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in itself. It is perfect moral excellence--the perfection of moral loveliness and beauty. Why then should you not love and value it, on its own account? The moment you are conscious of doing this, you may begin to hope that you feel as you ought, and that religion is yours.
I hope the remarks which have been made, may lead my christian readers to inquire, on what their professed regard for religion is founded. Do you esteem and love it, for what it is? Or are you attached to it solely on account of the benefits which you expect to derive from it? You will not understand me as saying, that no regard is to be had to the rich and everlasting benefits which flow from our religion. Happiness is desirable in itself; and none of us ought to be indifferent respecting our present, future, and eternal welfare. But happiness is not more desirable than holiness; and the blessings expected to result from religion are not more desirable than religion itself. Do we then desire to be holy, as well as happy? And do we love and prize religion, on account of its own intrinsic loveliness? Or is it with us a mere secondary object? This subject, christian brethren, is worth our attention. Our characters, in the sight of God, de pend, you know, entirely on the character of our affections; and may even be said to depend entirely, on the kind of regard we cherish for true religion. P.
From the Utica Christian Repository.
EXPERIENCE OF MISS A.
Believing it to be a duty, as far as possible, to perpetuate the impression made upon the mind by those events which remarkably display the power and goodness of God, and to extend the knowledge of them for the benefit of others, I now attempt to commit to paper an account of a work of grace, to which I was a witness.
A religious excitement having just commenced in the school, of which Miss A. was a member, she observed, while reading her lesson in history, that one of her class mates was reading the bible; and, not feeling the necessity of attending to the concerns of the soul, thought that this young lady might as well learn her lesson as be spending her time in that manner. This thought was in a few moments struck home upon her conscience, in such a manner, as to prevent her finishing her own lesson. Her distress, though severe, was manifested during the first two or three days, only by a sadness of countenance, and an ut
further preparation, and spent the remainder of that sleepless night, experiencing all the horrors of an awakened conscience. It is not known that any particular alteration took place in her feelings during Saturday, though it was apparent that her distress was, on the whole, increasing. On Sunday morning, a printed card was handed to her, containg a dialogue of considerable length, between the Bible and the Sinner. This was read by her with great attention; she was led to see that she was just such a sinner as was there described; and that there was no hope in her case, except in an immediate compliance with the terms of salvation. In this great struggle of mind, she was enabled to resolve, as she expressed it, to give up or perish that night." She remembered all the warnings she had formerly received; remembered that the Holy Spirit had striven with her at various
ter neglect of that business and those pleasures which had before occupied her attention. Like most other persons with whom the Holy Spirit is striving, she had recourse to the scriptures, attendance on religious meetings, and the like. Her conviction of sin, which at first seemed to be a confused impression that something was wrong, became daily more clear; she became sensible of the wickedness, hardness, and obstinacy of her heart; saw that her only hope of safety was submission to Christ; and that the only difficulty was an unwillingness on her part, to give herself up to him. She often reviewed her past life, in order to find something that would stand before God in judgment; some reason why she should not be condemned; but could find none. At bed time, on Friday, which was the fourth day, instead of retiring to rest, she retired to a dark and solitary apartment, and was discovered sitting times-was convinced that this by an almost fireless stove, sometimes crying aloud, sometimes uttering a low and involuntary shriek at every breath, and literally trembling and quaking under a sense of her sins and the wrath of God. The burden of her complaint was her "wicked and hard heart;" often exclaiming, "what can I do with such a heart?" At 12 o'clock, she retired to her chamber, and after pulling off one shoe, was so overcome with a view of her own character, as to sink upon the bed, without any
was the last call--thought it would
house of God and heard a sermon ed. From a good state of health
from Rom. 7. 12, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Every word of the sermon fell upon her conscience with a weight which, she said "seemed to press her to her seat. The load of her sins was a burden, under which she felt unable to rise." Some time after nine o'clock in the evening, she was asked whether she felt as if she could retire to rest; she said "No, not with such a wicked heart as she had." She was answered, that it was indeed a dreadful thing to sleep with a heart at enmity with God." Soon after this, her distress increased so much as to give itself vent in cries and shricks, incessantly repeating, "What can I do with such a wicked heart?" When asked if she could not hate her wicked heart, she answered, "I wish I could." Once she exclaimed, with a degree of horror never to be described or imagined, "must I give up?" It appeared that the necessity of submitting to Christ was perdition itself begun in her soul. She was asked if she could not cry to her Savior for mercy? She then cried almost incessantly, for more than half an hour, Jesus have mercy," &c. But it was a bitter cry, extorted by agony of soul, and not the effusions of a contrite spirit. Between eleven and twelve, she sunk into silence--the silence of that anguish which has exhausted its subject without being diminish
