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exhort and encourage him, as she said, “ to live to God, and to prepare to die.” She told him, when he came into the room, that the Lord had blessed her, and was willing to bless him. “And now," she added, “ before God, and all who are in this room, I beseech give your heart unreservedly to God, and so live as to be always prepared to die.” She was, indeed, made a blessing to all who saw her during her short illness. Her exhortations received great force from her evident happiness. If she urged on her friends the necessity of serving God, she was an example of the blessedness with which the service of God is connected, and especially of the triumphant hope which God vouchsafes to his servants on the bed of death. With a heart overflowing with love, she prayed, likewise, for her absent friends. She cherished a grateful sense of the pleasure and profit she had derived from their society, and spoke of them with great feeling. " But,” she said, “ one hour's experience of the love of God surpasses all. I never thought I could love the Lord as I now am enabled to do.” And in this happy state she continued, till the silver cord was loosed, and the golden bowl broken.
While she was thus rapidly traversing the valley and shadow of death, her sister Rosanna, a few years younger than herself, was lying in another room, reduced almost to the lowest stage of bodily weakness, through a pulmonary affection, from which she had been suffering for more than a twelvemonth. On the day before that on which she exchanged mortality for life, Jane expressed a strong wish to see her sister. “I have often taken sweet counsel with her,” she said ; "and I should like to see her once more.” Some of the family were afraid that the sisters, on account of their extreme weakness, would be unable to bear the excitement which an interview would occasion. But the desire to see each other was mutual, and it was judged proper to accede to it. Wrapped in some of the bed-clothes, Rosanna was placed in a chair, and conveyed to her sister's apartment; and most affecting was the scene that followed. The members of the family were bathed in tears as they gazed on these youthful saints, both of them on the very verge of eternity, and bearing the unequivocal marks of mortality in their countenances. The sisters grasped each other's hands; and it was for the last time. For some time they gazed on each other in silence, their feelings being too strong for immediate expression. At length their tongues were loosened in an outburst of joy and mutual congratulation. The same Spirit had wrought their minds, by the instrumentality of the same holy truth, into the same blissful frame. So resigned, so happy, so full of the love of God, so submissive to the divine will, were they both, and so victorious was their faith, that they met as on the eve of a brief separation, to be followed by an union that should be unbroken for ever. They encouraged each other, and glorified God, who had fulfilled in them all the good pleasure of his goodness, and was about to bring them into his
own presence, and its eternal fulness of joy. No regret, no fear, no desire to remain on earth, was expressed. Eternity was before them; not as something vague and indistinct, but as containing a felicity which, by faith and hope, they already realized. So strong, so commanding, was their faith, that they conversed with an unbroken serenity. With sacred ardour of affection, was combined the utmost clearness of thought, and a perfect self-possession. To their friends they appeared more like angels in the garb of suffering humanity, than dying mortals.
After this affecting interview, which Rosanna did not survive four weeks, Jane sank rapidly. For a little time, as might be expected, from the excitement occasioned by this meeting with her beloved sister, she was feverish, and somewhat restless; but it was only the body which was affected by this final struggle,--the peace of the soul was undisturbed. About three hours before she died, however, she became altogether composed, patiently, and without suffering, awaiting her now speedily approaching dismissal. Very shortly before its arrival, she was heard to say,
“Not a wave of trouble rolls
Across my peaceful breast.” From this state of happy repose she entered the “rest which remaineth for the people of God," November 14th, 1841, aged twenty-four.*
BY THE REV. CHARLES PREST.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how
ye ought to answer every man.”-Col iv. 6.
The holy Apostle, St. Paul, in common with the other inspired teachers of the church, always, “ in all his Epistles,” joins practical directions to a holy life with his glowing descriptions of Christian privilege; preventing that Antinomian perversion of the doctrines of grace to which human nature is so prone; and which cannot obtain unless in the disregardance of his lessons, or as it is the result of wresting his writings, as also the other Scriptures, to the destruction of licentious men. This method he adopted, not only when giving to the churches a general view of Christianity, in order to attain com
• The memoir of Miss Rosanna Finley will be given in our next. Edit.
pleteness of description, or when writing to those who were comparatively novices in the faith,—but also when engaged in the instruction and encouragement of churches more matured, and in whose steadfastness and consistency he rejoiced. Thus, when addressing the Colossian church, of the piety of which he had evidently formed a high estimate, he enforces not only general and comprehensive principles of correct behaviour, but gives, in detail, canons directive of their whole practice, in all their circumstances and relations. The ministry which dwells, with anything approaching to
the exclusion of practical directions, upon the doctrines of grace, and the privileges of Christian men, however eloquent and impassioned, is seriously defective ; as it is not conversant with the “whole counsel of God;" as it tends to substitute the excitement of the affections for the operation of sanctifying principle; and to produce a security, as fancied as it is fatal, in the neglect of the practical duties of the Christian life. So also is the ministry which, on the other hand, confines itself to the enforcement of religious observance and practice, as though Christi anity were a system of arbitrary prohibitions and directions; whilst it either denies, or neglects to exhibit, the need and attainableness of that graciously-produced vitality which can alone originate and maintain“ holy desires, good counsels, and just works." Both may have, and have, their admirers ; for each, propriety, usefulness, and even exclusive claims, may be pleaded; but both are condemned by the uniform example of our Lord's teaching, and inspired apostolical instruction. In these venerable and holy examples, that which is internal in the enjoyment and transformation of the godly, is combined with the visible results of its presence and operation in their behaviour; privilege with duty; vital religion with practical godliness. Of this union in the ministry none are impatient but the ill-instructed and enthusiastic on the one part, and unspiritual and rationalizing men on the other. The ascertained and felt necessities of the truly pious, the process of their edification, their justly-formed taste, all require the complete instruction of the Gospel, -that, as they are led into the possession of the fulness of Christian privilege, they may also be "throughly furnished unto all good works." Nor is the need of such instruction felt more by any than by those who, well established in grace, know most of themselves and of their dangers; and who, not depending on their religious babits, nor resting in their undoubted privileges, endeavour, by a patient continuance in well-doing, to secure eternal life. Others there may be who, less careful, because less acquainted with their necessities, are disposed to treat such instruction with unmerited and unfitting neglect. But these need this kind of teachin most, as being in the greatest danger whilst they imagine themselves secure.
