« EdellinenJatka »
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;' and I perceived at the same time, that a sufficiency of grace was offered me to make me altogether like my Lord. Oh! what floods of light and love and peace burst into my soul! Yet I felt no ecstatic joy, but
“The speechless awe that dares not move,
And all the silent heaven of love! When I reached the top of the hill, the sun was setting, and the scattered clouds were gilded by his rays in the most magnificent manner. There was an infinite variety in their forms and colours, some a deep blood-red, others orange, and some a light gold colour. The scene exceeded all description. I stood : I admired : I gazed and wondered at the beauty of the heavens, the work of God's fingers ; and felt inexpressible joy in the persuasion that this God is my God, and will be my guide even unto death.'
“Sun. Sept. 11.–A day of much bodily weakness, much temptation, yet much communion with God. Preached twice at Bradshaw to large congregations with great liberty. It seems the Holy Spirit is at work with many hearts; and Satan is at work also, endeavouring to make divisions among brethren. If he can effect this, the work of God will be much obstructed. O Lord, arise ! let not the enemy triumph. Much pained on on account of these things most of the night. Rode to Halifax in much weakness of body; thought I could scarcely go through the evening's work, but the Lord assisted me, and I had unusual freedom both in preaching and in meeting the society. Laid me down exceedingly fatigued, and in some anxiety respecting Bradshaw.
“ Tues. 13.-Weak and afflicted in body the greatest part of the day, but I enjoyed much peace of mind. Preached twice, and met two country societies. The Lord was pleased kindly to help me.
O how much am I indebted to divine grace daily.
“ Wed. 14.-Much profited to-day, partly in walking into the fields at even-tide to meditate, and partly in reading the Rev. Mr. Robinson's “Scripture Characters.' I think the church and the world are much indebted to him for his labour. The style is so plain and elegant, the sentiments so instructive, ingenious, and pious, that
every one who has a savour of divine things must be edified. He seems purposely to avoid every thing disputable among real Christians.
Frid. 30.—A day of rest,-chiefly spent in the duties of the closet, -reading, meditation, and prayer. I spent one hour in company at tea-time, very profitably to myself, and I hope to the rest of the company, Preached at Southowrām at night; and after a social hour with dear Mr. Pawson and family, went to rest with great composure of mind, and slept as in the arms of God. Oh! what a peaceful state of mind did I enjoy while asleep. Blessed be God.
“Oct. 1. -Arose this morning in a sweet, heavenly frame of mind, calm and unruffled as a summer's eve,' and was preserved all the day in a spirit of devotion.”
We now approach an interesting event in my father's personal history. Much serious consideration and fervent prayer had resulted in a full conviction that a Christian minister's usefulness is greatly promoted by marriage,—at a proper time, and to a suitable person. Having been received into full connexion at the last Conference, and being now in his twenty-fifth year, he thought the time had come when he might properly entertain the thought of marriage; and he became deeply concerned to find a suitable person. Long before this he had taken Prov. iii. 6, as the rule of his life ; and while he felt it to be a privilege to acknowledge God in all his ways, he deemed it more especially so to be guided by his unerring wisdom in a matter of such unspeakable moment as the formation of a connexion for life. He therefore asked counsel of the Lord in frequent and fervent prayer, and resolved to take no step without sufficient reason to believe he was acting agreeably to the divine will.
Without violating any of those rules which filial respect and affection naturally suggest in relation to so delicate a portion of a beloved parent's personal history, by going too minutely into detail, -some extracts from his journal may be given which will serve to shew the simplicity of his intention, the purity of his motives, his conscientious and ardent desire to ascertain and to do the will of God, and the caution and truly Christian spirit with which he proceeded throughout that corres
pondence, which issued in his happy marriage with an amiable, sensible, and deeply pious woman; while at the same time they will furnish evidence that this design, so far from interfering in the slightest degree with his prosecution of the great work to which God had called him, seemed to give increasing intensity to his desire to be useful, and to supply a constant stimulus to selfdenying zeal and activity.
“Mon. Oct. 17, 1791.—My mind has been much engaged with God since I wrote last. For some time I have been led to pray that the Lord, in his providence, would provide me a help-meet, and have frequently for some months past thought of Miss Pawson; but not having much knowledge of her personally, I have thought it imprudent to mention the subject, till I had conversed with her as a friend. Providence, at the time I much desired to see her, yet had no expectation, opened the way. Mr. Pawson was going to York, and asked me to go with him. We dined on Wednesday last at Thorner.
