Sivut kuvina

of our children required that they, or the greater part of them, should be left in England. We were, consequently, constrained to force ourselves from the loving embrace of three sons and five daughters, the youngest of whom had not completed her fourth year; and shortly after to encounter, a third time, the dangers and difficulties of a voyage of nineteen weeks' duration. I will mention but one or two more trials of the last twenty years; of which, one, and that not a very light one, was the solitariness of our situation, when we at first found ourselves settled amongst an idolatrous people, in a very silent, solitary, though beautiful spot,

The feeling, that we were strangers, in a strange land the inhabitants of which were, in a degree, barbarians to us, and we to them whose language we could neither utter nor understand that we were cut off from the public means of grace, as we had enjoyed them at home-and that there was but one European family, but one family of our own colour, within twelve miles of us, sometimes saddened our hearts, and painfully depressed our spirits. We thought of the many happy and glorious privileges we had enjoyed in the far distant land of our fathers, and of the pleasure we had experienced in joining the great congregation in the sanctuary of our God. We could enter into the Psalmist's feelings, when he said, "My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, to see Thy power and Thy glory, as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.' That river which maketh glad the city of God did not seem to flow here.

But that which has afflicted and tried us most of all, I believe, has been the apparent want of success in our work. To live amongst an idolatrous people, dead in trespasses and sins-to preach to them, and pray for them, and be with them day after day, week after week, and year after year—and yet to see them still careless, and thoughtless, and as apathetic as ever, has been a severe and long-continued trial to us. To see them, especially the young, both boys and girls, evidently improving in manners, and gaining Scriptural knowledge and acquaintance with the way of salvation, and yet apparently without spiritual life or feeling, was for a long time very grievous to us. A more cheerful prospect is now before us; and some of the seed we have sown is beginning to spring up, and we trust a plentiful harvest will be reaped either by us or by our successors. And now, dear sir, though I can safely say that I be lieve our trials have been very few and very light, compared with what most of our brethren in the missionary field have been called to endure; and also light and few, compared with what many, very many, of our Christian brethren at home-travellers in the way to Zion-have been exercised with; yet it will not be difficult for you or your readers to suppose that many have been the seasons in which we have stood greatly in need of support and consolation, and of such, too, as neither the world nor worldly things was able to afford.

And now I come to the main object I had in view when com

mencing this letter, which is, to declare my unmoved, my confirmed conviction, that the blessed word of our God is the best, the surest, the only unfailing source of peace and comfort in seasons of trial and distress. More than twenty years ago, I believed it to be so, from a short experience of it, and when I had known comparatively but little of the rugged road of the wilderness, but few of the conflicts of the Christian, none of the difficulties of the Christian minister, nor of the trials of the missionary; but now I believe it more firmly, and can testify of it more confidently than I could then, because of the lengthened experience I have had of its power; and I can now, without the slightest hesitation, repeat what I then declared, that "I would rather lose every thing I have in the world than be deprived of that peace and joy I have from the Bible."

I have already extended my letter to a length unsuitable to your little periodical; but I am reluctant to lay aside my pen till I have given a few words of advice to a class of your readers which may not be, in point of number, the smallest, namely, the sorrowful and distressed.

But so many and varied are the calamities, troubles, and distresses to which human nature in this sinful world is subject, that I cannot think of entering into particular cases; but this I could say to all who are sorrowful and distressed, from any cause whatever: Look to the Bible for relief. Look to it not as to a charm, but as to a directory. It will direct you to wells of consolation, which neither time nor eternity can exhaust. It will direct you to One who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; who suffered the just for the unjust, that He might reconcile us unto God. It will direct you unto Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and who says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He is able to give you rest: not only the rest which remaineth for the people of God, in heaven, but also rest unto your souls in this life-rest from your sorrows now. Forsake the ways of sin and the world; repent, and turn to him, as your Saviour, and he will receive you,

The Bible will direct you to heaven; teach you now to set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth; teach you to sooth your present griefs, with the hopes of future and perfect happiness; teach you that your light afflictions, which are but for a moment, may be working out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Whatever may be the cause of your grief, the hope that God is your reconciled Father (and such he will be to all who seek reconciliation with him through his Son)that Christ is your Saviour that heaven is your home-that every day brings you nearer to it-and that every affliction helps to fit you for it ought to be sufficient to revive your drooping spirits, and console your aching hearts. "Yes," you may reply, "it would be, if I were a Christian indeed, and if I were able to entertain the hopes you mention." Well, even if you cannot, the Bible is calculated to afford you help and consolation. I do not mean that a

