure,–the growing beauties of spring enlivened by the great luminary of heaven, conspires to raise this often wandering heart to Him, whom I desire above all things to love and obey.–I asked uncle if his prospect was bright; he replied, ‘Aye, I’ve no doubt.’–I wonder at myself I make so little progress in knowledge, or increase in holiness. I purpose, aim, attempt, yet daily have cause to mourn my unprofitableness; but with one whose memoir I have lately looked into, ‘I must come the short way to God, through the atoning blood of Jesus.’ His name is precious now. I feel its balmy power. O for ability to praise Him in language adequate to the glorious task! God is love. Creation with its thousand tongues proclaims Him ‘Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God;’ and millions of intelligent creatures extol Him, ‘the Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace’ I have written a letter to be read in the Tuesday class. Visited Mr. M.–My soul goes out after God, and my faith claims Him mine. O what an exalting, and yet humbling thought! Faith unites but love adores.–How quickly time wastes away! I have been here a month to-day; not supposing uncle could live many days. Nothing solid has passed his lips for more than that period; and yet, though certainly weaker, his strength is wonderful. I begin to feel anxious about home, and the dear folks among whom I meet. May the Lord bless them.–My uncle evidently changed for the worse, and so continued for two days, until–on the 21st of June, about five minutes past five, he expired. It is a week to-day since he spoke, and six since he took his bed. I have often been sweetly drawn out in prayer by his bedside, and enjoyed peculiar liberty the day he died. I went again to see Mrs. M., who is also dying, her friends weeping around her.–Returned to York. The sewing meeting was but thinly attended;–chiefly young persons, to whom I felt prompted to speak on their souls’ welfare. The result I leave.”

WHERE IS THE LORD GOD OF ELIJAH?

In the storm, that sweeps along;
Blazing fire, and earthquake strong; In the lightning’s trackless flight;
Gathering cloud, and curtain’d night! In the fragrant passing breeze;
Thunders loud, or raging seas.
Stormy worlds, or gentle flower,
God proclaims His sovereign power. But the still small voice of love
Softly breathing from above,
Speaks in spirit tones within–
‘Jesus suffered for my sin;’
Till my soul–His hallowed shrine– Melts in melody divine.
Let me hear its whisper still;
Melt, and mould me to Thy will.

“‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord’ is my motto this day. I enjoy settled peace, and am striving after the fulness offered in the word of God: ‘Filled with God;’ ‘Sealed with the spirit of Promise;’ ‘Dead to sin.;’ ‘Holy.’–Disturbed in the night by a person who had a quarrel with her other self.–My John occupied the pulpit. At the prayer-meeting after, a person cried aloud for mercy. The Lord spoke peace to her soul on her return home. She could not sleep during the night for praising God. She came to the Thursday class. We were rejoiced to hear her statement.”

XVIII.

LIGHT IN DARKNESS.

“FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT.”–2 Cor. v. 7.

In the wisdom of God, and in harmony with the highest purposes of grace, life is so constructed, as to make man feel his own weakness, and his dependance upon Divine power. The recurrence of seasons of trouble and sorrow, makes a perpetual demand upon our faith. Reason tries in vain to disentangle the intricate dispensations of Providence, and nature sinks under the force of innumerable trials, which, like successive waves beat incessantly upon it. The only resource is faith in God; and when once we grasp the sure promise, ‘all things work together for good to them that love God;’ light springs up in the darkness: and all that comfort, which might arise from a clear discovery of the processes of Providence, is realized in the assurance that all shall be well,–an assurance given by Him who cannot lie, confirmed by an oath, sealed with the blood of Christ, and verified by the experience of God’s people in all ages. It is thus the christian’s privilege to rejoice always, if not in His afflictions which are grievous, yet in the Lord, who ruleth all things well. Mrs. Lyth knew this to be possible, she aimed at it, and though not always with equal success, she walked by ‘faith and not by sight.’

“1843.–I have been privileged to attend the house of God, after an absence of some weeks through affliction; but with grief I confess, that when I first got out to see my daughter, who has also been ill, I neglected the opportunity of social prayer and thanksgiving, that we were again permitted to see each other. My ingratitude stares me in the face. Against Thee, O Lord, against Thee only, have I sinned.–My John is preaching his trial sermon. My husband and servant are hearing him; and I have been alone, praying for him, that he may neither go before, nor stay behind the call of God. I feel the Lord is present, and my heart goes out after Him.–I was called up a little after five to attend upon my daughter-in-law. A beautiful morning. I reproached myself for so often losing the sweet perfume of the morning air. When I arrived the babe was born. So another immortal spirit is added to my family. Praise God, the promise reaches to them all.–Collecting for the missions in one of the poorest districts, we peeped into a comfortless spot, where lived a poor widow with five children. We did not wish to ask for anything, but were obliged to give a reason for our stepping in. The woman said however, that it was a good cause, and she would give us something. This was truly the widow’s mite, and will not pass unrewarded.–As soon as I rose from my bed, these lines were upon my tongue before I was aware–

‘Mercy’s full power, I then shall prove, Lov’d with an everlasting love.’

While repeating them it occurred, this is an answer to prayer last night.–I find it difficult to retain the truths I hear; but, having the law written in my heart, I desire in all things to obey.–The cases of several members of my family press heavily upon my spirit. Eliza continues very weak, and John is in suspense; my only refuge is in taking them to the throne of grace: for it is written, ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee.’–The cloud begins to break, and I feel abased before the Lord, that I should have had so little confidence. My daughter is better, and John has received satisfactory information; so I am confident, that in both cases the Lord is mindful of us. Yesterday, while bowed by my daughter’s bedside, the light broke in upon my soul, and I believe upon her’s too. I felt power to rest upon the Lord, and leave her in His hands: very different from what I have felt before, although I have many times approached the throne, and sometimes caught a glimpse of hope; but this was the broad light of faith.”

“Harrogate. What shall I render unto the Lord for all His mercies towards me? I am living in the enjoyment of peace of mind; desiring more of God; distrustful of myself; grieved that I love God no more, and aiming to do better. O Lord, the power impart.–We returned home greater debtors to the Lord than ever, for the mercies both of the upper and nether springs. My husband welcomed me with the class-book in his hand, which at first, I felt reluctant to take, but found a blessing in taking up the Cross.–When I retired to rest, I thought, if the Lord will condescend to give me some passage from Himself, which is not familiar to me, it will strengthen my faith. My request was granted, and the words ‘As one, whom his mother comforteth,’ occupied my thoughts much of the night, and were first upon my tongue in the morning. I saw my John off by train to Colchester. I feel deeply concerned for his health, and for his spiritual welfare, and for his prosperity in the work in which he is engaged: but if a mother may be heard for her child, (and I believe it,) my poor petitions shall be continually urged at the throne of grace, that he may be all God requires.–A week of toil is past. My husband is under medical advice. I am tried with my servant; my words and actions are misconstrued, but I have been aiming to speak and act as in the sight of God, however imperfectly.–Alone. In two hours the year closes,–a year of unnumbered mercies.”

Backward I turn, and view the stream Of mercy rolling rich and free;
Here, flashing with a silver gleam; There, tinged with hues of mystery.

Through health and sickness, hope and fear; In griefs imagined, never known,
Its current flowed, my heart to cheer; And light upon my pathway shone,

But ah! what poor returns are mine!
How weak my faith! my love, how cold! Yet will I praise Thee, ‘I am Thine,’
Thy faithful promise still I hold:

Distrusting self, I come to Thee,
My vileness in Thy wounds to hide; When foes assail, to Thee I flee,
And in Thy changeless love confide.

Then speed, ye fleeting years, your flight; I will not mourn the period gone;
But hasten to my home in light:
Eventful, rapid years, roll on!

“Eleven o’clock. I desire most unreservedly to surrender myself to the Lord; to be wholly His. Amen.”

