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attached to Jesus. You are young; but, alas ! you see the Lord makes no distinction. He calls the young as well as the old to render their account, and to appear before him. “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.'
“ Long before it was light, on the day of his death, he sent for his friend, wishing to say something more on the benefit he had derived from the affliction with which he had been tried; after this, he heard with great attention some chapters read from the New Testament. He had not for a long time closed his eyes, in consequence of his sufferings; but now, looking forward with faith to the repose of the grave which awaited his body, while his soul dwelt with delight on the glory to be revealed on its release from earthly troubles, he burst forth into a rapturous prayer, beginning, · Morning star from on high! brilliant star of day! raise thyself up-come to enlighten me!' This supplication was remarkable for the scriptural views it contained of the salvation of mankind by the blood of Christ.”
The last struggle of nature cannot be described better than in the words of M. Soulier :
“ In the morning he prayed often, but in a much lower, or more feeble voice. I heard, at one time, these words, . It has pleased thee to prolong my trial, in not granting me sleep; thy holy name be blessed! Oh! it is, doubtless, to purify my body and soul that thou doest so; this is clearly revealed in thy Word.' You cannot sleep,' said I to him, having observed his anxious desire for some time to find
shall find spiritual repose on the bosom of the Saviour, and fall asleep in his arms.
O yes,' said he, that is my hope.' Having requested a draught of the freshest water, I said to him, “In a little you will satisfy your thirst at the fountain of living waters.” “Oh! yes,' said he in reply, 'those are the truly good waters—these only refresk the body; but those of heaven which flow from Jesus the Fountain of living waters, which spring up to everlasting life, will refresh the soul for ever!'
Finally, his last moments drew nigh; we were all on our knees around his bed, and did not suppose he was now able to hear us praying; but, as I concluded, I expressed myself thus,
• Lord Jesus come, gather his soul into thy bosom;' he repeated the word “Come!' and, when I had said " Amen, and Amen!' he also repeated • Amen! A little after, we prayed again, not having the least idea that he yet heard us; but when I had again repeated • Amen !' his eyes, which had been half closed, were opened a little wider, and elevated towards heaven. These two words were the last his dying lips uttered, and the last expression of his piety was the uplifting of his eyes to heaven. Shortly the Lord came indeed, to transport, from time to eternity, the immortal soul which he had given him, and which he had redeemed with no less a price than his own precious blood.” Thus died, on Monday, 19th July, 1824, in the twenty-seventh
age, one who had been rescued from the darkness of Papal ignorance, and introduced to a clear experimental knowledge of Divine truth. His life was short, but it was long enough to evince that he had become a child of God and an heir of glory.
year of his
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE ;
1. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, LONDON.
J.&W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
The mention of the subject of these pages will doubtless immediately recall the words of our Lord and Saviour, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” A duty inculcated by so plain and emphatic a precept may well be treated with holy seriousness and anxious attention. Other parts of religion may seem more attractive than this, but it is not therefore to be accounted by us as by any means deficient in interest. In nature and art, the objects which obtrude themselves upon our notice
may be more specious, but those which are the most essentially important retire from observation. The face and hands of the time-piece catch our eye; while the mainspring, without which all the rest would be useless, is concealed from sight. “ The human face divine,” with its life and expression, excites most notice; but it is the heart, which lies hidden from every observer, and is visible only to the eye of God, that by its energy circulates the blood and preserves the whole frame from death. We admire the leaves and flowers of the plant; but the root, which remains concealed and disregarded, supplies the juices and maintains the life and beauty of the whole. Thus in religion we may be the more affected by the glory of public worship; and beholding the assemblies of those who have come together to worship the God of heaven, we may exclaim, “ How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel !” but let us never forget that the secret devotion of the closet is so essential to the life and value of all other services, as that without it the most attractive appearances in connexion with religion itself are but splendid hypocrisy.
The hours which are spent alone with God are peculiarly sacred; the ends which in separating this portion of our time we should have in view, render them so- the Divine glory and our own edification. It may be interesting to review the various exercises which are appropriate to our devotional hours, and by engaging in which we shall more effectually attain such ends.