The text directs and enjoins the consistent ordering of the speech or discourse of Christian people, and contains most valuable instruction.
Man, partaking of many things in common with the inferior creatures, is raised immeasurably above them by his reasoning powers, and by the faculty of speech. He, created in the image and likeness of God, possesses a distinctive superiority to which they, with all the beauty of their form and structure, and with the manifold wonders of their instinct, approach not. Man's speech,—his “glory," as the Psalmist terms it,-in connexion with his reason, ennobles his nature, and belongs, among the creatures of this lower world, only to himself. A faculty so noble is bestowed not only to be rejoiced in, but should be regarded as a talent committed to our trust by Him who expects its consistent employment, and who will, assuredly, require an account of its use.
While the wicked say, “Our tongues are our own," and unscrupulously use them as their vanity or depravity may dictate,-the godly will remember their stewardship, the value and importance of the gift, and their consequent accountability; and by just as much as they perceive the qualification which they have in this faculty to glorify God, and to advantage their fellows, will they be solicitous for its due improvement; as that which is required by gratitude, and as promotive of the praise of the Donor, and the welfare of the possessor, of so great a boon. This care will be detailed and particular in its operation, and in accordance with the judgment which God will hereafter institute. It will respect not only the general tenor of the speech, but the words of it; and will be watchful of the particulars, that the whole may be acceptable when every man must account for every
word as for every action. (Matt. xii. 36.)
Manifold evils result from neglecting the caution of the Apostle. Unrestrained and unholy speech is truly and fearfully characterized by St. James, as the product of satanic agency, and as a most destructive iniquity. (James jii. 5-10.) Even when the worst developements of this “unruly evil" are avoided, -as among Christian men they will, or, at least, ought to, be, yet great mischief and inconveniences arise from the unwatchful carelessness of the professedly religious. By the too frequent ill employment or abuse of the tongue they wound each other, engender strife and disunion, detract from the merits of their brethren, invade the sanctuary of charity, disregard the hallowed equity of the Gospel, discourage and hinder the weak and the inquirer, and bring the church and Christianity itself into contempt before the world. Nor can the persons who, in any unguarded moment, are thus “ overtaken in a fault,” escape without defiling their conscience, and becoming the subjects of bitter regret. If they wound others, they themselves are wounded. But if any pursue such a course without powerful checks of conscience, in thoughtless or reckless disregard of such unhallowed procedure, they are preparing themselves to receive the irreparable wounds of God's most fearful displeasure. Indeed, the religious profession of any who are under the dominion of such habit is worthless. Excuse themselves as they may, endeavour to justify
themselves as their self-love and sophistry may enable them, yet, as they “ bridle not their tongue,” they, however they seem to be religious to themselves or others, do, in reality, but deceive themselves, and “their religion is vain.” (James i. 26.) True religion cannot co-exist with indecorous, foolish, or hurtful speech; a conclusion from which there is no fair mode of escape, and to which no exception can be allowed. Let none presume to evade the force of this truth, painful and humiliating as the stroke may be ; but rather employ it in arousing and maintaining that repentance which they owe both to God and man; that, in the blotting out of this their sin, they may obtain grace to be, for the future, “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke."
It is a Christian duty to order the speech aright, enforced by the uniform teaching of the Holy Ghost, who also intimates and promises that gracious help which we need in its performance. It is not propounded as the requirement of mere ethical philosopby; but we are directed where to obtain, and how to keep alive and operative within us, that faculty which will enable us to discharge the duty aright. If, then, right speech be important in itself; if the obligation to it be imperative; certainly those who can have no excuse of inability, and to whom all requisite power is promised and extended, have unequalled motives, constraints, and encouragements to govern their tongues, and are highly blamable for neglect. To “offend not in word,” is an evidence of matured grace, to be sought by all believers; as it discloses the effect of the restraint and mortification of our corrupt passions, and the
presence of such watchfulness and divine assistance as are sufficient to control the whole man,-preventing irregularities of conduct, and spreading an amiable and benign influence through the whole behaviour, to the advantage of ourselves and those to whom we are in any way related. Let us, then, place this privilege and duty fully in our view, and labour diligently that our “speech” may “be alway with grace, seasoned with salt,” or always religious and wise.
The Saviour did not pray that his disciples should be taken out of the world, but that they should be preserved from the evil existing in it. (John xvii. 15.) Christian people are, therefore, consistently found engaged in the varied pursuits which the claims and necessities of human society demand. God designs that, thus engaged, they should leaven the masses among which they move, and impregnate with Christian principles the occupations of mankind. They should be perpetual and faithful witnesses against evil, and obvious examples of superiority to selfishness, of religious transformation, and devotedness to God in every thing. Were this at all times seriously and practically attended to by Christians, a large amount of influence would be exerted upon the commercial, the literary, and the social world; which, it is to be feared, is now but imperfectly, and in a very limited degree, exhibited. Many, who can hardly be reached by the direct