“1844. In my walks through the city, I met with the Rev. Thomas Richardson, who, kindly accosting me, inquired after my husband’s health and requested me to tell him, ‘to be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make known his wants and requests unto God.’ He added, ‘I remember what you once said to me, ‘What thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; but the children of this world are wiser than the children of light; and I fear this is sadly neglected;’–with additional kind advice. To my mind it was a word in season, and my heart warmed with the kind admonition.–I went to see Mrs. L., and was much surprised to find her daughter, who is in attendance upon her, lying ill on a bed by the side of her mother’s. After a little conversation with her I prayed, and then turned and spoke a few words to the mother, and again we united in prayer. I asked the young woman if she found it good, and, though scarcely able to speak, she clasped her hands and said, ‘Very–very.’ A little after seven the same evening, she expired, in the bloom of youth.–The President, the Rev. John Scott, and Dr. Newton came to York to advocate the cause of education. A tea was provided. I was one of the Committee, and hoped to have had the opportunity of hearing those honoured servants of the Lord; but ah! we are dust. My dear husband, after rising from dinner, was preparing to go, when he was seized with an attack of paralysis. (This being the second). I immediately sent for medical aid, and the Lord graciously blessed the means, and now, I hope, the stroke is turned aside. So the purpose of meeting our friends was frustrated; but this is for our good. My mind was kept in peace.–Visited Mary R., who is fast sinking,–she said with rapture, ‘Jesus is here, Jesus is here.’ I am since informed, that she has triumphed over her last enemy, waving her hand, and shouting, ‘Glory!’–A very blustering night. Waking a little after three, I rose to pray, and found the watchful Keeper of Israel ready to listen to my early cry. I begged Him, if it pleased Him, to give me sleep, and wake me at five. I laid down, slept, and when I awoke, looked at my watch, which was just five minutes to five. I felt, and still feel my obligations to the Lord, and am resolved to commit myself to His guidance.–My birthday. I awoke a little after three, and arose at half-past four, with these words upon my mind, ‘Who will consecrate his services this day unto the Lord?’ My heart responds, ‘I will.’ Yes, Lord, Thou, who seest the breathing desires of my heart, and only knowest its wanderings, discover to me if there is any secret iniquity lurking there. As far as I know, I am sincere, and would be wholly Thine. My soul is happy. I am Thine. Saw Mrs. N. again. When I entered the room she seemed quite exhausted, but recovering a little said, ‘O, I have had such a deliverance since I saw you! After a severe struggle with the enemy, I could not help saying aloud, Bless the Lord, I can believe without a doubt or fear; I throw myself upon Christ.’ But you will think me better than I am. I have been a poor loiterer. I have not let my light shine as I ought. What did I say?’ ‘I repeated all I could recollect.’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it is all true; give my love to my dear sisters (meaning her classmates), and tell them to make much of their religion. I love them all.’–My mind is solemnly impressed. Death is taking away my friends on all hands. Well, a little while, and we shall see the end. May we be blessed as they are, and as free. Happy am I to learn that Mrs. N., when conversing with her husband, an hour or two before her departure, said, ‘I shall soon be with Christ; go to bed, and I will try to go to sleep.’ She did so, and woke no more, literally falling asleep in Jesus.–I have this morning felt depressed with the thought of being closed up in the earth; surely this is from an enemy, for when death has done its work, what matters where the body is? There is nothing I desire so much as to live and die a Christian. I hold fast the hope through Christ; yet I cannot perceive improvement, although I have at times been much led out in prayer. Last night, while meditating on my state, with earnest prayer for the direct witness of the renewal of my nature, the assurance was given, ‘I have graven thee on the palms of my hands.’ I want not to spend, but to _redeem_ the time with Mrs. D. Called to see Mrs. T., who is very weak in body, but trusting in the Lord. I knelt down to pray, and had not uttered many words before she broke out in prayer and praise, expressive of her firm confidence in the Lord Jesus. It was a melting season. It is encouraging to see the power of grace thus manifested in the midst of pain and weakness, and bearing up the subjects of it.–We met to make fresh arrangements for the Clothing Society, when, much against my own will, I was reappointed Treasurer: but, as it is a cross, I will try to take it up.–Took tea with my daughter. All the preachers and their wives were present. I was both pained and profited,–profited in singing and prayer, and pained whilst endeavouring to defend an absent brother.–Resigned my office in connexion with the sewing-meeting with peace of mind. Yet, on reviewing the three years during which I have held it, I can only say, unprofitable servant; for, although I have endeavoured to please God in the faithful discharge of my duty, my doings have been mixed with much imperfection. Called to see a young woman in the small-pox, who is crying for mercy. I have visited her several times. Her cry continues, mingled with the hope that God will save her. I am sure gratitude ought continually to burn upon the altar of my heart. Even when passing through darkness, light has sprang up to illumine the path; but when I consider my returns, I am filled with humiliation. What shall I do? I will try to do better; Lord, help me, I am Thine.”

I am Thine by purchase great,
Made, redeemed, sustained by Thee; By surrender, now I wait
All Thy pleasure upon me.

“1845. Took tea with Mrs. W., and had the opportunity of urging her husband to seek the salvation of his soul.–My dear Eliza was this morning again made a mother. Another little boy to put in the covenant grant. Just as I write the promise is given, ‘Thy children shall be all taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children.’ So may it be; I desire nothing more. This afternoon I have had a fall, and was miraculously preserved from injury. I record it as an acknowledgment of the kind care which providence has exercised over me. What will be the end of these struggles respecting Maynooth College? Will Romanism or Protestantism prevail?–I saw Mrs. R. three times today; the second she expressed hope in God; the third the power of speech was gone. Awful crisis! Standing on the edge of two worlds! It was a solemn moment. While engaged in prayer I felt access. How needful to be ready!–Near midnight. I have this week been endeavouring ‘to reckon myself dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God.’ My faith is sometimes strong, at others feeble; but my purpose to hold fast the blessing was never more fixed. Thou, who at this moment beholdest the inmost recesses of my heart, and who, by Thy Spirit, givest me inward peace, keep me from this hour; and help me confidently, through the merits of Christ, to confess with my mouth what my heart believes–that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ Thy Son cleanseth me from all sin.’–Again visited Mrs. B. The last time I saw her she wept, and appeared to feel much; but I was afraid she was imagining she had attained what she had not, and resolved to call again at the first opportunity. I found the Lord had been powerfully working on her mind. She felt it such a mercy that the Lord had not cut her off in her sins, that she had wrestled with the Lord until He removed her load of misery, and communicated peace: this is the Lord’s doing.–All is still; only the moan of my afflicted cousin, in her slumbers, falls upon my ear. The clouds of evening are richly tinted as the shadows of night draw on. My soul enjoys sweet tranquillity. Jesus’ merits being the only refuge of my soul. When I asked cousin the state of her mind, she said, ‘Sometimes I have no doubt, at others I am perplexed;’ and then added, with tears, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.'”

Oh! what is life? a passing cloud,
Tinged with a rainbow light;
But let the sun his glory shroud,
Where is the vision bright?

‘Tis past and gone, and in its place, Nought but the cloud appears:
It is the Sun of righteousness
Must gild this vale of tears.

“Fulfilled some errands on the Lord’s account. Passing a spot where a person once a member resided, I called to see how her mind was affected now. She was much pleased, and said the Lord had sent me, as she was wishing to see me, having had her desires after eternal life revived. Some others, to whom I was directed, were equally disposed to unite themselves with the people of God.–Two days ago cousin evidently altered for the worse; she has spoken little, but been remarkably patient, through her protracted affliction. This morning she expressed her confidence in God; and a few minutes after eleven her happy spirit returned to God. We sorrow, but not without hope,–Her remains were conveyed to Sinnington for interment. Past recollections seemed to drink up my spirit; only one survivor–upon the spot–of all those whom long association has endeared to me. We called upon Mr. B.; but ah! how changed! completely paralyzed,–apparently incapable of much impression, and yet, I fear, unsaved! I spoke to him, and also his son, on the necessity of making their peace with God, and then prayed with them; but my mind was afterward pained because I had done the work so inefficiently.–The last fortnight I have several times visited a little boy, sinking in decline. When first I saw him, he appeared quite ignorant of his sinful condition; but divine light has gradually beamed upon his soul. The last time, he expressed a confidence I had not observed before. His mother tells me, she has often heard him engaged in earnest prayer; and once, perceiving him much worse, she said, ‘Bill, thou’s very ill.’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘but I shall soon be _better_.’ When near death, he asked, ‘Do you see who’s come for me?’ she said, ‘No, who is it?’ He answered, ‘Jesus;’ and clasping his hands, said repeatedly, ‘Lord, help me!’ then placing them together, under his head, gently passed away.–While endeavouring to do my Master’s will, I carry my heaven about with me. My soul enjoys peace, with a deep sense of my own nothingness. ‘Christ is all; other refuge have I none.'”

All praise to God, whose sleepless eye, Observed my tender years;
And blessed me with parental love, Parental prayers and tears.

Through every lane of life I trace
His providential care;
In many a time of need, His grace
And guardian hand were there.

His still small voice of love I heard, When in the blush of youth;
I paused, and listened to the word Of everlasting truth.

Resolved I was, and re-resolved,
But many a conflict knew;
Till God, in Christ, my sins absolved, And unbelief o’erthrew.

What shall I render to the Lord?
What can a sinner do?
I’ll rest upon His precious word,
And take His grace anew.

XIX.

THE INWARD MONITOR.

“THE LORD SHALL GUIDE THEE CONTINUALLY.”–Isaiah lviii. 11.

Who, that is conscious of the solemn responsibility of life, and of the perils by which it is beset, but feels the necessity of continual direction? How many emergencies daily arise, in which there is need of wisdom superior to our own? Oh for a Mentor, whose constant presence and unerring counsels might always guide us aright! The aspiration is not in vain. God himself, offers to be the guide of His people. He will put His Spirit in them, who shall abide with them always, and guide them in the way of all truth. But how? Not by some irresistible impulse, which overpowers the action of human will, or by some new revelation, which would render unnecessary the ordinary means of religious instruction; but by the lessons of His holy word, which is brought to the mind in the moment of requirement; for the Holy Spirit brings to our _remembrance_ whatsoever is there revealed for our comfort and instruction. This shows the importance, not only of the constant and diligent study of the Word of God, but of storing the memory, while it is yet fresh and vigorous, with Scripture truth: for it is obvious, _that_ cannot be brought to our remembrance, which was never known. Further, we must ask for direction, committing all our ways to Him; and when He graciously indicates the path of duty, at once obey. He who acts upon these principles will never

‘Full direction need.
Or miss his providential way.’

