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verance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Luke iv. 18. The gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth were so confirmed by a long course of constant and compassionate effort to dry the tear of distress and ease the burden of sorrow, that the heart feels that it may and can lean on His bosom. He was a real comforter of the cast-down, whose invitation was

“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “ A bruised reed he would not break, and the smoking flax he would not quench.”

The effect produced upon the mind of the sorrowing mother, as she listened to the portions selected by her friend, appeared to be of a gentle, soothing character. No remark was made by either party on the book itself in which the words of comfort were found. When the Countess rose to leave, she said to the mourner, “I perceive that you are entirely ignorant of the only source of comfort ; I cannot, in my own strength, or from my own resources, impart consolation to you. Will you give me one proof of your confidence in my affection and sympathy ? "I will,” was the reply. “ It is, then," said the Countess, “ that you will use one short prayer in the words I give you, and that you will use it as often as you feel a new accession of despair or a fresh agony of grief. “O Lord, enlighten thou me, that I may

know thee.' This recommendation, though simple, was consistent at once with the dictates of reason and with the principles of true religion. God must be known before he can be served as a Sovereign or enjoyed as a portion. His nature and character, as far as they are revealed in his Holy Word, must be understood previously to obedience being rendered to Him or confidence reposed in Him. It is because men are ignorant, criminally ignorant, of Him in the claims which arise out of his nature and relationship to themselves, that they neither glorify Him as the Supreme, nor trust to Him as the faithful God. He requires intelligent service, and hence, He has given an extended revelation, that we may “ acquaint ourselves with Him.” He asks not a mere blind reliance upon himself in the hour of sorrow and distress. They that know thy name shall put their trust in thee : for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee,” Ps. ix. 10. And in the pursuit of that salvation which includes present acceptance and future glory, the first importance is attached to a correct and accurate conception of that which may be understood of Him. “ This is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” John xvii. 3. It was well,

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therefore, that the prayer should be suggested, “O Lord, enlighten me, that I may know thee." The object implored was a right one; the source to which the petition should be directed, was that to which alone application could be successfully made.

That illumination which leads the soul to appreciate the perfections of the Divine Being, which enables it to discern his excellence and worth, which so impresses the heart as to induce it to forsake every other refuge and to yield itself alone to Him, is a Divine work. Open thou mine eyes,” is a Scripture example of prayer, " that I may understand wondrous things out of thy law,” Ps. cxix. 18. This office of Divine illumination is undertaken and continually accomplished by the Holy Spirit. For this purpose was his special agency promised by the Lord Jesus Christ: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name ; He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,” John xiv. 26. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth,John xvi. 13. He is “the spirit of wisdom and understanding --the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord,” Isa. xi. 2. Regarded, then, in connexion with so merciful an arrangement, the prayer, Enlighten thou me," offered in humility, was hopeful as well as most adapted to the petitioner's circumstances.

For many days the Countess continued her visits, and read the little book; and on every successive visit she discovered an increasing attention on the part of her friend to the subject referred to in the passages which she chose for reading. They did not often enter into much conversation on religion ; for the Countess, as often as she attempted it, felt the extreme difficulty of making herself understood by one who had habitually“ said in her heart there is no God,” and to whom all that was revealed of him in Scripture was new and strange. She, therefore, confined herself chiefly to reading ; accompanying the engagement with much secret prayer for the Divine blessing. She was the more encouraged in her hope of success, because she was assured by her friend that she did not fail to use the short prayer constantly; and that when she did not know in what direction to turn her thoughts, or in what way to disengage them from the horrors of the past, she found relief in repeating the brief supplication, according to her promise.

At length, after these daily readings had continued some time, the bereaved mother began to express more distinctly the effect of what she had heard. “ Your book told me such and such a thing yesterday. That thought has followed me ever

me.

since. I wish you would leave it with me till to-morrow.” The Countess, however, did not consent. She had two motives for her refusal. She hoped to increase the desire by delay; and she did not, at this particular juncture, wish the book to fall into the hands of a sister, whose heart had also been thoroughly imbued with infidel principles, and who had, all her life, exerted a most baneful influence on the mind of this unhappy widow.

The little copy of the Scriptures which she brought with her, and which she used in these interviews, had belonged to a dear friend, and had never been confided to any second person;

and this was stated in reply to the wish that it might be left behind her. But the desire to possess this wonder-working volume became stronger and stronger, and the following note was sent :

“ Can you not lend me your invaluable treasure for a few hours ? I will not be unreasonable, it shall be returned to you soon.

It was lent, and returned with the following note:

“ I have been deeply affected by your generous confidence, in leaving with me a book so precious to you. I dare not keep it longer; but pray let me have a Bible. It shall never leave

It shall be my guide—my support -perhaps, one day, my consolation ! O, when shall I have obtained that holy joy? You shall know of it, that your heavenly charity may be rewarded. Do not leave me to myself. I seem to feel that I shall [yet] understand your object. O, my God, give me strength and perseverance."