Secret prayer requires to be mentioned first, both on account of its primary importance, and because, when our Lord speaks of entering into our closet, he expressly enjoins this. Our own individual devotion demands the privacy of retire. ment. There, when withdrawn from every creature, we feel more deeply penetrated with the awe of His presence “ who seeth in secret ;” and having no one else to regard, we make the solemn reflection, “ Thou, God, seest me!” There the spirit adjusts her posture, her dispositions, her expressions, and draws near with acceptance and profit to Him whose presence fills the place. The absence of every human witness emboldens us to throw off all restraint which would prevent the freedom of our address to God, and incites us to “pour out our hearts before Him.” There each one can enter into his own particular case; and where is the immortal spirit which has not some important concern to transact with God, which could not be expressed before any creature, however near and intimate? As deceit often lurks in general statements, so does sincerity induce true worshippers to enter minutely into all their sins, infirmities, wants, and cares; but whom could we trust with this unreserved confession, but Him to whose eye our hearts are transparent ? There is no one there to be offended with the spontaneous language of an overflowing heart; there is less propensity to quench the emotions of the Spirit, when “he maketh intercession within us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” In this hidden sanctuary we may perform that solemn act of personal devotion, the surrender of ourselves to God, and an acceptance of Him in “an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten.” Not that the religion of the closet, though personal, is to be selfish. Our Lord teaches us even there to pray thy kingdom come.” Paul, in referring to his prayers night and day, informs us of the requests he offered for the church; and when withdrawn from the eye of our fellow-worshippers, we, too, may prove the sincerity of our love to Him by pouring out our prayers for its prosperity. Here we may intercede for ministers, that help from above may be given them ; here also we may plead for our relatives--a husband for a wife, a child for an unconverted parent--in terms so expressive of their condition as might be highly improper in the hearing of any human witness. These secret supplications indulge all the best feelings of all our hearts, and give a scope to our sacred passions which even the presence of a child would forbid.
The study of the sacred Scriptures should form part of our secret engagements. The works of pious though uninspired men may be profitably introduced into the closet, provided they occupy not too much room there. But the Bible is peculiarly the companion for the hours of private devotion. In the secret presence of God, sheltered under His throne from the storms
of human passions and the contentions of human opinions, open the holy book, and on your knees “ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord,” saying, “I will hear what God the Lord will speak.” But never forget Philip's question, “ Understandest thou what thou readest?” Be not content with reading a certain portion of the divine words, as though they were to operate mystically, like a magical incantation.
“ The gospel,” says Jerome,“ lies in the sense, not in the sound of the words of Scripture." Never bring to the Bible a meaning which you or others may have previously imposed, which would be to dictate to the oracle; but seek, in the presence of “Him that searcheth the heart," to know what is “the mind of the Spirit.” But our knowledge of the Bible is not to be its own end : we must not seek to know, merely that we may know: we must read with devout application, and accompany our perusal with such aspirations as these : “Oh that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” “Perform thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” Thus should we yield to the Bible its due, its divine honours.
Devout meditation is a duty of the closet. Without this we may in vain expect to possess just and impressive views of Scripture. The neglect of this habit would be reprobated in reference to any other volume which contained information of which it was important we should be possessed. If we had felt it our duty to put a book into the hands of a friend, in order that he might gain an accurate and familiar acquaintance with any subject which was momentous in the advancement of his welfare, we should not hesitate to require, not only perusal, but meditation. The Divine Author of Revelation accompanies his unspeakably precious gift with these words-" Thou shalt meditate on these things day and night.” Let the response of our hearts be—“My meditation of Him shall be sweet.” “ Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord !"
Self-examination should attend and form a part of our secret services. “ Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.” In the silence and solemnity of the closet, we should commune with our own hearts, and try our ways. Could Seneca, a heathen, say,
“ At night, when the light is removed, and all is hushed and still, I make a scrutiny into the day, and hide nothing from myself,”— and shall we neglect this scrutiny ? When God and you are alone, say to Him, “ Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” The Scriptures contain the marks of grace, the criteria of the possession of spiritual Christianity, in its present enjoyments