« EdellinenJatka »
ble undertaking, was abundantly overpaid by the sacred satisfaction which attended it, and which at length determined me to consecrate the following discourses to my brethren and companions in the tribulation and patience of Jesus Christ. There was, indeed, another motive that very powerfully influenced me to this determination, and that was, honoured madam, a strong desire to present you with some public acknowledgment of the numerous obligations conferred upon me by your bounty and kindness, through a protracted season of confinement and suffering. From all my neighbours, both near and remote, I received on that occasion many endearing testimonies of sympathy and goodwill, which can never be forgotten—but your attentions were so marked and consolatory, so superabundant and unceasing, as to excite ту
admiration and gratitude to a pitch not easy to be described. May you,
honoured madam, obtain mercy of the Lord in every time of need;
and may he give his angels charge concerning you and your house, to guide and guard you all your happy days!
I now consider myself as entering upon a state of convalescence. How long this state may continue, or to what degree it may proceed, cannot at present be ascertained : nor do I feel any solicitude about the issue, convinced, by late experience, that the Father of mercies hath peculiar comforts in store for his suffering children.
I have not only looked into the valley of the shadow of death, but have been so far led down into its secret depths, and hurried through so many of its formidable passes, as appeared to render a return altogether impossible. Yet the same good hand that directed my downward course, hath at length reconducted me, by slow and imperceptible degrees, to the ground which I this day occupy. And as travellers who return from distant countries, are generally disposed to publish the discoveries they
have made, so I will beg permission to mention here, what I have lately seen and felt in my near approach to the eternal world.
Of the vale of death many terrific representations have been made: but, in opposition to them all, I will venture to assert, that its gloom is not so great, nor its privations so distressing, nor its incommodities so grievous, as common report would make them. The Divine presence is manifested even there, and frequently to a degree rarely witnessed elsewhere—at least, unworthy as I am, it was assuredly so with me, during the long season of my tarrying in it. Amid its dreariest scenes I heard the voice of God, and felt his all-supporting power : his candle shone upon my head, and his abounding grace sustained my feeble spirit. Through all the lengthening way, I seemed to walk close by my Father's side, and leaning on my Father's arm; who ever and anon renewed his gracious promises, and cheered
my soul with tokens of his everlasting love. Thus soothed and thus supported, I passed through unknown paths, from pain to pain, and from point to point, till the world faded from my view, and I lost all desire to visit it again. It was a season much to be remembered, for the rich consolations it afforded, as well as the bright prospects it laid open
to my sight: and still the recollection warms my heart, and wakes in me a holy longing to depart, that I may be for ever with the Lord. But I will shut
all the rest in silence; lest I should seem vaingloriously to make my boast of things, not fitting to be blazoned thus abroad.
Whether I shall ever occupy my pulpit more, is yet uncertain ; though I consider it as scarcely probable. The great Husbandman appears to have excluded me his vineyard, as an unprofitable servant; or rather to have cast me over the wall, as a dry and withered plant. I see and acknowledge my own utter unworthiness. But though my
Lord may have no further need of my insignificant services, yet will I never cease to follow him with my fervent praises, in remembrance of his having borne so long with me, and done so much for me,
every station I have occupied, and under every affliction I have endured.
I am now passing through the latest stage of my pilgrimage upon earth. My sun is speedily going down : but ere it wholly disappear, its parting beams stream sweetly forth upon the face of things, and cover all the horizon with a blaze of glory. My Father's house shines bright before my eyes. Its opening door invites me onward, and fills me with an earnest longing to be safe at home. My richest treasures and my
dearest hopes are all packed up and gone
my whole soul is on the wing to follow after.
You, madam, have in view the same fair prospect, though contemplated now at greater distance. You see it with the