God will guide him continually, and often, in a manner most wonderful, supply light and counsel, in times of perplexity, or need. Mrs. Lyth had in early life committed to memory large portions of the Word of God; the Bible was the book of her choice–her daily study; and her love for it became more impassioned as life rolled on to its close. Hence, as she was in the habit of prayerfully seeking direction in all her movements, its precious truths were constantly brought to remembrance. Indeed, in some parts of her diary, scarcely a day passes without the record of some scripture thus applied, most commonly as her first morning thought, which furnished profitable reflection for the day.

“1846.–Called to see one I saw on Saturday, but she is no more. Whither is she gone? Pursued my way to visit another sick friend. When I approached her bedside, she said she was very ill in body, and very miserable in mind. After a few words we knelt down. The Lord was graciously pleased to give the spirit of prayer; and faith realized the blessing. She cried out, ‘I am Thine, glory be to God!’ How good it is when God comes down, and melts our frozen nature!–I have commenced reading Matthew Henry’s Commentary; how far I shall live to read, I know not; but I have commenced it with prayer, and by God’s help intend so to continue.–Invited the Clothing Committee to tea. For some days before, I prayed that we might be directed into the love of God. Being, as I believe, the oldest, I ventured to take the lead, and we had a little band-meeting. All spoke and prayed. Afterward I was painfully exercised; but I cast myself, with all my imperfections, upon God.–In visiting the School I felt prompted to speak a few words to the children, and made the attempt. The words impressed upon my mind were ‘Even a child is known by his doings.’–Sought out Mrs. —-, to whom I spoke plainly; also called upon another christian friend, one, who is placed in slippery places in public life;–prayed with them: and now my work is before Thee, wilt Thou be pleased to acknowledge my feeble endeavours to help Thy people on?–I have today been engaged in obtaining Ladies’ signatures to memorialize the Queen for the suppression of houses of ill fame.–A pleasant drive to Harrogate. Came, resolved to give myself to prayer, and have felt it good to draw nigh to God.–While sitting at my work about three o’clock, the thought occurred, ‘Look into the little book lying on the table.’ I did so, and on opening it, read, ‘Rise and pray.’ I was thus reminded of my engagement with a friend, and was thankful for the admonition.–I felt reproved for uttering a matter which, though true, would have been better unsaid. When will my tongue be brought into due subjection?

“Cleethorpes. Much of the day passed upon the terrace. Had a conversation with a Church lady, to whom the Lord enabled me to speak of the things of God; and have since been praying that conviction may fasten upon her conscience.–Was sent for to visit a lady upon a sick bed, with whom I had a free conversation. I have now seen her three or four times, and she seems really in earnest to save her soul. She has known something of the truth for fifteen years; but is much depressed by a nervous affection. I have been led to admire the harmonies and adaptations of nature. Can it be that God should thus provide for man in his fallen condition, and will He forget to provide for His own? Never! Infinite Power, is infinite love.–Called to see a person who is sick, but was disappointed. However, I conversed and prayed with her mother, and afterward went to read to a poor blind woman who is in the way to heaven.–Called to see a person with whom I conversed a few days ago;–heard her groaning in great pain, but did not see her. The daughter, who is also ill and much harassed with attending upon her mother, said, they had now no time for religion, as affliction put every thing else out of their thoughts; yet she admitted its importance. I gave her a few words of counsel, and when I left, told her I should pray for them. She looked at me with surprise, and we parted, probably to meet no more till we meet at the bar of God. Both of them knew something of religion years ago. Lord, save me from trifling.–Left Cleethorpes at six. The Grimsby packet was crowded, and there were many wicked people on board. I was glad when we reached Hull.–Two of my members lie at the point of death; one, above eighty, is perhaps already gone. She has not been able to attend her class for some years, but I have regularly visited her; and often been encouraged while praying with her. A wicked son has been a great trouble to her, and, I am informed, often used her ill. To the last she expressed confidence in God. I have seen her several times since the commencement of this last affliction, which has only been of a week’s duration. Last night she was just entering the valley, and the power of recollection was nearly gone. The other, whom I also saw last night, is aged, and with a happy expression of countenance declared her trust in God, and hope of heaven. Two others that I saw, both above eighty, were joyfully waiting their release.”

Exiled from my Father’s home,
A pilgrim here below;
Looking,–longing, lo! I come
More of Thy love to know.
Let me here, like Mary, sit;
Claim Thee every moment mine;
Willing always to submit,
And lose my will in Thine.

“I retain the earnest desire after full dedication to God, Spared to see the last moments of another year; I am resolved that God shall have my heart. Worthless enough! But the atonement! Here is my hope and consolation. Yes, my all centres here.”

“1847.–A friend came to request me to write to a sister, who is in trouble through bereavement. Never did I so clearly apprehend the responsibility of acting for the Lord. May the attempt be blessed.–Visited the School, and was glad to find that some of the children remembered what I said to them a year ago. This shows the importance of storing the youthful mind with what is worth remembering. I requested them to commit to memory the 23rd Psalm. Six or eight have done so, and repeated it correctly. Addressed and prayed with them. This finishes my month of visitation.–I have to record the merciful interposition of Providence, beyond my expectation, in a matter which has occasioned me much pain. On this account I wish to be thankful. Surely the Lord has heard my prayer. Let this induce me to exercise a firmer reliance upon His promise, being ‘careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, making my requests known unto God.’–In visiting some of the Lord’s people, I think I was directed aright.”

I would, in every footstep, move
To meet the Saviour whom I love.

“Called upon Mrs. W., in dying circumstances. I have seen her twice, and feel encouraged. The world becomes more empty. Christ is all.–Believing it to be my duty, I visited the surviving sons of Mrs. W., to urge them to follow their deceased parent. They seemed to welcome my visit, and invited me to call again.

“Sinnington.–Visited several of the villagers, with an anxious desire that I might be useful to them. Visited my departed friends in the churchyard; I hope to join them soon. On one of the gravestones I read

‘The grave has eloquence, its lectures teach In language louder, than divines can preach.'”

“I was again solicited to take the presidency of the sewing meeting;–a position, which to me appears increasingly important. Want of punctuality, and other evils, are creeping in. Lord, I am Thine, I would do that which is right in Thy sight, teach me; and, by the control of Thy providence, let this organization be placed on the best footing, that it may contribute to Thy glory.–Mrs. Wilson from Fiji, came to spend the day with us before she returned home. How sweet is the cement of prayer! How it knits us to one another! My heart filled when I saw her. I could have wept. She brings pleasing tidings from my son.–After much deliberation we determined to go to Harrogate. I believe it is the right time. While on my knees before the Lord, it was suggested, ‘He shall bless thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and for evermore.’ I felt it was from the Lord, and believed it. We had an agreeable journey, and on our arrival a person accosted us, and asked if we required lodgings. We went with her to look at them, and found them congenial to our wishes. The parties are members of our society: another proof of our heavenly Father’s care.–This evening I had the opportunity of speaking to one of the cavalry gentlemen. He thanked me, and said he would think about it.–A day of severe exercise. I was constrained to go to the throne of grace, where I found help, and was enabled to rise above what otherwise would have grieved me much. The grand secret, I believe, was the giving up my own will. May I ever have power to do it.–In my sleep, the words were continually running in my mind, ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ Only enable me to endure; let Thy righteous will be done.”

Glorious Lord, appear, appear
To Thy feeble follower here;
By Thy grace my heart prepare,
All Thy righteous will to bear.

“The words, ‘I will be with him in trouble,’ have greatly comforted me. Faith makes them mine; glory be to God!–At the sewing meeting I read the first section of Bramwell’s Memoir. During tea I took the opportunity of speaking of the propriety of improving our time while together, admonished as we were by the sudden removal of so many around us; also of the necessity of punctuality in our attendance, that we might not offer a blemished sacrifice. The sequel will show with what effect.–As far as opportunity and strength permitted, I have occupied these two days in visiting my members, and my afflicted friend, Miss Bentley. She knew me, and desired me to pray; but soon fell into a slumber. This was the last time she spoke to me.–Saw her again; about half-past four she died–to live for ever.–It is now the last hour of 1847. I enjoy peace of mind and hunger after righteousness. I long to fill up my time according to the will of God, and if I live, to be more useful than I have ever been.”

Oh! let Thy still small voice
Say to my inmost soul,
‘I am thy God; believe, rejoice,
I make the contrite sinner whole.’ So be it. I am only Thine,
And feel, through Christ, that Thou art mine.

“1848.–A whole week I have been a prisoner, in consequence of a swollen foot; but I am sure it is permitted in love. I see it to be my privilege patiently to submit, and think I feel willing to do so; but there are many intricacies in the human heart, and I see no further than divine light permits.”

Advancing time is slow;
But ah! how swiftly gone!
To mark its flight, and show
How ‘vantage may be won,
Is wisdom only few attain,
But wisdom yielding greatest gain.

