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the mind barren and indisposed for prayer and communion with God; and there is a great defect in almost all relative duties. Now, I think, it would be well in class and band-meetings, and in our private intercourse with the people, to question them on such subjects. This would answer a better end than confining ourselves entirely to the state of their minds; for many have a wonderful knack of turning the best side out. If their hearts are a little warmed and comforted at the time, they say they are very happy; but if neglect of duty have brought them under condemnation, too often they conceal it. What a delusion! I contend earnestly for life, power, zeal, and animation, NOW, JUST NOW; but every day's observation convinces me of the necessity of coming to close quarters with our people respecting their general deportment.”
“ Tues. Feb. 22.–Sunday was a blessed day to my soul. I preached at Chinley, Chapel-in-le-Frith, Doveholes, and Buxton, with much satisfaction. Yesterday, I was indulged with close communion with God, and ardent longings after holiness. But in my way to Woodlands to-day, oh! how my gracious Lord enlarged and filled my heart. Particularly, may I never forget that manifestation of God to my soul, with which I was favoured about twelve o'clock this day as I was going up Hope Brink. I could scarcely believe it real at first. I could hardly think it possible that the Lord, holy and righteous, would so favour such a poor unprofitable servant as I. But examining the ground, and perceiving the holy tendency of my present enjoyments, I could not possibly doubt from whence they came. • Who is a God like unto our God?' He blesseth as a God, and as the God of love. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits.
“Wed. 23. Edale.—My soul centres in God. In him I find all I want. He is a soul-satisfying portion. Oh! what inexpressible sweetness do I enjoy in communion with him. I feel that nearness to God is the felicity of his creatures. Every thing seems full of God; and he is my God, through Christ. O may I never more grieve his Holy Spirit.
“March 12.-I feel inexpressible calmness and full repose in Him I love. Yet perceive that I have lost
time to-day by being too much in company.
If I would redeem time, I am convinced that I must not stand upon ceremonies, but be determined, though it may appear rude and unpolite, to spend no more time in company than
appears to be profitable to myself and others. O for yesterdays to come! O Lord God, give me duly to value and improve time. May I live for eternity.
“June 29.- For some days I have perceived in myself increasing deadness to the world, to praise, to self; and what I may term a kind of retirement from the world and the creature, for the sake of enjoying communion with my God. I have been led to see the necessity of a total deadness to the world and all desire to be something, even in the church; and of a continual fear of offending in word. This I have often done ;-chiefly by speaking too much to my intimate friends upon the outward affairs of the church, and also upon indifferent things. I have not to condemn myself for speaking any thing positively evil. But I am much to blame for not improving more the gift of profitable conversation. I am sensible that my heart should always glow with the love of God and man; and from the fulness of my heart, I should so converse that my lips may
feed many." At the Conference, held at Manchester this year, my father and Mr. Morley were re-appointed to the Macclesfield Circuit, and Mr. Needham succeeded Mr. Bunting, who was stationed in London. This year proved to be one of deeper afflictions than my father had ever yet been called to suffer. But he was graciously prepared for them by peculiar manifestations of the grace and power of God. His own words will best shew the nature of his trials, and the influence they exerted upon his prepared mind.
“Mon. Sept. 19. Doveholes.—A memorable day! Glory be to God in the highest! He deals very graciously with his poor servant, unprofitable as I am. Last night I retired to rest in much peace.
Awoke in the night several times, in a devout, spiritual, and comfortable frame. This day my soul is drawn into a closer union with
my God. Words cannot express the familiar intercourse I am indulged with by my gracious Lord. Oh! what condescension to a poor worm.
What a debt
of love do I owe! My soul burns with desire to make due acknowledgments.
“ Nov. 5.-Ebenezer! In the Lord have I righteousness and strength. He is my rock: my soul trusteth in him; and though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Of late it hath pleased the Lord to call me to the exercise of resignation to his will. About three weeks ago, my two eldest children were afflicted with the scarlet fever. They were, however, brought safely through, with little difficulty. When they began to recover, the Lord laid his hand upon me. At first, I apprehended that a very severe fever was coming on. It proved to be the quinsey; a complaint new to me, and exceedingly painful. The fever, loss of sleep, want of sustenance, and pain, brought me very low. In a few days, the ulcers in my throat broke, after which I recovered strength rapidly. I was laid aside from my work ten days. This affliction I account one of the happiest events of my life. It has brought me nearer to my God. In the beginning of my illness, I had so much fever, that I could not think or pray with satisfaction. I examined myself
. I saw nothing in myself to recommend me to God, but much unprofitableness. Yet I could find no guilt, no fear; nor could I view the Lord in any other light than a FRIEND and a FATHER, and I had firm re
As I recovered strength, I was enabled to meditate and pray, and found much nearness to God.
