Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE YOUTHFUL DISCIPLE.

AN AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE.

Eliza Hwas the child of earnest and devoted christian parents.

Her father was a wealthy manufacturer in one of the principal towns of the West Riding of Yorkshire. He occupied an influential position in the religious community to which he belonged, and was not less distinguished for zeal and liberality in the cause of Christ than for energetic enterprise in the business of the world. The training of his household was regulated by a simple but enlightened deference to the will of God, and an intense solicitude for the everlasting welfare of his children. The society which he cultivated was of an order to second very powerfully the instructions and example of himself and his excellent wife; and the ministry which they attended was of an eminently faithful and evangelical character. Yet, though Eliza was thus surrounded by religious influences from the very dawn of consciousness, it is somewhat remarkable that for a considerable time she never seemed to be the subject of those impressions which are common to children so favoured. When about seven years old, she narrowly escaped with life from a severe attack of scarlet fever ; but no family traditions remain, proving that she had any sense of her immortality, or any desire for salvation. The school to which she was sent was conducted by ladies who, whilst distinguished by the intellectual vigour with which they directed the studies of their pupils, were most anxious that all their instructions should be imbued with the spirit of vital piety. Her general progress was sufficiently satisfactory. Her lessons were mastered with ease, and for some studies she displayed considerable aptitude. Still there were no indications of religious sensibility. She grew up into girlhood without any additional thoughtfulness, manifesting a taste for dress and show remarkable in one so young. In short, had any one ventured to prognosticate her future life from the teudencies displayed at fourteen, they would assuredly have predicted that she would grow up a clever, vain, attractive woman of the world; perhaps maintaining the forms, but utterly rejecting the power of religion.

So far the best hopes of her friends seemed doomed to disappointment, their prayers seemed unheard and their labours unrewarded. But it is most likely that in this, as in many other cases, a silent secret preparation was in progress, till at length the heart was brought beneath that influence which was destined, in the order of God's gracious providence, to lead her to a knowledge of the truth. To a superficial observer, the work seems, in such instances, to be accomplished by that particular influence; but it may be questioned whether that instrumentality does not owe its efficiency, in no slight degree, to those precious influences which had seemed to be in vain ;just as the luxuriant harvest is not to be traced merely to those few bright summer days which ripen the golden grain, but equally to the labours of the seed-time and the showers of the spring. When, however, she was about fourteen years old, in common with several friends of her own age, she attracted the notice of a young lady of singular talents and devoted piety, who subsequently became the wife of a missionary, but whose career of usefulness was soon terminated by one of the fatal fevers of India. This lady, in the true spirit of a missionary, sought to lead her youthful charge to the Saviour ; and she was eminently successful. Her instructions and counsels were the means of leading many to a right decision, and amongst them not a few of Eliza's intimate associates. For a long time, however, she continued cold and careless as

But at length a change came over her, gently, quietly, unaccompanied externally by anything in the least remarkable. Her mind seemed to open to the truth, as the flower opens to the light, and by-and-by she found true peace in Christ. The following extract from a letter, written shortly after the commencement of her fifteenth year, shows very beautifully the spirit in which she sought salvation, and the joy with which she was inspired by its conscious possession

“ It is not without some particular reason that I now write to you. Oh, Helen ! how shall I tell you ? How can I convey to you any idea of the peace, the delightful happiness, I now experience ? I believe, Helen, by the mercy and everlasting kindness of God, my sins are pardoned, and my iniquities forgiven-I now can call God in Christ my reconciled Father. Oh, my friend ! rejoice with me, and do you obtain the same blessing from Jesus Christ, and then we can sweetly aid each other in the way to heaven. I shall now

ever.

THE YOUTHFUL DISCIPLE.

AN AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE.

ELIZA H- - was the child of earnest and devoted 'christian parents.

Her father was a wealthy manufacturer in one of the principal towns of the West Riding of Yorkshire. He occupied an influential position in the religious community to which he belonged, and was not less distinguished for zeal and liberality in the cause of Christ than for energetic enterprise in the business of the world. The training of his household was regulated by a simple but enlightened deference to the will of God, and an intense solicitude for the everlasting welfare of his children. The society which he cultivated was of an order to second very powerfully the instructions and example of himself and his excellent wife; and the ministry which they attended was of an eminently faithful and evangelical character. Yet, though Eliza was thus surrounded by religious influences from the very dawn of consciousness, it is somewhat remarkable that for a considerable time she never seemed to be the subject of those impressions which are common to children So favoured. When about seven years old, she narrowly escaped with life from a severe attack of scarlet fever ; but no family traditions remain, proving that she had any sense of her immortality, or any desire for salvation. The school to which she was sent was conducted by ladies who, whilst distinguished by the intellectual vigour with which they directed the studies of their pupils, were most anxious that all their instructions should be imbued with the spirit of vital piety. Her general progress was sufficiently satisfactory. Her lessons were mastered with ease, and for some studies she displayed considerable aptitude. Still there were no indications of religious sensibility. She grew up into girlhood without any additional thoughtfulness, manifesting a taste for dress and show remarkable in one so young. In short, had any one ventured to prognosticate her future life from the teudencies displayed at fourteen, they would assuredly have

[ocr errors]

predicted that she would grow up a clever, vain, attractive woman of the world; perhaps maintaining the forms, but utterly rejecting the power of religion.