“Called to see the Rev. Thomas Walker, and found it good while praying with him. He requested me, whenever I bowed the knee, to remember him. He is daily brought to my recollection.–Memorable day! My Richard’s birthday. How little do we anticipate the events of life! now among cannibals, preaching the everlasting Gospel. Glorious work! Thus highly honoured of the Lord, may he prove faithful. Than this, I can have no greater joy.–Called a third time to see Miss W., who seems to be seeking the Lord in real earnest. I found her reading the Bible, and weeping. Saw her again. She told me how happy she had been all Thursday night; and said she felt as if I had cured both body and soul. Since then she has been very ill, but is still following on to know the Lord. Her Bible seems her greatest treasure. Afterward I had a happy interview with Mrs. Isaac;–declining in body but alive to God. She prayed sweetly.–Helmsley Missionary Meeting. We were hurried from the dinner table to the chapel, which precluded the preparation I like. Friends are so kind in making ample provision for the body, that our souls are in danger of suffering loss in consequence.–Called to see Miss W. Death was painted in her countenance; but she roused up, while I pointed her to the Saviour, and urged her to accept His mercy _now_. After prayer she said, with tears, ‘I do believe in Jesus.’ I read a psalm, to which she listened with deep attention, and then prayed again. When I rose to depart she said, ‘You’ll come again;’ which I purposed to do, but she died the following morning. While at the committee for the distribution of clothing, the Lord blessed me with such a calm serenity of mind, that it was observed by one of my friends. Was it in answer to prayer? It is true, before I left home, my prayer was for a meek and quiet spirit; also the preceding evening, my friend B. and I had unitedly agreed to pray that we might more evidently, in our different spheres, approve ourselves God’s witnesses. Since then I have been endeavouring, but not always with equal success.–Still confined to the house. Rose between six and seven, and found the advantage of prayer. I feel my unprofitableness, but was never more resolved to cleave to my best Friend than now. During the week I have been much drawn out in prayer for the dear people committed to my care. But ah! I have not prayed half enough; for this I feel humbled. O Lord, impress their spiritual welfare more deeply upon my heart.”

“1849.–Here, I dedicate anew
My ransom’d powers to Thee;
A worthless offering, it is true; Yet deign to look on me.

“The Rev. A. Bell called to say he wished Mrs. D. to take my Thursday class, as he wanted female leaders on that side the bridge. Is it my unfaithfulness that will cause these dear people to be taken from me? My dear husband says it is providential, on account of my health. Well, I wait the issue.–Not long ago, a man, who was crushed on the railway, cried out, as his companions were carrying him away upon a hurdle, ‘Stop!’ when asked if they hurt him, he replied, ‘No;’ and pulling his hymn-book out of his bosom, added, ‘I want to sing’–

‘Happy if with my latest breath,
I may but gasp His name;
Preach Him to all, and cry in death, Behold, behold the Lamb.'”

“He was conveyed to a neighbouring inn, and medical aid immediately obtained. The doctor felt his pulse, and shook his head, on which the sufferer inquired how long he should live. ‘Perhaps till twelve,’ was the answer. He then repeated the verse commencing

‘No room for mirth or trifling here,’ &c.

adding, ‘I shall be in heaven before twelve.’ Near that time, he lifted up his hands, and shouting victory, victory, expired.–The practice, which I have for some time adopted, of retiring immediately after breakfast to pray for myself, and those who are associated with me in church fellowship, I find truly profitable.–We set off early in the morning for Gloucester, to visit our son and daughter; and had a pleasant and peaceful journey, far beyond my expectation. A lady, who sat beside me, gave me an account of her conversion to God. The conversation was originated by some tracts, which she carried for distribution. About seven we arrived, and found our children looking out for us. Thus past the last day of my sixty-sixth year–an epitome of my life–continual change.–Returned to York. Mrs. J. accompanied me in search of Rosamond J. We found her in very poor circumstances, with four children, and her husband gone off to seek work. She instantly recognised me, and burst into tears. We prayed with her. After tea I met Mrs. J.’s class. The Lord was with us; several were in tears, conscious of their distance from God. The Lord assisted me in speaking to them, and blessed my own soul.–Death is common. The cholera prevails. May this awful visitation be sanctified to us! I was sent for to see Mrs. P.; she expressed her confidence in God, and this morning died of cholera.–I felt impressed to visit the adjoining neighbours, and having bowed before the Lord, to ask his blessing and help, I went; and, as the Lord enabled me, conversed and prayed with two families. In one of them, the wife, who is much afflicted, pressed me to go again, and her husband seconded the request.–Several circumstances which have occurred in our Society, painful in themselves, have turned out to my benefit, destroying my dependance on man, and pointing me to the Rock which is higher than I. In an unexpected trial I was divinely supported. I went to see —-, and there I met with his friend, to whom I spoke plainly; my heart was pained.–Instead of going to the house of God, I was painfully exercised at home.”

Opprest, I lift my heart to Thee,
Thou soother of my care;
Oh! let Thy ear attentive be,
To this my heartfelt prayer.

Thou seest my heart’s desire, to live Obedient to Thy will;
Help me, to Thee, my all to give,
With love my bosom fill.

“Whate’er in me is wrong remove,
Whate’er is dark illume;
Search, try, and purge me, but in love, Lest Thou Thy dust consume.

To Thee is all my sorrow known,
No secret would I hide;
The enemy his tares hath sown,
Oh! let him not divide.

Thou only canst my burden move,
The woful breach repair;
Oh! send us succour from above,
And hear my instant prayer.

“I am resolved, through grace, to seek a closer walk with God, and sweeter communion by the Holy Ghost. I want constancy, and more faith. I am convinced of my cowardice in not confessing the sanctifying grace of God which I enjoy; and thus insensibly lose sight of it. I desire continually to be led by the Spirit. I went to converse with a neighbour about having family-prayer. The mother is an old Methodist. Saw another person, who is a widow, and in trouble; both heart-touching visits.–In visiting, I met with the son of one of my members, whom I requested to read six verses of scripture every day; got the whole family together, and prayed with them. There was considerable feeling among them.–I am now entered upon the last hour of this eventful year, in which thousands have been swept away by cholera, and many by sudden death; but it has not come nigh me. I began it with the fixed purpose of living to God; but Thou, Lord, knowest how often and wherein I have failed. I feel I can plead nothing but the blood of atonement, to which I come; I want stronger faith, and more love. The unhappy divisions in our Connexion have rather done me good; for I feel a hungering after Bible Christianity, and more of that love which ‘never faileth,’ and which ‘thinketh no evil.'”

XX.

THE STORM.

“THE LORD HATH HIS WAY IN THE WHIRLWIND AND THE STORM, AND THE CLOUDS ARE THE DUST OF HIS FEET.” Nahum i. 3.

The storm, that spreads ruin and devastation in its path, is no less a proof of a wise and overruling Providence than the gentler phenomena of nature, which, with such constant and unvarying regularity, refresh and bless the earth. It cleanses the atmosphere, and sweeps away the poisonous miasmata, which have been engendered during a period of quiescence, and which must, if not removed, prove prejudicial to human life. A similar effect is exerted by those painful dissensions which too often arise in religious communities. God permits them for the purification of His church. What is useless or injurious is swept away; what is good is confirmed; and if unhappily many, that are weak, are injured, it is because they do not seek shelter in Him, who is a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest. During the fierce agitation, which swept as a whirlwind over the Methodist societies in 1849 and 1850, Mrs. Lyth never lost sight of the great purpose of life. She stood faithful and unmoved at her post; and meddled no further with matters of strife than positive duty required. The questions which many loved to discuss, and thought themselves quite competent to settle, were never willingly the topic of her conversation. They were the subjects of her prayers. She retired to her closet; she wept in secret over the breaches of Zion; she sought her refuge from the surrounding excitement in the secret place of the Most High, and hence that, which in itself was a serious evil, became to her a source of personal benefit. Happy would it have been for many, who needlessly exposed themselves to the fury of the storm, if they had been like minded.

“1850.–Several perplexing circumstances have conspired to disturb the quiet of my mind, however, they could only ruffle the surface. Through Christ, I enjoy settled peace.–In the course of discussion in the Leaders’ Meeting I was given to see the amiableness of the meekness of wisdom, which was exhibited by one of our leaders. I came home praying for more of it, feeling greater love for the Lord’s people, and thankful that I am united with them. O what a privilege!–Twenty-seven years since my dear father entered into rest; and I am yet alive, to see and hear of more discord among the professed followers of Jesus than ever I saw. Nevertheless, the ‘Word of God is sure, the Lord knoweth them that are His.’ I praise God my heart is fixed, let others do as they may; yet it is painful to me to see them leaving the people of God. ‘I know in whom I have believed,’ and in Jesus I have peace.

“Copy of a letter written to a member, late of my class:–

“MY DEAR MRS. —-, My heart yearns over you; and, having been your Leader, I feel a responsibility resting upon me, of which I cannot acquit myself, without warning you of the danger, to which you are exposing your own soul, by giving place to a spirit not of love.

“You have been offended; go to the offender, that the breach may be healed; do not make the rent wider. Read carefully and with prayer, our Saviour’s directions in Matt. 18th; and submit yourself at the feet of Jesus, who has said, ‘Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.’

“O my dear friend, an enemy has gained an advantage over you; and on cool reflection you will have cause to mourn. Suffer not this evil to rankle in your breast; but go directly to Jesus for power to forgive, that you may be forgiven.

“My love for your eternal welfare, prompts me thus to write to you, and I remain,

“Your sincere friend, &c.”

