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compassion for them, he was always solaced and blessed in pleading their cause with God, whose ear is ever open to the cry of benevolent intercession, and who grants to the suppliant, mercy to himself while he asks it for others.
To one of his daughters and her husband he writes, on their marriage, in a strain of most judicious and affectionate counsel :
“ Salisbury Place, March 7, 1817. ..“ My beloved Children, “ The gracious providence of God has united you in a relation singularly tender, honourable, and endearing. I have every reasonable ground to hope that it has been formed under the approbation of Heaven; and I assure myself that it will be your concern to walk suitably to a sense of that favour and approbation. He is your first, best friend. In his favour is life. Seek that favour supremely. Seek his blessing in the closet and in the family. Wherever Abraham pitched his tent, there he reared the family altar. I know the modesty of your minds; but a sense of the Divine majesty and presence will soon swallow up the sense of the presence of others. I cannot conceive an object more lovely and interesting, than two virtuous young persons, with their domestics, surrounding the family altar, and pouring out their hearts to Him who setteth the solitary in families, and has promised to become the God of the families of the whole earth. On the other hand, I never read that awful denunciation but my heart grows cold, -'Pour out thy fury, O God, on the nations that know thee not, and on the families that call not on thy name.' I am convinced that bashfulness, in good and pious minds, prevents young persons from beginning; and that it requires only a little firmness, at first, to overcome that backwardness, and to . introduce an exercise which will be the best delight and
joy of the heart. I greatly desired to meet you on your return from the country, that I might introduce the daily sacrifice. On Monday night I shall be with you.
“ Next to secret and family devotion, as an instrument of advancing true happiness in the soul, is the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures by ourselves, and the faithful application of their contents, for regulating our tempers, and supporting our spirits. In the present estate of man, a large portion of our happiness arises from the culture of our tempers ; and the laws of God, with the matchless life of his Son, are the hallowed means of regulating the moral dispositions of the soul, and of bringing our tempers into a state of nearness to the temper of Jesus. The effect of this sanctity of mind and gentleness of spirit will be a conversation at table and at your fireside, which will profit, purify, and strengthen the soul; while love and tenderness will throw a mild lustre over the whole.
“ It has been found a source of lasting love, in the conjugal state, to shew particular respect and kindness to each other's relations.
“ I need not advert to the mutual and unlimited confidence which each should repose on the other; to the respect which, in the midst of the greatest frankness, they should cherish and maintain towards each other; to the combination of effort to advance each other's solid happiness; to the importance of care and frugality (without contemptible meanness) in managing temporal concerns; and to the value of a condescending and accommodating temper in all things lawful and honourable. In one word, were Christian husbands to love their wives as Christ loveth the church, and wives to be obedient to their own husbands as the church is subject to Christ, every family would be a little nursery for heaven. Such, my dear children, may your family be! and then you yourselves will be happy, and you will gladden our hearts, more than gold and silver, and titles from the throne, could gladden them.
“ Excuse this hurried scrawl. I am just going out as far as Islington. Every promised and purchased blessing be in your cup! Ever and most affectionately your best friend and father."
And to the same daughter:
“ Sabbath forenoon, Dec. 28, 1817. “My dear Daughter, “ Though, in the wise appointment of Heaven, this be a silent, I am desirous that it be not utterly a useless Sabbath. I have been reading the 1st Epistle of St. Peter to your dear mother and Jane, and think it will do me good to scrawl a few lines to you.
“ The Lord has been truly gracious to you, in putting you into the bosom of the man of your choice, whose piety will assist the best affections of your heart, whose character will secure respect to you wherever he is known, and whose unwearied industry will, by the blessing of God, furnish him with the means of supplying all your reasonable wants. It is the delightful anticipation of my heart, that the sacred union of minds will be everlasting. Let the experience you have already had of the care and love of Divine Providence encourage you to hope in the same care and love as to the future. When we pass through the waters, he hath promised that he will be with us, so that the floods may not overflow us. Calm and fixed confidence in his faithfulness will remove the painful agitations of doubt and apprehension, and promote a peaceful serenity of mind, favourable to the patient endurance of every trial, as well as honourable to our faith and hope. This confidence in God will be greatly promoted by reading the deliverances which God hath in former days wrought for his people, and by meditating on the power and faithfulness of Him who hath given us the promise, and who is too great and too good to deceive. By con
stant and very earnest prayer, also, will our trust in God be greatly strengthened and cherished.
“ By the blessing of God on the means which our excellent friend Dr. Darling has used, I feel greatly relieved ; and hope, assuredly, to be able to officiate publicly next Lord's day. Your dear and invaluable mother has had a severely fatiguing week with my cumbersome load of infirmity and corruption, and her kindness to our dear relatives. Indeed, had not her constitution been strong, and her love given to it an impulse beyond its natural vigour, she must long ago have sunk under the pressure. Her reward will be great, and the more so that I myself have been able to pay so small a portion of the debt. It is some comfort that my dear children will supply, to the utmost of their power, my deficiency.
“ The lads are come in from the meeting-house, and have made me glad by their account of the good lecture you have had. Amid the ruins of a broken constitution, what a comfort it is to look forward to that luminous morning, when the Son of God shall change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his own glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
“ Farewell, my beloved girl. The everlasting arms be underneath and around you! With affectionate regards to your husband, I ever am your faithful friend and father.”
“ Brighton, - 1823. “ The scene before me is wonderfully interesting. It is the wide-spread ocean, the waves of which reach to within a few yards of the window. Its murmurs are music to my ears; its curling waves, white as snow, in endless succession roll gently to the beach. There seems to be a dead silence in the place. No idle people on the promenade: all are at church, I hope, listening to the words of
Him who made the sea, and laid the foundation of the adjoining downs; whose Son, the messenger of heavenly mercy, dignified the mountains his right hand had made, with the impress of his feet, and sanctified the breeze that circulates round their base, by making it the conveyance of mercy and love to a fallen world. It grieves me that I cannot be permitted to say a few things on this sacred day to my fellow-men and to the redeemed of the Lord. I think half an hour would do me good.
“I rejoice in the addition which the gracious providence of God has made to your family. By the increase of Christian families, God makes provision for the perpetuity of his church on earth, while he supplies himself with the accustomed means of displaying his fatherly care of our needy and helpless offspring, and thereby strengthens our confidence in his faithful promises, both during life, and in the solemn hour of retiring from the scene. May the promises that God will be the God of our children (which you well know and daily plead) be in richest measure fulfilled in your experience and in theirs ! I shall count the days till I have an opportunity of admitting, by the holy institute of our religion, your dear son to the fellowship of the visible church ; and if my strength advances as it has done since Friday, it will not be long. Plead that promise, ‘I will pour my Spirit on thy seed, and my blessing on thine offspring.' Present such promises with earnestness and holy urgency. It is the want of pith in our prayers that prevents the notice of them by the ear of God, and the answer of them in our experience. We would not plead so coldly for bread and clothing, were we in want of either. We are not duly alive to the value of the boon we crave. Love to Jeane, my tender nurse, and to good Mr. Henderson. He read my few lines to my dear people, I hope, yesterday. I shall write him in a few days. Be sure to ask him if there be any letters he would wish me to give him, in the way of introduction. The powers of my mind are broken, and every purpose