Now, blessed be God, I am fully restored to my usual state of health. My heart is given to him. I feel habitually union and communion with him. He is my all in all. His word and work are sweet. My love to souls is considerably increased. My views of divine things are greatly enlarged; and I think every useful qualification for the work of the ministry is increased. And now, O my God, I renew former engagements to be wholly thine. I present myself, my all, as a living sacrifice, acceptable unto thee through Christ Jesus. O accept me, and may I obtain mercy to be found faithful.
“ Nov. 12.-My heart still cleaveth unto God, as my chief good, my portion, my all. He has indulged me with conscious nearness to himself, and the general frame of my heart has been spiritual and devout. I have been greatly benefited in my own mind while writing for
pose in Jesus.
the Magazine on the subject of Secret Prayer. I see, more than ever, its utility and necessity, and am resolved to 'give myself unto prayer.'
“I have been much affected this week, several times, on account of the work of God. Little good appears to be done, and some professors are declining in religion. O Lord, maintain thine own cause, and let thy right hand and thy holy arm get thee the victory.
“ The present condition of my dear wife calls for the exercise of prayer and faith. She is expecting every day to be confined. On former occasions the Lord has been graciously pleased to help and deliver. In six such troubles he has delivered; I trust he will not forsake her in the seventh. Unto thee, O Lord, do I commit my cause; be thou a very present help in this time of trouble. Amen.
“ Nov. 19.—Ebenezer! Once more have I proved that they who trust in the Lord shall not be confounded. Last Saturday I was exercising faith in the Providence of God. This evening, I am making a memorandum of his kindness; raising a pillar to commemorate his mercy to me. Yesterday morning, about half-past seven o'clock, my seventh son and eighth child was born ; and to-day my dear wife is much better than could be expected. · Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.'
“Now I have six children to educate and train up. O that I may obtain mercy of the Lord to be found faithful. May these little immortals be conducted safely to glory at last: after serving God and their generation, may they be gathered to the general assembly above.”
The son whose birth has just been recorded was the last my dear parents had. He was baptized by the Rev. Melville Horne, Minister of Christ Church, Macclesfield, who had been a Methodist preacher, and was still upon friendly terms with our people.
My dear mother never recovered after her confinement. Although her infant son was sent out to nurse, and all the means which affection or medical skill could devise, were used for her recovery, her health continued gradually to decline, until she fell into a pulmonary consumption, which at length terminated fatally.
Her last illness was long and tedious, but she was
graciously supported. Her mind was stayed upon God, and kept in perfect peace. For some weeks previous to her departure, she furnished a striking proof of the power of saving grace. Being fully saved from sin, perfect love cast out all tormenting fear. The thoughts of death were familiar and pleasing to her mind. She longed to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. Every new symptom of approaching dissolution afforded pleasure, and raised her drooping spirits, which she frequently expressed by a heavenly smile. So completely was she raised above her natural diffidence, that not the least vestige of it appeared. What she expressed to Mr. Morley the last time he saw her was her constant frame for several weeks before her exit. She could scarcely articulate, but said to him, “I am very weak, but my confidence is strong. I am immoveably fixed upon a rock."
Her attachments as a iend, a wife, and a mother, were remarkably strong, constant, and invariable, and were manifested on proper occasions in a way the most endearing. But she so realized invisible and eternal things, that every earthly and natural tie was gently loosed. Her confidence in the over-ruling providence of God was so firm, that her mind was entirely freed from anxiety respecting the six children she was leaving in an evil world, and of the dear infant, who was not quite four months old at the time of her decease, she said to my father in a tone of unwavering confidence, “Samuel is under the special care of providence.” This happy tranquillity of mind is the more remarkable, as she fre. quently had to complain, when in health, of too much care about them; and indeed her tenderness and sensibility were such as rendered it difficult, with her family, to avoid undue solicitude.
On Sunday evening, March the 11th, 1804, while my father was exhorting the society to live for eternity, he was sent for out of the pulpit, as my mother appeared to be dying. He abruptly concluded, and with feelings which may be more readily conceived than described, hastened into the house, which was adjoining to the chapel. He found her in a state of extreme exhaustion, from which, however, she unexpectedly revived ; after some time she requested that her favourite hymn beginning—“And let this feeble body fail,” might be sung.