“My husband is gone to New Street Chapel, the Trustees having been summoned on the ‘Delegate’ affair. The Lord reigneth.–The past has been a week of painful disunion and insubordination in oar Society. Alas! Yet, through mercy, my peace of mind continues. My resolve to live for Him, who gave himself for me, is more firmly fixed than ever. While sitting under the word, my mind was impressed to go and speak with M.R.; I scarcely indulged the thought, but when I returned home, it still pursued me. I took it to the Lord, and asked for wisdom, courage, and a plain path; and then set forth. My path was made plain, courage was given, and the spirit of meekness and love rested upon me. The word of admonition was kindly received; may it be as a nail fastened by the Master of assemblies.–The adjourned Missionary Meeting was held in the Centenary Chapel, and concluded the annual services. The collection was nearly L10 in excess of last year. Messrs. E. and G. were present. Three cheers, accompanied by the waving of hats, &c., were given by certain persons for the ‘expelled.’ The like I never saw before, nor ever wish to see again.–My son preached in New Street. In his first prayer he was much drawn out. The divine power reached my heart. I felt it truly precious, glory be to God, who in mercy has called my children to spread the savour of his grace. O that the prayer I have often presented for this son, may be answered, that he may be blessed to thousands who may sit under his ministry.–Collected for the Missions. Several refused to give; but a widow increased her subscription from two to ten shillings.

“Harrogate.–A pleasant walk alone; my meditations were sweet. Endeavoured to induce a few to go to the Prayer-meeting, but only prevailed upon four. Called on Mrs. B. Our conversation turned upon the present unhappy divisions. How much are we in danger of getting wrong! O Lord, let me be guided by Thy Spirit, and if I err put me right. In family prayer I was drawn out for each by name. After retiring to rest my little grandson David got up, and came to my bedside to ask me to pray for him. May the Lord make him a man after his own heart; and, if he live, a preacher of righteousness. I dreamt I was taking a long journey, and felt the rolling of rough waters under me, but was fearless. When I awoke, this stanza was on my lips,

‘Where all is assurance and peace,
And sorrow and sin are no more.'”

“My soul is happy.–On leaving for home, I was inwardly moved to pray with the family with which we had lodged. The Spirit of the Lord assisted me.–During the week I have been led out in prayer for my son John, and for the Conference. If the enemy rages, the men of God have access by faith to omnipotent Power, and unerring Wisdom. May each be clothed with humility, and claim the grace they need, that they may be wisely directed.

“Sinnington. When we reached Pickering, we had a very awful storm, accompanied with thunder and lightning. My soul was kept in peace. Some women, who were detained as well as ourselves, seemed much afraid. I was prompted to speak to them on the necessity of preparing to meet God.–Cousin Samuel took me to Whitby. We climbed one hundred and ninety steps to the church, and found many gravestones of little note; but one attracted my attention, as it bore my own and my husband’s names. How soon it will be said over us, ‘Dust to dust,’ I know not; may we be found ready.–Called upon a sick neighbour, but as it was not convenient to see her, I retired into the drawing-room with a friend who was present, to pour out our souls on her behalf.–I have got a new servant, who makes no profession of religion, and feel desirous for her salvation. Yesterday morning on awaking, the words were impressed upon my mind, ‘Let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.’ From this I derive encouragement.–Amid the conflicting elements afloat, our business is to make Christ our pattern and our guide. I am trying to take up my daily cross, and to watch the motions of my mind; but ah! how fitful. I am nothing;–helpless and undone without Christ, my only hope is in his atonement. Precious refuge! Come Lord, come now; I thirst, I long for Thy coming. Now baptize, and overpower me with Thy love. If there is lurking in my soul, any secret and undiscovered evil, tear it away. ‘Show me Thy glory!'”

“185l.–My soul is drawn heavenward. The sewing meeting is much laid upon my mind, that it may improve in spirituality, and that I may fill the post assigned me according to the will of God. I long to spread the savour of Christ among the dear people, and make religion appear more lovely.–Finished my visitation at the ‘School of Industry;’ the children repeated the 104th and 119th Psalms, also the 12th of Romans, and the 22nd of Revelation. I spoke a few words, and prayed with them; giving them a few small books, and one for the library.–A friend brought me her album, requesting me to write in it. I thought prayerfully on the subject, and begged direction of the Lord, not knowing who might look upon it. During my sleeping hours and the following morning, the subject of the last Sabbath’s Sermon (Psalm 1.) was impressed upon my mind with such force and sweetness, and I felt it to be so suitable to my friend, that I determined to insert it. My heart’s desire is, that it may be blessed to all who read it.–As I passed the Centenary Chapel this evening, a gentleman thus accosted me: ‘You don’t know me.’ I answered, ‘No sir.’ He rejoined, ‘I sat in your pew about nine years ago. Mr. Curnock preached about Noah’s Ark; and a word you spoke to me afterward, forcibly impressed my mind. You said, ‘Get into the Ark,’ and now I have got into the Ark.’ I had no remembrance of the circumstance, but am thankful he has got in. To God be all the glory!–Sitting by the fire this evening, I fainted. So graciously does my heavenly Father deal with me, that he blesses and chastens me in _love_; for this, my heart’s desire is to praise Him: I thirst for a deeper baptism, and more intimate communion with Him.”

MY SIXTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY.

Now the evening shadows lengthen,
Nature’s feebleness appears;
Every grace within me strengthen,
To sustain increasing years.

Perfect in me all Thy pleasure,
While I sojourn here below;
Every fruit, in richer measure,
Through my dying Lord bestow.

“By the evening train a family party, consisting of thirteen of us, safely arrived in Searbro’. Five went to the band-meeting, which was very thinly attended. One of the five spoke, having been upwards of fifty years a member. I went to Mr. F.’s class, and though I could not hear what the members said, I heard the leader, who made some very appropriate remarks. When addressing me, he related an anecdote of Rowland Hill, who, going to preach at a village, was requested to visit a good, but poor half-witted man. He went accordingly, and accosted poor Richard with the question, ‘Do you intend to go to heaven?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘don’t you?’ ‘But heaven is a long way off,’ said Mr. Hill. ‘I don’t think so,’ was the reply. ‘Then what do you think?’ ‘I think,’ said the man, ‘it is only three steps.’ ‘Well, Richard, what are they?’ ‘The first step is out of self; the second into Christ; and the third into Glory.’ So Mr. Hill went back, and told his friends that he had been to preach to Richard, but Richard had preached to him.–I ventured to speak to a friend, who sat beside me in the Chapel, about coming to class. To my surprise, she said she had for some time thought of speaking to me on the subject. Surely this was the suggestion of the Spirit. The Crystal Palace has great attractions just now! I hope to see the palace of angels and of God.–Quarterly fast. It was good to be at the prayer-meeting in the morning; better at noon; best of all at night.–After a very restless night, my husband rose very poorly and feeble. I prayed with him before he got up, and now I feel it good to pray _for_ him. About noon he had another attack of paralysis, which lasted about two hours, and at tea time he was seized again. Through mercy, he is better. By looking to the Rock that is higher than I, my mind has been sustained. While kneeling by the bedside of my afflicted husband, I have been blessed, and found that as my day so has been my strength.–My husband and daughter are both better; thanks be to God! I cannot but acknowledge that He afflicts in love.–‘Because I live ye shall live also,’ was a portion in one of my dreams this week. I think of it with pleasure, and believe it will be so; my heart aspires after this inheritance, but not with so much fervour as it ought.–I purpose, God willing, to commence another afternoon class next Tuesday, at three o’clock, for the benefit of some who may find it more convenient: I trust it is with the approval of God, whose blessing I implore.–The dying year has been marked by many blessings to me and mine;–much nearness to my heavenly Father; but it has also seen many wanderings. I have just now been endeavouring to surrender myself freely and fully unto the Lord, whose I am, and whom I desire faithfully to serve. I seem surrounded by His presence. It is now eleven o’clock; but how many will depart before twelve! Happy event to those who are prepared, having built upon Christ! Here rests my hope: ‘Other refuge have I none.’ Glory be to God on high!”

“1852.–Although I have been suffering from cold, the Lord deals very gently with me. Others of my dear family are now under the rod. These things are painful; but looking at them in the light of eternity, I find love is mingled with them all. Oh! that from these dispensations we may derive all the good our heavenly Father designs. We cannot believe He willingly afflicts the children of men, especially His own children, but for our own profit, that we may be made ‘partakers of His holiness.’ I am reading ‘Angel James on Christian Charity.’ with profit.–I am again disappointed of meeting the Lord’s people. Though I am better than I have been, it is not deemed prudent for me to go out. This is taking up my cross, but whether in the right way, Thou knowest. I want in every thing to do right.–When I rose I found it was only five o’clock, but resolved to give myself to prayer. After breakfast I went to see my daughter Mary, whose husband is very ill. My soul was blessed in prayer with him. He requested me to pray earnestly. Lord, help me to pray in faith. While endeavouring to do so I am blest in my own soul.–This is a day of trouble and rebuke. My daughter Eliza is very ill; Mr. Jackson is also worse;–the medical man giving little or no hope respecting him. In such cases, how vain is the help of man! The feelings of my mind are indescribable. O Lord, undertake Thou for us. I feel Thee near to me, be near to my dear family; and, while thus Thou art chastening us, O sanctify the rod.–Mr. Jackson has had a very restless night, and is much weaker, but quite recollected. While I prayed, he responded. I left him a little after eleven; and after calling upon Eliza, went to the School of Industry. Between one and two a messenger came for me to go to Mr. Jackson’s immediately; but before I could arrive, the lamp of life was extinguished. He had ‘found the rest we toil to find.’–A week of painful exercise is past away; but I see not the end. Through mercy I can look to God, and find refuge there. Yesterday when I awoke, it was sweetly suggested, ‘Because I live ye shall live also.’ This raised my drooping spirit; and now I take my pen to acknowledge the loving-kindness of God, manifested to us as a family; even under the most painful events, mercy is mixed in the cup.–The last week–before I reach my seventieth year. Life has passed away as a dream! The pleasing and the painful are both gone! But from the earliest dawn of recollection, the Spirit of God has moved upon my mind. Much love, and much patience, have been shown to me by my heavenly Father; and now, while the sun shines without, I feel the cheering beams of the Sun of righteousness upon my soul.”

Time hastens me on;
It soon will be gone,
And the term of my stay
Grows shorter and shorter, as life wears away.

One thing I desire,
To this I aspire,
To live in His will,
Whose mercy has spared me, and blesses me still.

No merit I boast;
In Him is my trust.
Who gives me a place,
And a lot, with His own, through His infinite grace.

“To-day I attained the term of life allotted to man. Rose a little before six, and resolved to dedicate myself afresh to God. Wrote a few lines, read a little, and performed my customary duties. Worked till dinner, after which I visited three poor widows,–relieved, and prayed with them; then collected subscriptions to assist G.B. Called on Mrs. W., who kindly welcomed me; also Mrs. Isaac, with whom I found it good to engage in prayer. Went to the prayer-meeting, where I endeavoured to give myself unreservedly to God. Remained to the band-meeting, in which the power of God was manifestly revealed. Throughout the day I have enjoyed a calm repose, and a fixed resolve to consecrate my services, so long as I am spared, to the Lord.

“Harrogate.–Returning from Chapel, I observed a number of gentlemen sitting under a tree reading newspapers. On the spur of the moment, I stepped up to them, and said, ‘Gentlemen, perhaps you had better lay aside the papers, and read your bibles to-day.’ One answered very roughly, ‘You go home and say your prayers.’ I turned away, and he continued talking as long as I was within hearing. When I got home my soul was drawn out in prayer that God would have mercy upon them.–Through a continued rain I went to meet the Lord’s people; but singular to relate, though I waited ten minutes, no one came. Just as I was about to return, a stranger came in–desirous of fleeing from the wrath to come. We spent the hour in prayer. My friend found encouragement, but not the power of faith. It was a time to be remembered. My heart yearned over her while, in a low tone–mingled with tears–she poured out her soul before the Lord.”

OLD AGE.

Does no bright star arise to cheer
The Pilgrim’s downward way?
When age and feebleness appear,
And wrapt in cloud, the night draws near, Can nought enfeebled nature cheer,
And save it from dismay?

Jesus, Thy promis’d aid is sure
To all who trust in Thee;
Thy strength in weakness shall assure Frail trembling nature, and secure
The grace in patience to endure,
Till death shall set me free.

“During the last fortnight, two persons–whom I have often visited in former afflictions–have passed away. Now–their knowledge far surpasses mine. I am not at the Lord’s house, as my husband desired me to remain at home with him. Yet ‘I have loved the habitation of Thy house.’ Age brings infirmity; but I see a danger of yielding too much to increasing weakness. Lord, save me from spiritual sloth. While I write, let inward religion be communicated.”

XXI.

THE WIDOW.

“SHE THAT IS A WIDOW INDEED TRUSTETH IN GOD; AND CONTINUETH IN SUPPLICATIONS, AND PRAYERS, NIGHT AND DAY.”–1 Tim. v. 5.

How often does it happen, that when death first enters a family circle, and creates a breach; it is the signal of its speedy dissolution! one falls, then another, and another, until the central point of attraction is removed; and the individuals who are left, are by the force of circumstances, each made to feel themselves the centre of a new circle of interests, which in time will melt away as former ones have done. The occurrence of such an event is to those immediately concerned a season of solemn admonition. The question instinctively arises, who next will fall? and each may put it to his own heart, “Lord, is it I?” The death of Mr. Jackson was the first breach in a family, which by God’s blessing had for many years enjoyed a happy, and undisturbed unity. Twelve months had just elapsed, when Mrs. Lyth was called to mourn the loss of a husband; and _we_ a _father_, whose retiring and unostentatious worth, was best known within the sacred precincts of home. Their union, at first entered into in the fear of God, had been maintained through the chequered scenes of life in uninterrupted peace; years had only more strongly cemented the bonds, by which they were united, and for nearly half a century the vow, “Until death us do part” had been annually renewed. A year or two before death dissolved the contract, it was found necessary to purchase a new wedding ring; and the aged couple, with an affecting simplicity, solemnly repeated the marriage ceremony in token of their unchanged, and unabated attachment: but the hour of separation was at hand.

“1853.–During the last six weeks, many circumstances have occurred for the trial of our faith and patience; which, through grace, I recognize as the appointments of mercy for my benefit. They have led me to rest more simply on Christ by faith, which ‘is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for.’ My soul pants after God. He is my centre, my joy, my crown. Nevertheless, my own unprofitableness would discourage me; therefore, stripped of all, I hang upon Jesus, my Saviour and my all.–Our highly esteemed friend Mr. Whitehead has passed from earth to heaven. Twelve days ago he called upon us, and conversed and prayed sweetly with my husband. Little did I think it would be his farewell visit.–My husband and myself are both invalids. He has had several attacks upon his chest, and much difficulty of breathing. At these times however, his expressions of confidence in God are unwavering. For myself, I want no other refuge, I only want more faith. I would be all the Gospel requires;–willing to live, ready to die, but oh! I see much imperfection.–These words are often running in my mind,–

‘Until he doth the cloud remove
He only chastens whom he loves.'”

“My dear husband is increasingly ill. He told the Rev. Gervase Smith, who called in to see him, that fifty years ago, these words were blessed to him, ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.’ Mr. Bourne visited us in our affliction. My soul truly rejoiced in the Lord, while His servant spake of the things of God, and prayed with us. I am much comforted by my husband’s state of mind. Although this is a painful ordeal, through which I am passing, God is with me, and His grace supports me.–My husband is no better. When Mr. Eastwood inquired the state of his mind, he answered,

‘For ever here my rest shall be.
Close to Thy bleeding side;
This all my hope, and all my plea, For me the Saviour died.'”

“He cast upon me an expressive look–I thought he wanted something, and inquired. He replied, ‘Bless you, bless you.’–Suffered much from oppression on the chest. His medical adviser promised to send him something, which would give him relief. He seemed very desirous of its arrival. In the meantime, we bowed our knees to present our case before God, and to ask His blessing upon the expected remedy; when in a few minutes the oppression, in a great measure, ceased. This was the Lord’s doing, and to Him we heartily ascribe the praise.–The medicine continued the relief.–The Lord wonderfully supports my feeble frame, and I have increasing power to claim the promises made to His people, and by faith discover in them a greater fulness than ever. My friend R. informs me she has seen J.H., who had sent to request me to visit her. She wished to tell me the Lord had blessed her soul. May she be made fully meet for glory.–My husband still continues very ill. Had a distressing night. The enemy assaulted him. My faith seems to have no wings.–Enabled to rise.–I asked him if Christ was precious? He replied, ‘Yes.’ He is apparently near death. Hitherto my mind has been graciously supported though sometimes painfully exercised. He rallied again, and slept calmly for awhile. After tea, the difficulty of breathing returned. The Rev. David Hay came in, and prayed with him; also Mr. Thompson, a little after. It was evident the hand of death was upon him. He could scarcely bear us to speak. Once he said ‘Mary’–perfectly recollected. Mr. Hill asked him, ‘Is Christ precious?’ to which he replied in the affirmative, and shortly after inquired, ‘What o’clock is it?’ The answer was given ‘About ten;’ and at eleven the ‘weary wheels of life stood still,’ and my beloved husband left me to mourn his absence. I sorrow, but not without hope; and hear a whisper in my heart, ‘Thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name.’ My mind is comforted; my resolutions are quickened; but my sense of abasement is great, at the little improvement I have made of such lengthened privileges. ‘Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord.'”

[Her feelings under this painful bereavement were deep,–too deep for expression; but she maintained under it a calm spirit of resignation, which some might have mistaken for indifference. The writer sees her yet, as she stood for some minutes, pale and motionless, leaning on the side of the coffin, just before it was closed; and gazing in the face of the dead. There was no tear; she did not even imprint a kiss on the inanimate clay, for it was but the image of him whom she had loved. Her thoughts were in heaven. At length stroking the face, now insensible to her touch, she said, “Poor John, I shall soon meet you again.”]