she was now so reduced as to be unable to walk. She continued silent about two hours, except to answer a few questions. Very little was said, for all who witnessed the scene were led, in this extremity, to see the entire impotency of all human efforts. It was God who had wounded, and he alone could heal. It being evident that her bodily strength was almost exhausted; some refreshment was offered her which she refused with a look and tone of horror, undoubtedly surpassed by spirits in the prison of despair, but probably never equalled on earth, except by those whose anguish may have proceeded from the same cause as her own. In a few minutes after this, she broke out into such loud groans and cries as waked some members of the family, who were asleep in distant apartments. In this memorable hour, never to be recollected by those present, but with the strongest emotions, God appeared, wonderful in goodness and mighty in power. At a time when all intelligences on earth, and saints and angels in heaven united, could not have given her a moment's peace, God filled her soul with joy unspeakable. Sudden as a flash of lightning, she exclaimed, "I am the Lord's; He says I may come; Praise the Lord; Alleluia: Amen." And, at the same time, fell into the arms of her female friends, who were sitting near. Her strength and color were entirely
gone-ber eyes, closed-and, for waiting to receive you; don't
a few minutes, a pulse was the only indication that the new-born soul was not really departing from its clayey tenement. Soon she revived, and exclaimed, “ Jesus-there he is--I see him--my Redeemer, crucified for me!" Then, with a loud voice, "Glory to God," several times repeated. "Jesus took me by the hand and said I was his;--Yes, yes, Jesus take me; I am thine; here I am; take me." Being asked whether she wished to go then to Jesus, or remain a while in this world, she answered, "I am ready to go now; yes, Jesus, I am ready;" accompanied with a look and manner, which words are too poor to express. Her hands alternately clasped together, and then raised towards heaven. Her countenance, her smile, and even her laugh, could be compared to nothing earthly, and indicated that heaven itself was begun in her soul. Her penitence was expressed by most pathetically exclaiming, "How could I do so;--why did not I give up sooner? Christ was waiting to receive me all that time, and I refused to come to him." Two other persons present were under deep convictions, one of whom broke out into loud and convulsive sobs and groans. To her she said, calling her by name,
stand it out as long as I did." Some one spoke of that distress as the fruit of sin. "Sin!" she exclaimed, with uncommon vehemence, and as if speaking to all present, "tread it under your feet.” And after a short pause, "tremble before God."
Being again offered a cordial, she replied, "Christ is enoughChrist is enough. I have starved my poor soul almost to death.”— A relative of her's being mentioned, she asked, in a hurried manner, "Where is he?" She was answered, that he was in a certain place asleep. "Asleep in his sins," she exclaimed, "Lord, don't let him rest!" When one observ. ed that that room and that spot would be ever dear to her, she replied, "not near so dear as Jesus is." To those present, who were professed followers of Christ, she said, in the most endearing and affectionate manner; "Now I'll go with you." She spoke with the greatest apparent delight of uniting with her pious schoolmates, at their next stated meeting for prayer. These, and many other expressions of similar import, succeeded each other as fast as her exhausted state would allow, during two hours that she lay in the position in which she first fell. The awful interest of this scene was vastly heightened not only by the contrast of her present with her former feelings, but also by contrasting her with the two other individuals present,
who were the subjects of deep convictions, one of whom sat in silent distress, while the other, whose face seemed almost to gather blackness, gave vent to her anguish, as has been before described. During the whole of this night, few loud words were spoken, except in supplications at the throne of mercy, by those whose privilege it was to be witnesses of the scene. The awful solemnity of it was not interrupted by any noise or agitation; all were impressed with a sense that supplication and silent adoration was their only business; for God was there.
Her subsequent account of her feelings, at the time of the change was this; that she was brought to see the gulf of perdition open before her, her feet upon the slippery brink, and herself, indeed, sliding down! Then, and not till then, she was willing to lay hold on the only hope! Then and not till then, she was willing to give herself into the Savior's arms, which were open to receive her! Her view of the yawning gulf, her turning to God as the only refuge, and her subsequent joy, were instantaneous. Her own expression was, "when the sinner will give up, how quick the Lord can give comfort!" She thought she saw the Savior in a bodily form; his rich grace and glory so filled her enraptured soul, as to produce the effects already attempted to be described, and which language has no power to express. It was the opinion of those present, and of herself, also, that the manifestation of perdition and glory-of wrath and of love was as great as her mortal frame could sustain; that one more pang of conviction, or one more ray of glory, would have dissolved this clay, and have set the spirit free that animated it. It may perhaps be proper to observe, that her strength was so
reduced as to confine her to the bed for nearly a week.
This protracted narrative shall be closed with a few brief reflec. tions, which this instructive event naturally suggested.
1. It was a most clear illustration of those passages of scripture which impute the fault of man's impenitence entirely to his own will. That disposition which exists in all hearts-which is hidden from themselves, in most, was by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, rendered perfectly clear in hers. It was a glass, in which all who desire to see themselves, may look and be convinced.
2. It is probable, that even in this case, but a very small part of the enmity and obstinacy of the heart was manifested; as much as she could bear, was all that God showed her. If so, the heart must indeed be "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked."
3. Man can, and probably will, turn to God, when he sees himself stripped of all other hopes.
4. If perdition consists in a sense of sin, and the anger of God against it, and if the small degree of this which man can bear in this world be so inexpressibly dreadful, even for one night, what must be an eternity of wo, where the full vials of God's wrath will be poured out without mixture forever and ever, and not a gleam of hope allowed to enter!
5. If sin be the procuring cause of such torment in this world, and in the world to come, then surely it is a bitter thing, and every man ought to spend his whole life in striving against it; and, finally, if a momentary foretaste of heaven fill the soul with such joy, what must heaven itself be, and how good that God who has prepared such a mansion for his repenting children; and that Savior who has died that we might inherit it.Hear and understand.