So far the best hopes of her friends seemed doomed to disappointment, their prayers seemed unheard and their labours unrewarded. But it is most likely that in this, as in many other cases, a silent secret preparation was in progress, till at length the heart was brought beneath that influence which was destined, in the order of God's gracious providence, to lead her to a knowledge of the truth. To a superficial observer, the work seems, in such instances, to be accomplished by that particular influence; but it may be questioned whether that instrumentality does not owe its efficiency, in no slight degree, to those precious influences which had seemed to be in vain ;just as the luxuriant harvest is not to be traced merely to those few bright summer days which ripen the golden grain, but equally to the labours of the seed-time and the showers of the spring. When, however, she was about fourteen years old, in common with several friends of her own age, she attracted the notice of a young lady of singular talents and devoted piety, who subsequently became the wife of a missionary, but whose career of usefulness was soon terminated by one of the fatal fevers of India. This lady, in the true spirit of a missionary, sought to lead her youthful charge to the Saviour ; and she was eminently successful. Her instructions and counsels were the means of leading many to a right decision, and amongst them not a few of Eliza's intimate associates. For a long time, however, she continued cold and careless as

But at length a change came over her, gently, quietly, unaccompanied externally by anything in the least remarkable. Her mind seemed to open to the truth, as the flower opens to the light, and by-and-by she found true peace in Christ. The following extract from a letter, written shortly after the commencement of her fifteenth year, shows very beautifully the spirit in which she sought salvation, and the joy with which she was inspired by its conscious possession :

“ It is not without some particular reason that I now write to you. Oh, Helen ! how shall I tell you 1? How can I convey to you any idea of the peace, the delightful happiness, I now experience ? I believe, Helen, by the mercy and everlasting kindness of God, my sins are pardoned, and my iniquities forgiven-I now can call God in Christ my reconciled Father. Oh, my friend ! rejoice with me, and do you obtain the same blessing from Jesus Christ, and then we can sweetly aid each other in the way to heaven. I shall now

ever.

“I begin now to realize my loss in no small degree; and, oh! it is such trouble as I never felt before. I feel I have lost a treasure that can never be replaced. I endeavour to feel resigned, but it is by looking forward I get most comforted.

I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.' Oh, what a glorious hope! 'I shall go to him. I long to love and serve God on earth, and I shall soon be with him and my sainted, my beloved, my dearest father. Haste, happy day! It shall come, it shall not tarry. Let us prepare for a blessed immortality in the sunshine of Jesus' presence.”

The death of her father was followed, in eighteen months, by the equally sudden removal of her mother, to whom she was peculiarly attached. It seems that at this time a strong impression took possession of her mind that she should soon follow. She concluded, however, that it arose merely from the yearnings of her filial affection, and succeeded in overcoming it.

This was in May. She had then a slight cold, accompanied by cough, but it gave her no uneasiness. During the summer she took lodgings at Weston Point, but rather for her children's sake than her own. In vain her medical attendant tried to warn her. She relied implicitly on the native strength of her constitution, and sought to brace herself by bathing and walking. Writing from Weston to her sister, she says :

“I begin to want to get to my work again. . . . Nor have I the privileges I enjoy at home; but I have found grace in my closet. I felt the Holy Spirit this morning sweetly drawing me out in desire and prayer after God, that he would lead me in the path of holiness, of faith, and of loving obedience. I often think of the land above, led, I suppose, by the thought of my

mother and father's removal from earth. I anticipate the time when I shall be present with the Lord. But, oh! I feel the necessity of greater diligence if I would inherit a full reward. ... I trust I shall seek after and obtain a closer walk and more of his sanctifying power. My children are come in with sweet wild flowers, and I must hasten to them."

In the autumn, in spite of medical remonstrance, she aecompanied her husband to Scarbro', and there her disease first decidedly manifested itself. One sabbath morning, at public worship, she filled her handkerchief with blood; but, with strange infatuation, afraid of producing alarm in the minds of her family, she concealed the fact. On her return home she grew rapidly worse. Her malady gained ground, and it was soon evident that consumption had marked her for its prey. Early in December she was confined to the bed from which

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »