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THOUGHTS ON RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.
579 Here it may be useful to ask, What benefits have been received by other persons in religious societies? These may rationally be expected by us. If we enquire of them, they will, among others, enumerate such as the following:
I. Reliet when tempted, afflicted, or fallen; arising, 1. From sympathy; which has a natural tendency to alleviate our trouble, and lighten our burdens. 2. From a consideration that (others being led in the same way with ourselves) we are prone to decide on our experience as singular ; but by mutual intercourse with the saints, we find others are tried and exercised as we are. 3. This will be confirming to our mind, as it proves the unity of religion; and will furnish us with a suitable reply to the suggestions of Satan, &c.
II. If the presence of Christ be accounted a benefit, this may be expected; because it is promised, “ Where two or three are met,” &c. - this must include, 1. Support, - 2. Joy, and, 3. Life. “ In the light of this King's countenance is
III. If the increase and establishment of Christ's kingdom be a benefit, this may be expected. 1. From cordial co-operation of the meinbers of such societies; - Q. From their united prayers; 3. From the emanation resulting from the good example of others.
IV. This is the way to obtain spiritual blessings : “ If any two of you shall agree touching any thing that ye shall ask,” &c.
V. Such societies give us some view of the happiness of Heaveri: -- their felicity is not insulated nor single, the plural is ever used: “ They sung a new song;
they cried O Lord, how long,” &c.
VI. If circumspection in our walk be a benefit, this may be expected : for although the habits of holiness, in a believer, result from a principle within ; yet we must have but small acquaintance with the frame of the human mind, not to know tbat the bonds of such societies have strong effects to excite and cherish watchfulness, &c.
VII. Benefits will likewise accrue to the minister who attends such religious associations. How can he speak a word in season to the weary, of whose case he is ignorant! or warn those who are in danger, with whose snares he is unacquainted ! &c. And in the growth of the members of such societies in grace, and in every good word and work, he will, with unfeigned pleasure, discover the blessing of God on his labours. In short, the benefits to be expected are numerous, and of the first magnitude. We have the command of God, and the example of the Saints, to justify our assembling together; and let us ever remember, “ l'hat a tlıree-fold cord is not quickly broken.”
ON THE SORROW NOT TO BE REPENTED OF.
To the Editor. Rev. Sir, Permit me to request you to insert in your' Magazine a truly valuable
Letter of that great man of God, Bishop Hall, to his sister, Mrs. Brinsley, “ On the Sorrow not to be repented of.” As it has afforded me great support and consolation, under the pressure of very painful doubts and fears, I should be glad for it to find a place in your useful Magazine, hoping others may receive much spiritual advantage from
and have cause to bless God that it was printed,
I am, Sir, with great respect,
your obliged humble Servant, H. L.
“ Ir is seldom seen that å silent grief speeds rell ; for either a man must have strong hands of resolution to strangle it in liis bosom, or cse it drives him to some secret mischief: whereas, sorrow revealed is half remedied; and even abates in the uitering. You grief was wisely disclosed; and shall be as strenuously answered. I am glad of your sorrow; and should weep for you, if you did not thus mourn.
Your sorrow is, that you cansiot grieve for your sins. Let me tell you, That the angels themselves sing at this lamentation; - neither doth the earth aitord so sheet mu jc in the cares of God. This heaviness is the way to joy. Worldly sorrow is worthy of pity, because it icadeth to death; but this deserves nothing but envy and congratulation. If those tears were common, llell would net so enlarge itself. Nerer sin, repented of, was pupisheil; and never any thus mourned and repented not. 1.0, you have done that which you grieve you bave not done! ! That good God, whose act is his will, accounts of our will as our deed! If he required sorrow proportionable to the heinonsness of our sins, there were no end of our mourning ! Now ,his inercy regards not so much the measure, as the truth of it; and accounis us to have that which we complain to want. I never knew any ruly penitent, wlio, in the depth of his rémorse, was afraid of sorrowing too much; nor any unrepentant who wished w sorrow morc. Yeil, let me tell you, that this sorrow is belier, and more than that deep leaviness for sin which you desire. Many have been vexed with an extreme remorse for some sit, from the gripes of a galled conscience, which yet never came where true repentance grew; – in „whoin the conscience plays at once the accuser, witness, judge, and tormentor; but an earnest grief for the want of griet, was never found in any but a gracious heart. You are happy,
SORROW NOT TO BE REPENTED OF.
581 and complain. Tell me, I beseech you, this sorrow you mourn to want: is it a grace of the Spirit of God, or not? If not, Why do you sorrow tu want it? If it be, oh, how happy is it to grieve for want of grace! The God of all truth and blesseda ness has said, “ Blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness;' and, with the same breath, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted !" You say, you mourn : Christ saith, “ You are blessed." You say, you mourn: Christ saith, “You shall be comforted!" Either now distrust your Saviour, or else confess your own happiness, and, with patience, expect his promised consolation." What do you fear? ' You see others stand like strong oaks, - unshaken, unremoved. You are but a reed, a feeble plant, tossed and bowed with every wind, and, with much agitation bruised. Lo, you are in tender and favourable hands, that never brake any whom their sins bruised ! -never bruised any whom temptations have bowed. You are but flax; and your best is not a flame, but an obscure smoke of grace. Lo, here his Spirit is as a soft wind, not as cold water; he will kindle, but will never quench you. The sorrow you want is his gift. Take heed, lest while you vex yourself with dislike of the measure, you grudge at the Giver. Beggars may not chuse. This portion he has vouchsafed to give you; if you have any, it was more than he was bound to bestow. Yet you say, What, no more? as if you took it unkindly that he is no more liberal. Even these holy discontentments are dangerous. Desire more (as much as you can) but repine not when you do not attain. Desire, but so as you be free from impatience, free from unthank, fulness. Those that have tried, can say, How difficult it is to complain, with due reservation of thanks. Neither know I which is worse ; – to long for good things impatiently, or not at all to desire them. The fault of your sorrow is rather in your conceit than in itsself; and if indeed you mourn not enough, stay but God's leisure, and your eyes shall run over with tears. How many do you see sport with their sins, yea , brag of them! how many that should die for want of pastime,
if they might not sin freely, and more freely talk of it! What a saint are you to those that can droop under the mes mory of the frailty of youth, and never think you have spent enough of tears! Yet so I encourage you in what you have, as one that persuades you not to desist from suing for more. It is good to be covetous of grace, and to have our desires herein enlarged with our receipts. Weep still, and still desire to weep; but let your tears be as the rain in the sunshine, comfortable and hopeful; and let not your longing savour of murmur or distrust. These tears are reserved, this hunger shall be satisfied, - this sorrow shall be comforted! There is nothing betwixt God and you-but time. Prescribe not to his wisdom,
hasten not his mercy. His grace is enough for you; his glory shall be more than enough! XI.
" - All the world before her where ta
chuse Of women, history says, compa
Her place of rest; and Providence her ratively, very little, In two cases
guide." they have excited notice, — when But she honoured God; and God they have filled elevated stations, honoured her. and when they have discovered sine It would not be necessary, even gular abilities. But such females if the writer of this account had have not always been the most de. the information, to mention the seserving of attention : 'real devot. ries of events by which she was led edness to God, in whatever cir.. to this city; and fixed, by marriage, cunstances it is to be found, is far in the truly hospitable family in superior to the claims of rank or of wbich she died. It is the Christian genius, in the view of him whose he is looking atter, to present to his “ judgment is always according to readers; and that, not to magnify truth.” Dorcas is raised from the a worm, but that we may know dead, not for her birth or her ta- " the grace of our Lord Jesus lents, but because she made gar. Christ!" ments for the pour! “ Beauty is Her religion was very habitual, deceitful, and favour is vain; 'but and unostentatiously devotional : it a woman that feareth the Lord, she spread thro' the whole character, shall be praised !" “ A gracious and produced a beautiful erenness woman retaineth honour!"
and consistency; it discovered itseli " When you come to write of more in effects than words. “While many excellent cliaracters, you many were making the noise, she find,” says a judicious writer, was doing the work." She was not scarcity of materials; their lives re- destitute of a spiritual home : slie semble the services of some in- tound it her duty and her privilege valuable domestics in a family. to belong to a Christian church, Such bear the burden and heat of and to walk in holy communion. the day, and tread the path of duty Unlike those religious vagabonds, , over and over again, with fidelity who rove from place to place, no and care ; but the history of the knowing of a Sabbath-day-morning week is the history of their lives: where to go, or on whose ininistry and, though their lives seem but to impluse a blessing, - she knew the course of a week repeated, yet licr place; and was always found steadily to repeat such weeks ; - to in it. While others sought to gra. persevere through weariness and
tify itching cars, she looked for toil, with the noblest aim ; -o tug solid profit; and her profiting apuppthe hill Difficulty with uniform peared unto all. It would be doing labour, unrefreshed by variety of her an act of injustice not to obroad, or intervals of rest ," - de- serve one trait in her character, mands principles whiclı, if not which singularly appeared. Her highly esteemed among men, are in benevolence will not be denied ; cana reality the inost useful and the most not be questioned. The blessing honourablc. Such was the worthy of numbers, who were more occawoman who forms the subject of sionally or more constantly assisted this short Memoir. She was early by lier, came upon her. Compas. called, by divine grace, under the sion peculiarly falls in with the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Berridge: province, and harmonizes with the early too, she became a sufferer for nature of women, - who are not her adherence to the gospel, being only more susceptible of tender expelled, wholly unprovided for, impression's, by the delicacy of their trom her family by her friends : fraine, than men, but called to pass
* Cecil's Life of Cadejan,
583 through more self-denial and suf- The prescribed limits of such fcring; and are, therefore, better papers as these, oblige the excluprepared for the exercise of sym. sion of many other things which pathy, May some of the young fell from her lips as she was entemales, who belong to the same tering the joy of her Lord. Such religious interest with the deceased, was her dying experience; and is imbibe her generous spirit, and rise not such experience always proved up and supply her lack of service connected with certain sentiments, to the poor!
more or less clearly held, concern. The end of such a course was na- ing the person, the atonement, the turally expected, - many marked righteousness, and the iniercession it:- it was, “ Peace, peace which of our Lord Jesus Christ? Let 115 passeth all understanding !" The hold these fast, and not adopt the interviews of her friends with her nostrums of the day, ull we have were refreshing as well as affecting. seen their effects in their dying adSeen in her, Death looked lively. vocates. Such was her dying exIt pleased God, for some days be- perience; and now the days of her fore her departure, to afford her mourning are ended, and she is beconsiderable ease of body; so that fore the ihrone, and sees him, wliom she fully possessed her mind, and having not seen, she loved, and in attended to every minute circum- whom believing, she rejoiced with stance of propriety. Though much jay unspeakable, and full of glory. disposed to indulge in silent con- “ Let us go away, that we may die templation, she was not backward with” her, to speak while her strength con- Barh.
W.J. tinued. The first time her minister entered the room, after her death appeared certain, she said,
MRS. H CALLAWAY, with peculiar emotion, “ For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come ; and will not tarry.”
(Communicated in a Leiter This was the last passage of Scrip
to the Rev. J. Jefferson, Basingstoke.) ture she heard him explain; and it
On the urth of June I preached seems to have strengthened her
a Sermon on the occasion of Mrs. much against the hour of trial. At Callaway's death, whose husband the same time she uttered, very ex
united with our church in Mr. Sa. pressively,
vage's time; and from which I “ There shall we see his face,
send yoll, by desire, an extract for
the Evangelical Magazine. And never, never sin ! There, from the rivers of his grace,
· Death, bowever awiul in itself, Drink endless pleasures in !'
becomes disarmed of its terrors,
when we can warrantably hope to She frequently repeated,
share in the joyful events of the re. “ My faith would lay her hand
surrection. This truth has been On that dear head of thine ;
demon-trated in the experience of While like a penite, t I stand, thousands. We ourselves have seen And there confess my sin!”
undeniable testimonies of it; and, How often did she connect the among these testimonies, I now word precious with the mention of mention, with satisfaction, the name the Saviour! and when asked, of Mrs. H. Callaway, who died on What she wished to have prayed the 7th of Jurie last, aged thirtyfor? she replied, with energy, five. " That I night kirow him." A “Among those who sustain a re. friend said to her, 'Wliy, this does spectable character with their not seem dying.' She replied, neighbours, in a moral point of 6. Dying is hard work ;'' but added, view, we not unfrequently behold with a smile, “I do not find it so.", the most obstinate prejudices At lengtil, exhausted, and unable to against the humiliating doctrines utter a whole sentence, she moved of the cross, and against the tolher hand, and said,“ Glory, glory!" lowers of Jesus Christ : an observa.