I was much pleased with the modesty and simplicity of his niece ; but kept my thoughts entirely to myself. We went on to Tadcaster, where Mr. Pawson preached in the evening, and afterwards I gave an exhortation and prayed. I hope it was a profitable time to many
The next day we went to York, where we were received by our good friends with much affection. Mr. Pawson preached an excellent sermon in the evening to a large congregation from Heb. xii. 28; and I preached in the morning from 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, with a degree of freedom. Messrs. Pawson, Hodgson, and I went to see the Minster. What a noble structure, far surpasing all the ideas I had ever before formed of any building whatsoever. But God dwelleth not in temples made with hands : an humble and contrite heart is far more acceptable to Him than this fine building. Mr. Hodgson, without knowing of my intentions, of his own mind, recommended Miss Pawson as a proper person for a companion for me. As he very frequently lodged in her father's house last year, I took the opportunity to inquire more particularly concerning her; and from the information Mr. H. gave me, I think she will be an agreeable and spiritual companion.
On Friday we returned to Thorner to dinner. I
preached in the evening with much liberty and warmth. From the observations I made I am perfectly satisfied, that I have a fair providential opening to propose a union with dear Mr. Pawson's family. In our way to Halifax on Saturday I opened my mind to Mr. Pawson, who quite approved of my design.
“ Yesterday (Sunday) I preached three times with unusual liberty, and held a lovefeast at Greetland. It was a blessed time to many. I am quite satisfied respecting the step I have taken, and feel an inexpressible serenity of mind. If it will be for my good and his glory, I hope the Lord will incline the hearts of the parents that way, and likewise give the object of my choice an affection for me. I do enter upon it in the fear of God. Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I only intend thy glory in this matter. And now, Lord, prosper or blast my designs as seemeth best to thine infinite wisdom.
In all my ways thy hand I own,
Thy ruling Providence I see;
And still direct my paths to thee.' In the afternoon, Mr. Pawson, by my desire, wrote to his brother, [Mr. Marmaduke Pawson, of Thorner, near Leeds,] proposing a correspondence with a view to marriage, between me and his daughter. My mind is perfectly serene. Indeed I see so much of the hand of God in it, as entirely satisfies me.
“Sat. 22.–Most of this day has been spent in retirement in preparation for the ensuing Lord's day. To the glory of my gracious God be it recorded, my mind has been all day remarkably serene and peaceful. Since I have thought of proposing marriage to Miss Pawson, my mind has been unusually composed and spiritual. Instead of being hindered by it, I think, upon the whole, I have been more at liberty in my studies and public labours since, than I was before. The Lord knows, I only wish to follow the openings of his providence in this matter; and I can appeal to him, that I am not concerned at all what I may be called to do or suffer, if I may only obtain mercy of him to be found faithful in whatever he shall call me to do.
Frid. Nov. 4.--I have received a letter from Mr.
this as a pro
Pawson, of Thorner, who gives me liberty to visit and converse with his daughter; and if we find a suitable affection upon further knowledge of each other, he has no objection to our marriage. I look upon vidential opening, and therefore, in the fear of God, follow the cloud.
“Sat. night, Nov. 5.—I spent some time this evening in considering what should be the spirit and temper of a Gospel minister. I saw myself very defective, felt much humbled before God, and engaged in a fresh dedication of all I have and am to his service. When I consider the holy, mortified, spiritual temper, and the unwearied, painful laboriousness of a Baxter, Alleine, Henry, Brainerd, Fletcher, I feel confounded before the Lord. Oh! how little have I done for God! How useless have I been in the church and in the world. Lord, have mercy upon me.
I have long cumbered the ground. How strange it is, that I should enjoy any degree of the divine presence in my own mind, and that I should be assisted as I lately have been in preaching, Bless the Lord, O my soul !
Tues. Nov. 8.-I arose this morning in a spiritual frame. A dream I had the preceding night was very profitable, in which I had been, either by way of preaching or meeting the society, shewing that the unity, happiness, and spiritual prosperity of societies, whether families or larger communities, depended in a great measure on every member keeping its proper place and doing its proper work. As in the natural body, if only a finger be out of joint, there can be no ease till it be replaced, so in families or larger communities, if one member do not keep its proper place, &c. it disturbs the repose of the other members. In my dream I enlarged much on this subject; and it left a sweet savour of divine things upon my mind. I spent several hours today in reading Burnet's History of his own Times. They were troublous times indeed. Blessed be God for the civil and religious liberty we enjoy.
“ Frid. 11.–After spending a profitable and comfortable day, and preaching with much freedom, I retired to my poor, damp room at and spent some time with inexpressible delight. After I laid me down 1 I began to meditate on death and eternity. The whistling