person who has never repented of sin, and never turned to God, through Christ-seeking pardon and reconciliation-is to apply to himself the promises given to the righteous in the Holy Scriptures. But there are promises contained in that holy book for those who cannot look upon themselves as godly-promises to the mourning penitent, to them who are turning to God-promises to the seekers of mercy, grace, and salvation. "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh. From whatever cause your sorrows may arise, if they open your eyes to see the instability and the unsatisfying nature of all worldly comforts and enjoyments, and lead you to seek for those which are spiritual, satisfying, and everlasting, you need not continue in your distress long. The Bible contains a full cup, and it invites you to drink of it freely, without money and without price. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come, ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." You cannot, perhaps, regard yourself as a true believer, as a child of God, now; but may there not be a hope, that the very sorrows and distresses which you are now enduring are the means which a gracious God, who has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but would rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live, is using to convert you to himself? God often sends afflictions, as messengers or servants, to bring his erring children home. What brought the prodigal (Luke xv.) to his right mind, and, ultimately, to his father's arms, his father's house, but affliction and sorrow? Your heavenly Father makes you feel, that whilst you are at a distance from him, you can enjoy no real happiness. He takes away the idols on which you doted, that you may trust in him. He makes you feel that the cisterns of the pleasures of this world are broken cisterns, which can hold no water, that you may come unto him, who is the Fountain of living waters; and if you come, he will receive you, refresh you, and, in due season, cause your hearts to rejoice. Read the Bible with prayer. Beg of God to open your hearts to understand it, and by it to lead you to himself, to apply its saving, sanctifying truths to your heart by his Holy Spirit.

But I must trespass no longer. Adieu, my afflicted, sorrowing brethren. May God graciously make these few hints profitable and cheering to your souls.

And now, my dear sir, I must beg you will excuse the length of this communication, and consider yourself at liberty to omit any thing which you may consider superfluous. And with my sincere desire and prayer, that your little periodicals may be abundantly blessed to all who read them, believe me to remain

Very sincerely yours,


G. C. T.


No. 311.

AUGUST, 1844.


VOL. 26.

Samuel Dale was born on the 15th of January, 1758. He was brought up by his grandfather, who was very kind to him, and took pains to instil into his mind those religious principles which had such an influence upon his character in a later period of his life, when he was brought to the knowledge of Christ. When about twelve years of age, he was bound apprentice to a shoemaker in Framlingham, Suffolk. He afterwards wrought as a journeyman for several years, during which period he fell into bad company, frequented public-houses, and was much addicted to gambling. Having learned from experience the sorrow that arises from such practices, he was, after his conversion, ever ready to warn others of their evil nature; assuring them that the winner is always the loser. He afterwards wrought at Lynn, and some time after at Yarmouth. While at Yarmouth, he enlisted for a soldier for three years. During this time, he was employed by one of the officers to keep his books. When the three years had expired, his colonel wished him to continue in the regiment, and promised him promotion; but he was tired of this sort of life, obtained his discharge, and returned to Framlingham. Here he fell in with his old friends.

About this time, he married a very young woman, and became involved in difficulties. From Framling ham he went to Sholtsham, near Woodbridge, to conduct a business as a shoemaker for an old acquaintance. Here the Lord met with him-opened the eyes of his understanding, and converted his soul.

Now he felt the terrors of a guilty conscience, and the application of God's law to his soul. His distress was so great, that for several months he was in a state of despair, and concluded, that hell must be his portion. At Woodbridge, he heard the Gospel preached; and

there a ray of light from the Sun of Righteousness broke in upon his mind: his burden was in some degree removed, and he found peace in believing. This peace was, however, of short duration: another storm arose, and the burden of sin upon his conscience was at times greater than before, and his soul was wrapt up in midnight darkness. While in this painful state, he read his Bible, with intense desire to know the mind of God. This he found to be a lamp to his feet, and a light to his path.

Now he began to warn some of his neighbours, who were very profligate, to flee from the wrath to come. He read God's word to them, prayed with them, and persuaded them to hear the Gospel. Several of them were turned from sin to holiness, through his instrumentality-from Satan to God--and from the path of death to the path of life.

The course which he now pursued excited the most violent opposition from some of his relatives, who tried, by making his home uncomfortable, to drive him from what they termed his "mad ways;" but which were to him ways of holiness, pleasantness, and peace. But none of these things moved him: his soul rested on the Rock of ages; underneath him were the everlasting arms; his heart was immoveably fixed upon Him who was his Saviour, Guide, and Portion. Jesus was, in his estimation, a pearl not to be lost for trifles. Though others cared not for his soul, he cared for his own. The opposition he met with only quickened his pace heavenward. When his persecutors cursed, he blessed; when they reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but, like his Divine Master, committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.

He prayed earnestly for his persecutors, especially for his partner in life, and he had reason to believe that his prayers for her conversion were answered. When laid on a bed of affliction, she lamented her past conduct, and looked to the cross for salvation; and died, as there was every reason to hope, in Christ Jesus. Within three months, he lost his wife, wife's mother, and eldest

« EdellinenJatka »