« السابقةمتابعة »
humiliating to look back upon, will be distinctly borne in mind by any reader, who approves of the course in which I was subsequently led by my heavenly Father's guidance, and that all the glory may be given to God.
Few persons comparatively are required to act in such a department as it has been my happy lot to fill: yet, important as it is, we blind mortals should be careful not to magnify the importance of our subject, so as to cast a thousand others into the shade. Individual responsibility before God, and the Divine command, "Love one another," invest all that lies before every individual, when called to think, and act, and speak, with the importance of eternity; whilst every Christian, in the path marked out by the wisdom of God's providence, whether in public or seclusion, will ever exhibit by their lovely effects, the same grand and influential principles; for when a believing sinner is found looking unto Jesus, the heart is new, and gratitude delights in his commandments.
In this simple account, in the absence of all human sufficiency on my part, whether of money, or influence, or experience, it is plain that God alone inclined my heart, instructed me by his word, and carried me forward in hope and peace. Hence arises the boundless encouragement which it presents to others; for the most humble individual, in any department of the providence of God, may build on the promises as firm as eternity: "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do," John xiv. 13. And when life below is closing, and the happy departure is at hand, when
the grateful heart looks back to the first moment of having seen the cross, it will declare with praise and thankfulness, "In following my adorable Redeemer, the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me.'
ADDRESSES TO THE PRISONERS.
[MISS MARTIN left behind her a considerable number of Addresses, fairly written out, each one marked with the day and occasion on which it was delivered, and the time it took to read. As specimens of her style of composition, and the nature of the instruction she communicated, the following are given.]
ISAIAH lv. 7.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
To presume on the mercy of God for forgiveness at the last, whilst we yet go on in sin, is most daring and dangerous, inasmuch as God is a God of justice. In Christ Jesus alone has he revealed himself as a God of mercy, and invited sinners to himself, whilst no encouragement is directed to the sinner who goes on in his wickedness; for unrepented sin, and not forsaken, cannot but end in eternal ruin.
That the awakened soul, just brought to a sense of his own guilt and ruin by a sight of the holiness of the Divine law, may not despair, he is further directed by the word of God to the gracious and glorious scheme of redemption, by which the justice and mercy of Jehovah our
lawgiver are magnified in the redemption of transgressors.
This blessed passage is most sweet and welcome to the troubled soul under the burden of sin. By it, such are invited to Jesus, and the consolations of the Almighty brought to their happy experience. May the sword of the Spirit, God's all-powerful word, separate every false hope from our souls, cut us off from our errors, our refuges of lies, that in our extremity we may be enabled to embrace the remedy, to flee to the gospel of God's mercy in Christ Jesus, and remain in spirit at the feet of Jesus, not only to hear the voice of pardon and of peace, but to receive instruction as to our future course, that we may hear and believe, love and obey him. To this effectual end may the Holy Spirit direct our attention as we proceed.
I. The text points out a character: "The wicked," and "his way ;"" the unrighteous," and "his thoughts."
II. The gracious invitation: "Let him forsake it-let him return unto the Lord."
III. The blessed promise of good: "The Lord will have mercy upon him—our God will abundantly pardon.'
I. Let us mark the character: The wicked; the unrighteous. Nor is it the picture of a stranger, but a description of ourselves. The more correctly that copy is delineated, the more distinctly may each person behold his own likeness; for it is that of a sinner, a transgressor from the womb, fallen, ruined, unable to help himself. Turn not away from this part of our subject, as if
it concerned you not. Satan will employ all his arts to seduce your attention and call your thoughts away, whilst your pride and ignorance may too easily favour his purpose. The nature of man is wicked and unrighteous before God and toward others, and is not now what it was when first created in Adam. Then it was beautiful, perfect, and full of love, bearing the impression of its blessed Author. Then was man holy and happy, full of peace and joy. But sin destroyed happiness; hatred to God succeeded love: rebellion against God, and hatred to one another, has since then been found in man.
Man is wicked and unrighteous. We need not look around and about us for the confirmation of this fact; how much more clearly may each person see it established in his own character: nor by deeds alone, or outward actions, which we see in others, but in our secret thoughts, wishes, and designs-our ill-will towards those for whom we should feel pity and kindness, our envy where love should prevail; our cold-hearted selfishness and idolatry with regard to our own ease or comfort, when we ought to be meditating the benefit of those around us in this way or that.
Man is unrighteous to God himself, to his Creator and Preserver. The law of God is just, and ought to be obeyed. Its tendency is only to good. And yet we have broken its commandments, and set ourselves against it. Have you not set up the idol of your own will, and followed it, although it is written, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve?" Whilst that law thus directs you to