“My dear John was consigned to his bed of dust, to wait until the resurrection morn. Mr. Bourne came home with us. His conversation helped to cheer the gloom of parting for a little season. My mind was consoled with the joyful hope of being guided through the wilderness by Him, who so condescends to a worm of earth as to say, ‘Thy Maker is thy Husband.’ Amazing love! I was again permitted to tread the courts of the Lord’s house. Visited J.H. in the afternoon, and spoke plainly to her husband.–Met the dear people, but was far from being satisfied with myself. I want a stronger faith, and more ardent love to the souls of those who are committed to my care. My precious husband has now been fourteen days in the eternal world.”

And can I wish him back,
Again to suffer here?
No! following on the track,
I haste to meet him there.

“My soul goes out after Thee, O God. Thou art my treasure in this vale of tears–my friend, my husband, my God, and my all.–Able to meet both my classes, and felt energy of spirit while urging on the members the necessity of keeping up communion with God; I requested them to give a quarter of an hour every day, to pray for the prosperity of their class, and of their own souls.”

In the midnight of my grief,
Up to Thee, I lift my eye;
Grant, O grant me sweet relief,
Let me feel Thy presence nigh;
Nothing else can succour bring,
Here alone I rest my hope;
To Thy bleeding cross I cling,
Lift the drooping sinner up.

“I changed my residence for one in St. Saviourgate, near the house of God; for this I desire to be thankful, and to dedicate myself to the Lord; having sincerely sought His counsel and direction, I feel satisfied.

“Easingwold. We were much led out in prayer, that the Lord would this day bring some one to seek Him. In the evening three persons came in, one evidently desirous of salvation; may this encourage the efforts of thy handmaid to seek the benefit of the people in this place.–I feel much the absence of my dear departed husband. His memory is dear. O Lord, help me to quicken my steps to meet him in heaven. My body is trembling and feeble; but my soul is vigorous. I have to-day resigned my office of Treasurer to the Clothing Society, which I have held nearly sixteen years.–Six months since my husband entered into rest. He is daily in my thoughts; but I see him not. I do not wish him back again; a little time will bring me to him, and I shall be as _learned_ as he. Time hastens on!–At ten o’clock Mr. C. changed worlds. Solemn hour! All the morning, I know not why, he was strongly impressed upon my mind.–I am alone, all is still, my soul feels after God. This day feed me with the riches of Thy grace, that I may abide in Thee, breathe Thy Spirit, live in Thy smile, and, like Apollos, be ‘approved in Christ.’

“1854.–I would here gratefully record the mercy of God to me. I have been brought low–very low, but the Lord helped me. I felt no condemnation, yet but little sensible comfort. Many promises were constantly passing through my mind. Thus the Lord has been leading me by a path I had not known.–I have not been to the Sanctuary yet, nor would I rest in the means; but I want a clearer manifestation. I see the scriptures hold forth more than I possess; I want to be closer knit to Jesus, that I may bring forth fruit. Have declined the presidency of the sewing meeting.”

[On this resignation a letter, numerously signed by the ladies composing the meeting, was sent to her, acknowledging her services, and regretting that increasing age and infirmities had rendered it necessary. This document is not forthcoming, but the following is her own reply.]

“MY DEAR MRS. HOLGATE,–I sit down to acknowledge with gratitude the kind note you presented me with, signed by so many kind friends, in acknowledgment of my poor services in a cause which lies near my heart. Thankful I am, that from a small beginning in our parlour, about seventeen years ago, this effort for the glorious cause of missions has flourished to this day; and that now so many hearts and hands are engaged in its operations and success. I still feel interested in its prosperity, and if I have one desire above the rest, it is that every one who assists in this good work may not only have her hands employed in it, but her heart enriched by the blessed gospel she wishes to send to heathen lands, and that every effort may have God’s approving smile. I am, &c.”

“I think I never felt more free to leave the world than now; and yet quite willing to wait the Lord’s time, that I may be fully prepared.

“Acomb. Mrs. R. took me to see some sick persons, also some wayside hearers; ‘but who is sufficient for these things?’ Speak Lord, and let them hear Thy voice!–At the prayer-meeting after the service, a backslider was restored to the favour of God; I was knelt by her side, and a holy calm pervaded my heart, when suddenly my soul, as by an electric shock, was filled with confidence in the willingness and power of God to save.–Went to see some of my absent members; and passing by Mrs. O.’s, whose husband died about a fortnight since, I called to inquire after her, and to my surprise and grief, found her in dying circumstances. She died the same evening. I fear for her; yet she used to weep, and for a time seemed in earnest. Have visited her many times in her afflictions.–Calling in at a neighbour’s shop for a trifling article, I learned that the daughter was depressed in mind; I felt a desire to see her, and asked permission, which was granted. After saying what was given me, I prayed with her, feeling sweetly assisted: when we arose from our knees she unburthened her mind, and told me she had ‘grieved the Spirit’ and now, not feeling His strivings, she had ceased to pray, and had given, up all. O that the Lord may bring her out of this snare of the devil!”

Hark, how they strike their harps of gold In yonder world above!
I wonder what its scenes unfold,– For not a thousandth part is told,
Of those bright lands of love,

Not long-ere wonder shall expire,
In sweet fruition lost;
My spirit, borne on wings of fire, Shall mount, and revel, and admire,
With all the heavenly host.

“1855.–A letter reached us from my beloved Richard, bringing tidings of health, both of body and soul, and of his intended removal to Auckland; but holding out little prospect of his return to England, by the words _’if ever.’_ Thus is long cherished hope cut off, when I thought it about to be realized.”

[About the beginning of this year she had a severe attack of bronchitis, and all hope of her recovery seemed cut off. Although able to say little, she maintained a calm and settled confidence in God, and was evidently longing after home. The morning after the crisis was past, the doctor said to her, ‘Well, Mrs. Lyth, I have some hope of you.’ She replied, ‘So have I, but it is the other way.’]

“After a sudden and severe attack of affliction, I would most gratefully acknowledge the merciful care of my heavenly Father, who has not left me, but comforted me by His word and Spirit. My friends also have not forgotten me; I have every comfort during this inclement season. The earth is covered with snow, the cold piercing, and the day gloomy; but mercy folds me in on every side, and my spirit rests on Jesus, my atoning Saviour. While I write, my heart warms and kindles at His love.–I am left alone this eighteenth of February, which, forty-five years ago, was so important. Well, it is written, ‘Thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of hosts is His name.’ and to Him will I plight my vows. Alone, on my knees, I again surrender to Thee my poor heart, and again take the pledge of Thy love. From this time forth may I swerve from Thee no more, but walk my few remaining days with Thee; having the testimony that Enoch had, that I please God. And now I am Thine by solemn ties, in the solemn silence of Thy presence, all praise be unto Thee, who dost thus condescend to Thy dust.–Have just returned from a drive. The air is very sweet, and nature puts forth her loveliness. My soul was led out to Him who has prepared greater things than these for those that love Him. My spirit is revived. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul.’–Riding out yesterday, I called to see my dear friend Isaac, who, like myself, is waiting until her change come;–a touching little interview. She told me while she was praying for me in my affliction, it was impressed upon her mind, ‘My power is unlimited.’ O may it be exerted in my full preparation for eternal glory, to meet my dear friend there. I sometimes get transient glimpses of it. I feel myself a helpless worm, but the name of Jesus is sweet. There is none I desire in comparison of Him. Though I cannot get out I am able to read, and the word of truth is my constant companion.–A beautiful day: the sun shines in splendour, but sin spoils all the beauty. While my eyes are cheered with what I see, my heart is saddened with what I hear. One has fallen into sin,–one I have highly esteemed in time past. What need to put on ‘the whole armour of God,’ and watch!–I felt more vigorous in my classes to-day, and spoke very plainly, for I feel a great love for these souls.

“Thou art, O God, the life and light Of all this wondrous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night, Are but reflections caught from Thee;
Where’er we turn Thy glories shine, And all things fair and bright are Thine.”

“I feel decaying nature; but my soul does not lose its appetite for divine things. In the midst of forgetfulness, and other infirmities, my only centre is in Christ.–As the day was fine, I walked to Heworth in search of an absent member, and after many inquiries, found out her abode; but she was not at home. I got some important information about her. My walk was a most impressive one,–on a lovely road, on either side overhung with foliage–but, being autumn, the way was strewed with withered leaves, while every breeze, though soft, wafted others to the ground in showers;–fit emblem of my own decay! I was much wearied.–The Rev. Robert Young, who has recently been on a deputation to the South Sea Missions, selected Fiji as the topic of his speech at the Missionary Meeting, and gave a very cheering account of my Richard, in the midst of cannibalism. I went into the vestry to speak with him; but was overwhelmed with my feelings. Have been laid aside by affliction; but the Lord has been intimately near. My faith has been strengthened, and I cling more closely to my best Friend. Many blessed promises have been brought to remembrance, which have cheered me, and created sweet peace.–My faith wants to borrow the pinions of the eagle. Lord help me, I am Thine; I dare trust in Thee; unprofitable as I am, Thou art my God.–My thought before I rose this morning was:–

Down life’s declivity,
Borne by the surge,
On to eternity,
Swiftly I urge;
Not without cheering hope,
When I am gone,
Jesus will bear me up,
Straight to His throne.”

1856.–[A few lines written at the commencement of this year, contain the following reference to a circumstance, which, trivial as it was in itself, had nearly occasioned the loss of her sight.]