The Bible not having been immediately sent, the following note was written:

_“Permit of your promise to send me a Bible. Our last conversation did me much good; it went to the source of my disquietudes. I feel as if I could repose myself in God with confidence. Sometimes I feel as if I could love him with all my soul; while I ask him, with fervency, to give the illumination I so much want. I do not, I cannot doubt, but he will communicate the light that is necessary to my feeble understanding."

The Bible was procured and sent; after which this note was received :-"I cannot thank you sufficiently for providing me with the only occupation of which I am capable; but I cannot tell you that

your present brought consolation to my wounded heart. I must acknowledge that, after reading it, I am more deeply afflicted; I am even more sorrowful, more dejected, than before I read it. Shall I tell you why? I am led to look back upon my past life with horror; and the dreadful thought suggests itself, Is it not probable that my sins brought on my

me, my dear

to remind you

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child his dreadful catastrophe ?' O, my God! was I, indeed, the cause of all he suffered in life and death ? I can only weep abundantly. Divine Grace must do all for me."

The sorrow to which this note referred was not surprising. Of the Holy Ghost it is especially promised that he shall convince of sin,” John xvi. 8. That knowledge of God which he imparts to the soul is inseparably connected with the knowledge of one's self; and the more the light of Divine truth, with respect to the holiness, purity, and dignity of God, is shed upon the mind, the greater will be the opportunity of discerning the depth of personal unworthiness and guilt. The contrast between the character of the Creator and the creature will be more obvious, while the perception of the authority of the former must render more clear and manifest the rebellion and hostility of the latter. “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” Job xlii. 5, 6. The Holy Spirit does not become the comforter of the soul by applying a false peace in the hour of distress. He does not heal the wound of conscience slightly, but, probing it deeply, lays bare the poison that lurks within, that the means of its removal may be more earnestly and more successfully employed. He exposes the malady of the heart; he causes it to be felt and understood, and then applies the remedy provided in the Gospel to the mind which he has prepared to appreciate it. “They that are whole," said the Divine Redeemer, “have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, [those who imagine themselves so, but who know not the plague of their own hearts,] but sinners to repentance," Mark ii. 17. A knowledge gained from personal experience of these, the essential principles of true religion, enabled the Countess at once to meet the case of her friend. She therefore addressed to her a letter of an encouraging nature, the great object of which was to present to her view the Lord Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Gospel,—the Physician of souls,—the only Hope of the sinner. The fulness and freeness of his grace were dwelt upon; his promise that “ he would cast out none who came," John vi. 37 ; his power, that “he is able to save to the uttermost,” Heb. vii. 25; his great intention, that “ he had come, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life,” John iii. 16. “Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah i. 18.

This communication was thus acknowledged :-—Your letter has made me weep much; but do not repent having written it, for the tears were the gentlest and kindest I ever shed. My heart is rivetted to that one phrase, “able to save to the uttermost. I thank you, I thank you, for having shed a drop of balm on my wounds. I want to talk with you on my sorrows and my hopes ; if you can believe that I ought to have any hope. O yes, yes; I have indeed hope, although it is mingled with sorrow.

But mercy, mercy!” Here terminates the correspondence, but not the intercourse. The Countess had an interesting interview with her friend. She found that the Spirit of God had indeed begun the good work, and was gradually leading her mind into all the truth. Grief and despair on the loss of her son, had given way to a strong anxiety to understand the Word of God. This new study absorbed the whole soul of the mother. She said she read it incessantly, but without knowing how far she properly understood it; but when she met with a passage she did not understand, she returned to the place where she had comprehended the sense, and continued her reading till she again encountered the difficulty; and then she uttered her first prayer : “O Lord, give me light, that I may know thee.” She remained at that point, without attempting to proceed, until she had obtained a knowledge of the passage, “ Then,” said she, “ I often find more force, and beauty, and information, in that which had just confounded me, than in all I had understood before.” She said also, “ This book is my nightly comfort, as well as my daily occupation. When I cannot sleep, I desire my attendant to bring me my book, and place the candle at my pillow; and so the night becomes no more tedious nor gloomy.”

Attempts were made by her sister to lead back this interesting woman to the darkness and despair of the infidel philosophy; but in vain. “ The Lord was her keeper.” She read the Bible, and scarce anything else, and lived to adorn its doctrine.

How rich a blessing, then, was adversity to her. The sorrow which bowed her spirit down, was permitted in mercy to her soul. “God doth not willingly afflict, nor grieve the children of men,” Lam. iii. 33. “ He doth it for our profit,” Heb. xii. 10. “ He causeth us to pass under the rod, that he may bring us into the bond of his covenant,” Ezek. xx. 37. Painful may be the discipline adopted in the school of affliction ; but it comes from the hand of love. And when such lessons are taught as those which this narrative has recorded, is not the Scripture verified ? “ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest

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