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LETTERS AND PRISON BOOKS.
EXTRACTS from letters, written during the last five months of Sarah Martin's life, exemplifying her state of mind under great bodily pain and suffering.
I thank you for kindly sending me the parcel. I hope you are yourself better in health: as for myself, my blessings, or rather the blessed Giver, is so all-sufficient, and abundant in goodness, love, and faithfulness, that I am at a loss for expression; suffice it to say, "He doeth all things well." As for my poor body, I am under the medical care of Mr. : I have already, by the blessing of God, strong proof of great benefit, although, beyond being at the gaol in the middle of the day, I am generally lying down. This morning I was too ill to sit up, hence you had no answer. Oh! how happy, how peaceful it is to rest in the love of Jesus, in the bosom of blessedness, in the enjoyment of the Father's love, in the Son and the Spirit's light! Nothing else, nothing else can satisfy; self is horrible, it is frightful. I go to the gaol with great pleasure, and eat the bread of life when with them [the prisoners]; were this not granted, he would not forsake his purposes of mercy, either to me or to
them. Oh, how happy it is to be in his blessed hands! for then outward circumstances lose their importance; the care of outward things is his,
Your kind supply for my temporal comfort met me last evening, and what can I say? the sense of your kindness is sweet, very sweet: in love to Him who first loved us, you do it; "the love of Christ constraineth you;" take the comfort of His own blessed and gracious acknowledgment, "Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Thus receiving the temporal blessings of my Lord and Saviour, they have a worth beyond themselves abstractedly, because the Lord careth for the body. Can it be doubted, when the apostle, adverting to it as a reason against sin in believers, asks, "What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" Yes, even these poor corruptible bodies are "an habitation of God through the Spirit :" and the whole person, body, soul, and spirit, are the Lord's; "ye are not your own, ye are bought with a' price." Oh for more grace, more light, and love! oh to be more unfettered from all that stands between the soul and Jesus, and the Father, and the Spirit, that the goodness of my Father to my poor frail body may be rescued from the cold ingratitude of living at a distance from him! I am shocked at what a formalist in myself I am. To rise above, to reign over self, is the privilege to be enjoyed, according to the words, "risen with
He is pre
MY VERY DEAR
How sincerely I thank you for your kind and affectionate note, and I shall be glad if you will give me another. How long it may please our gracious God to keep me apart, cannot at present be judged. I was not so well yesterday and the day before; to-day I have been very ill indeed. I just sit up on the sofa with my back supported, and am already overcome. But, my dear friend, all this tells what the Lord had taught you before, that the Spirit of God never leaves his children alone: oh no, 1 feel no loneliness in his blessed presence; the time seems quite short. I find the Lord deprives affliction of all power to afflict the soul; and I joyfully agree with you when you say, "Never mind a little pain," etc. I could not conscientiously keep your eggs, for this reason, it would have been encroaching on your kindness, as I had a good stock, and did not know then but I might have been from home. I am, however, by no means likely to be able to leave home at present; therefore, as I know it gives you pleasure to administer to me, for your Saviour's sake, in love, should you feel inclined to try me again, you may not have the same chance of having them returned.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
After pain and restlessness until two o'clock this morning, I had again, after my draught, a
long sweet sleep, and early in the beautiful breaking of the day, I felt refreshed by imagining myself in the midst of a fine 'field. Our blessed Redeemer was often walking, with his disciples, through the corn-fields, and they plucked the ears of corn: a most merciful Saviour he was in this world, his own world, the work of his hands, ever illustrating eternal truth by its beautiful natural figures.
I have not yet replied to what you have said by note and word, to remove pecuniary care from my mind, should my illness be long protracted. I think what you said amounted to this: were I compelled to break in upon the principal, on being restored again, my friends would make it up to me. Now if you mean, make it up, fill up the break with any money, that plan will not accord with my mind. How trifling, on the one hand, will be the difference in my income before the breach, and after besides, the right principle before God, after affliction, must be humility, and to conform to one's means. Should it be that those means will not meet necessary support, I will tell you the way of meeting all this, and a good way too: make me presents in the shape of a nice loaf at one time, and a little cheese at another; this is the delightful plan on which my friends' bounty may best act. A bold beggar, am I not? but, my beloved one, there can be no harm in speaking freely, and very freely to you. Not that I am likely to survive for all this, but it answers what you have said. God bless you: I hope to hear from you to-day, and have my nosegay and apriEver yours, S. MARTIN.
MY BELOVED FRIEND,
I have been watching all this day for recovery between paroxysms of pain, and for power, with elbows supported, to write a few words to you. I am so slow a scholar in the school of love and mercy, that my dear Redeemer cannot allow me to go home yet, but He will soon "perfect that which concerneth me."
Stopped by pain, after two vain attempts, I try again to say, my sin has been this: all sense as to my own suffering, but how forgetful of Him my adorable Jesus, who supports, and loves, and chastises me, of him who was the Man of sorrows! In pain to-day, these words came from heaven to my soul," Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." "Yes, my Father," I replied, "I do behold the Lamb." How kind! the Father pities, the Spirit testifies, Jesus is with me, in me, "the hope of glory."
Oh! how shockingly have I forgotten Calvary, the vinegar and the gall, the mockery, and the agonies of Gethsemane! My beloved -, may He give you to dwell more on the person, the mediatorial person, of our incarnate God. Oh, the beauty of his spotless righteousness! A spotless robe, and the blood, the precious blood, the peace-making blood!
Last night was passed in continued pain, forbidding sleep, mocking at anodynes; one paroxysm scarcely passed without being succeeded by another. At about eight o'clock this morning, in a most gracious and tender manner, the Lord visited me by comparative ease, and I have had a