Time rushes on! Another scene appears! In springtide thought, I stood upon the hearth; “When in a moment, from the crackling flame A piece of burning ore flew in my eye,
And suddenly eclipsed the light of day. But He who opened blind men’s eyes of old, Restored my sight. * * * *

“I am sensible of the want of gratitude for the sight I have; though it is but imperfect, I can, by close attention, read my Bible, which at first was all I desired.–Visited two of my members, each of whom has had a fit, one being deprived of the left hand, and the other of the right;–humbling cause of gratitude that I can use mine.

Youth with all its hopes is past,
And middle life-with care;
Now, in feeble age, I cast
My all on God by prayer.
Exiled yet a little while,
But guided by His eye;
Happy I live beneath His smile,
And happier still–shall die.”

“My meditations this morning have been sweet, on the words, ‘Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.’ I cannot increase God’s glory; but I–a worm–in the hand of my God, become crowned with glory.–My niece Caroline has departed this life. In a lucid moment, one asked, if Christ was precious; she answered, ‘Yes’ It was added, ‘Just such a Saviour as you need?’ ‘Exactly,’ was the reply.–I have given up my own house, and removed to my daughter Eliza’s hoping the blessing of the Lord will attend the change. My mind has, beyond my expectation, been preserved in peace.–Came with my daughter to Haxby, for the benefit of a change. O that Thou wouldst bless my coming to _one_ soul!–Called upon Mrs. S., and was glad to find her desirous of knowing the truth, as also her daughter. I feel peculiarly drawn out in prayer, on behalf of the inhabitants of this village. Oh! that a glorious revival may break out here.–The means of grace are not so plentiful in Haxby as in the city; but here I enjoy the quiet of retirement, and breathe a purer atmosphere. Often the Spirit wafts me on to the better land, and I contemplate with pleasure my everlasting home.”

[Who can tell what shall be on the morrow? But a few weeks elapsed after this visit to Haxby, when her daughter Eliza, whose loving and gentle spirit endeared her to all who knew her, was taken away at a stroke. On the day on which the following entry is dated, she had exhibited an unusual degree of vivacity; and with great confidence borne testimony in the class to the power of the grace of God.]

“A goodly number at the class. In the evening Eliza read to Mrs. C. and myself the interesting adieu of the French Protestant Minister, Adolphe Monod, introduced into the November number of the Methodist Magazine for 1856. We sat down to supper, and mournful to relate! she was seized with a fit of apoplexy, which lasted until nearly three in the morning, when her spirit calmly took its flight. How needful to be ready!–My dear daughter was carried to the cemetery, there to rest until the resurrection morn. While passing through this painful dispensation, I have enjoyed the sweet consolations of the Spirit of God, and been able to recognize mercy mingled with judgment. The same evening my Eliza passed into the skies, my son William was appointed to meet a few of the Lord’s people.–The year heaves its last sigh, as I review the way in which God has led me. Very painful events have occurred. Scenes pleasant, and sad, have passed before me; but around, and over all, mercy has spread a cloud of light; and here will I raise my heart, and say, ‘Hitherto the Lord hath helped me.'”

XXII.

THE LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF EVENING.

“THE DAY GOETH AWAY, FOR THE SHADOWS OF EVENING ARE STRETCHED FORTH.”–Jer. vi. 4.

Have you ever observed the effect produced upon the eye by the rapid decrease of light, which takes place as night draws on, during that season of the year in which the twilight is shortest? For some minutes there appears a rapid succession of light and shade, each succeeding shadow deepening in gloom, until the night sets in. This phenomenon arises from the necessity which the pupil of the eye finds of adapting itself to the diminution of light; and it has hardly done so, before the increasing darkness requires a still further expansion of the visual aperture. Just so in human life, when its brightness has departed, and the night is at hand; there is often a rapid succession of painful occurrences, which fall like shadows upon the soul, and it has continually to adapt itself to its altered circumstances. The eye of faith can scarce keep pace with the demands made upon it, and the effect is a sense of occasional depression, which even the Christian cannot altogether resist. In the last two or three years of her life, Mrs. Lyth experienced what it was to be “in heaviness through manifold temptations;” and although she wore the same happy smile, exhibited the same unwavering, and even triumphant confidence in God, and to all around her, it was evident she was fast ripening for her glorious reward; her diary shows that she was, in some of her solitary hours, subject to momentary depression; which, as she made no allowance for altered circumstances, and increasing infirmities, she was in danger of attributing to a wrong cause. It was not until after the death of her husband that there was any perceptible decline of her physical energies; the “snow of age” fell lightly, so that she still continued for some time to discharge her accustomed duties in the church, until increasing weakness compelled her to relinquish, one by one, her visiting district for the Benevolent Society; her collecting books for various Institutions; the Visitation of the school; the Treasurership of the Poor Clothing Society; the Presidency of the Sewing meeting; and last, and to her the most painful of all–her Class; for like her Lord, having loved her own, which were in the world, she loved them to the end. This unavoidable cessation from her “more abundant” labours, and the life of passive suffering she was now called to endure, perhaps more than anything else, was sometimes a source of painful reflection, and became an occasion of powerful temptation. She could not, however, be inactive; much of her time passed in reading and prayer. Her pen and her knitting-needle were in constant requisition, and a fine day, or a little renewal of strength, often induced her, at the peril of her own health, to visit an unconverted neighbour, or an afflicted friend. The sudden removal of her daughter was acutely felt, and elicited several efforts of her muse, two of which are here given.

“1857.–Gone! gone! gone! The empty chair I see, But ah! no smile, as once, alights on me. In what bright region doth thy spirit rest? Since all are living, thou art surely blest. I ask no more, the veil will soon remove, And I shall come to dwell with thee above.

“Just before I awoke, I dreamed I was reading; and it was written, ‘He will receive thee to Himself, and give unto thee a kingdom.’ It was repeated thrice.”

LONE MUSING.

Doth her spirit hover near!
Doth she ever watch o’er me?
Am I still to her as dear
As when in flesh she cared for me? If she now, with wistful eyes,
Strives, unseen, to draw me higher; Let me wisdom doubly prize,
More and more to heaven aspire.
Lo! the Spirit and the Bride
Lovingly invite me on,–
Seek my wandering heart to guide
To the Father, through the Son.
I will answer to the call;
Thou my portion, I Thy child;
Here in self-abasement fall,
Trusting in Thy mercy mild.

“I am glad to hear that in Haxby the Lord has been giving ‘showers of blessing.’ Mr. McOwan has given twenty-nine notes on trial. I am the Lord’s prisoner; looking up, yet I feel my lonely position.–It was suggested, ‘I am thy salvation.’ I paused and asked, from what? From the world, sin, self, and thy deadly foes. ‘I am thy salvation,’ from all thy inward evils; pride, unbelief, love of the creature, from every thing contrary to love. This salvation is all mine, through Christ, by faith.–Rose a little after six; very feeble; nearly read through the book of Ezra, and saw how God helps the good in times of difficulty. I feel depressed: Lord, help me!–I rode to the Cemetery to see the spot where my Eliza lies. Well, a little while, and I hope to join her among the spirits of the just made perfect. I proceeded from thence to my brother’s in Dove Street.–Have been a week in Dove Street. Through mercy I have been able to rise every morning at six; and while reading Dr. Clarke’s Theology, my spiritual strength has been, renewed. I have enjoyed many blessings from the Lord, and my time has passed pleasantly, but my poor brother is very, very infirm. I have called on several friends in the street, and had the opportunity of praying in two families.–Latterly, during the night season, the enemy has afflicted my mind with painful temptations; but I am not left to myself, the Lord is my helper.–To-day I was much drawn out in prayer for one of my grandsons. Surely the Spirit moved me. After tea, four of my grandsons, and my daughter, bowed with me before the Lord. It was a time to be remembered. The Lord drew near, and I was melted down before Him.–Weak yet pursuing. My daughter Mary unexpectedly read to me the words, ‘Lo! I am with you alway even to the end of the world.’ The truth thrilled through my heart, as a flash of lightning.–Sweet peace. This evening a stranger, brought by E.F., came to converse on spiritual subjects. We prayed together, and the Lord drew near.–Alone; but graciously moved by my heavenly Father to pour out my soul in prayer; I enjoyed sweet access by the Holy Spirit, on behalf of many dear ones. Glory be to God, that to a worm He manifests His presence, and reveals His love. Mary had a note from Richard, informing us of a change of purpose respecting his return to England. Well; if they commit their way unto the Lord, they will not err far. This shall be my prayer for them, while strength is continued.–Awoke by a fit of coughing, I heard as if a voice spoke to me, ‘Union with Jesus gives the power of patience.’ I feel it.–Met the Lord’s people in great weakness, but with great longing for their spiritual health. Miss R. read me a letter from Miss K., informing her of the happy change, which had taken place in her mind. My soul rejoiced to hear the news, particularly as she had been for some time laid upon my mind whenever I approached the throne of grace.”

“1858.–My John spent a few days with us. I have enjoyed his company more than ever before; perhaps I prayed more, that it might be so. I think I feel more deeply the hallowing influence of prayer. My soul feeds on Jesus. Glory be to God for a Saviour.”