Obrázky stránek

a day at once, and calmly leave the future with God. This is the happiest mode of life, and it is the most profitable.” -Young reader! this specially concerns you. The time spent in building castles in the air is worse than wasted. It begets an unpractical and romantic state of mind. Profit therefore by Mr. Hessel's experience, for this was a dictate of experience, or you will assuredly treasure up material for future regret. Live by plan, but do not employ the seed-time of life in forming visionary schemes.


On the 25th he wrote to his uncle at Howden letter has been so gratifying that I cannot forbear answering it immediately. My health is improved although I am far from well. I am a strange contradiction of strength and weakness—sometimes able to labour as if nothing ailed me, and sometimes incapable of any effort. I thank God however that I am not entirely useless, for I am still preaching both in public and in private that glorious Gospel which is my only consolation and joy.

"Since I last wrote I have stood upon the verge of eternity. God however has once more redeemed my life from the grave. I feel that I have now nothing to do in this world but to labour for the salvation of souls. If I am spared to do this, all needful things will be provided for me. I can praise God for my affliction. I trust it will prove a lasting blessing.

"You will be aware that my religious sentiments have been undergoing some change. In principle I am now a Methodist. If I know my own heart it has been the pure love of truth that has led me to this conclusion. I have experienced the power of those doctrines peculiar to the Wesleyans upon my own soul, and I have seen it exerted upon others, yea upon a whole congregation and neighbourhood, and I am perfectly satisfied. Yes, my dear uncle, my religion now makes me happy; once it did not. You



will read the language of my heart in the 189th hymn in the Wesleyan hymn book:

[ocr errors]

"Now I have found the ground wherein

Sure my soul's anchor may remain ;

The wounds of Jesus, for my sin

Before the world's foundation slain;

Whose mercy shall unshaken stay,

When heaven and earth are fled away."

My engagement with the Trustees terminates at the end of June. What I shall do then I know not, but I feel assured the Lord will guide me. All who live by faith

may say,

"By thine unerring Spirit led,

We shall not in the desert stray;
We shall not full direction need,
Nor miss our providential way;
As far from danger as from fear,

While love, Almighty love, is near.'


"I feel obliged by your kind invitation, but see no probability of coming to Howden at present. I cannot leave my present charge. I believe a sea voyage would do me most good. If I can get a Yorkshire friend to accompany me I intend taking a trip by the lakes to Whitehaven, and thence to the Isle of Man. However, whether we meet again on earth or not, let us meet in heaven. Let us make sure work for eternity, and not stop short of the full possession and enjoyment of that religion which is 'righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' It is a great thing to be 'born again,' to become 'new creatures in Christ Jesus,' and yet without this glorious change we cannot enter heaven."

[ocr errors]

On June 7th he writes in his Journal We are not in much danger of over-rating the importance of prayer; but in great danger of forgetting its almost unbounded power. I am sure I have received innumerable blessings in answer to it. I have no doubt that I might have received ten-fold,

yea a hundred-fold, more. One of the greatest follies of my life has been the neglect of prayer. When I think of the offered good I have spurned, I am overwhelmed with shame."

"Those are likely to gain most knowledge who read a few of the best books and read them well. The thoughts of some men are seminal,-they grow and produce an abundant crop. I have found it advantageous in reading some books, to extract choice sentences. This plan not only fixes good thoughts in the mind, but promotes a habit of deep and intense attention. It is not well to read after the attention is wearied. Such reading will prove injurious." -These extracts, reviewed, as they were, at intervals, familiarized his mind with some of the best thoughts of the best writers. Beyond a doubt he derived great advantage from this habit. It was by the re-perusal, however, quite as much as by the act of writing, that the advantage was secured.

8th. "We cannot attach too much importance to the word of God, whether written or exhibited in preaching. The mind and will of Jehovah is in His word, and by receiving it we receive Himself. Wherever it is believed, it works with almighty power. It gives light, creates purity, and draws all the faculties of our nature towards God. It places before the human soul objects adapted to develope its wonderful capabilities and impart to it life, warmth, sensibility, and happiness. It comes with authority. The believer feels it to be the voice of God, as certainly as he sees a tree or a plant to be the work of God. God is constantly speaking to men by His word; faith hears His voice. The word of God can transform the soul suddenly-in a moment. A single truth falling upon the soul with the brightness of divine illumination will instantly change it from darkness unto light. There is an intimate connection between the belief of God's word and salvation.

The word



He is sure,

'is able to save the soul.' 'It is the power of God unto salvation.' Faith in the word of God must always be attended by immediate effects. Satan has necessarily, therefore, a great antipathy to the revealed volume. It is the grand instrument employed by God for the overthrow of his kingdom. It is truth from the fountain of truth; and, of course, the father of lies must hate it. Wherever it comes with power, it thwarts his malignant designs. therefore, to do all in his power to oppose it. He will be unfavourable to the circulation of the Scriptures. He will do all he can to hinder faithful ministers of the Gospelwill tempt them to be idle, men-pleasers, &c. He will use all his influence to keep men from hearing the Gospel. One of his devices is to raise a prejudice against faithful ministers by calumny and misrepresentation. He will sometimes draw men away from the truth by false teachers. When all other plans fail, he will be present when the Gospel is preached, and use his craft and power to prevent it taking effect."

The subjoined extract is ominous:-16th, "It is only by the most strenuous efforts I can bring myself to the task of putting my thoughts upon paper. I sometimes fear that through indisposition and indolence my mind has lost something of its energy. And yet I do not see any falling off in conversation. Of late a great number of new views upon important subjects have presented themselves, and I feel desirous of having some record of them. But alas, the pen seems to exert some talismanic power, for I no sooner take it up than they are fled. Things to which in the evening gave a clear and luminous expression in conversation, I am utterly unable to commit to writing in the morning."

The expiration of Mr. Hessel's term of agreement with the trustees of the Independent Chapel had now arrived. Such, however, had been the effect of his labours that the

greater part of his hearers were anxious for their continuance. "Before Mr. Hessel came," said a respectable inhabitant to me, "I heard scarcely anything but cursing and swearing as I sat by my fire-side on a Saturday evening, and now I can scarcely go into a house, where they are not either singing Wesley's Hymns, or ready to enter into religious conversation." Believing their desire to be the call of God's providence he consented, and they formed themselves into a Wesleyan congregation. He informed his parents of his purpose in the accompanying letter, dated July 3rd: "I have delayed writing for some time that I might give you an account of the close of my labours at the chapel in Ravenstonedale. I preached my last sermons on Sunday week. The place was crowded in the evening, and many seemed deeply affected. I hope there will be a lasting blessing.

"If my health permits I intend to labour a quarter of a year longer in this neighbourhood in connection with the Methodists. We are about engaging a room, and I hope the people will soon raise a chapel. I have little hope of good being effected at the old Meeting-house, and therefore I feel myself under obligation to do what I can to provide for the people before I leave them. There is now every prospect of spiritual prosperity. I have long been sowing seed, sometimes amid great discouragement, but now I see my labour has not been in vain.

"My health does not improve much, I am still very weak, and cannot bear study. I have had no bleeding lately. In preaching I am wonderfully supported. I am a wonder to myself and to all around me. I have lately had an impression that horse-exercise would be useful. To-day a person has kindly offered me the use of his pony. This is remarkable, for a few days ago I was led to pray that God would find me a horse as I cannot afford to buy one. I expect in a few weeks to take the horse journey through the

« PředchozíPokračovat »