Page images
PDF
EPUB

but die." And so her brother-in-law went for her 90 miles in that season of the year. When she came home I desired her to do nothing but read and pray and attend the meetings. She complied, and was sober, but not convicted, or even awakened.

Thus things went on till Wednesday evening, Jan. 18th, 1826; in which time my anguish of spirit had well nigh laid me upon a bed of sickness. That evening after meeting, I visited Louisa, and put to her the old question, "Do you feel that it would be just for God to cast you off?" After a considerable pause, and in a low voice, she answered, "Yes, Sir." I started, as a man awoke in a new world, and said, "Do you, my dear?" After another pause, and in a low voice, she answered again, "Yes, Sir." That evening upon my pillow, I began to say, "Was she not awakened at Newark? Has she not knowledge enough? And is she not now at last convicted of her desert of hell? Has not enough been done in a preparatory way? Wilt thou not this night take away the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh?" At that moment something within me said, "No; let her be more deeply convicted of her sin and ruin, that she may know what she owes to our redeeming God and his dying Son;-that she may see the distinctive glories of that God and Saviour whom I maintained against a world in arms before she was born." The prayer passed from her to her husband, and then to her sister. Their personal interests, which had pressed like a mountain so long upon me, were swallowed up and lost, and the all-absorbing desire was, "That eyes so dear to me, may see the glory of our redeeming God and his dying Son, and that souls so dear may show in their salvation the same glory to the universe." I then saw, as I never saw before, what it is for God to be glorified, and felt conscious that I desired that object more than all others. It appeared the most glorious object; and my whole soul went out in pantings after it.

The next morning, before I was up, Mrs. Griffin came back into my room, and said, "I have been into Ellen's chamber, and found her weeping. She says, Mamma, I woke up this

Vol. I.

20

morning early, and began to think how good God had been to me and how ungrateful I had been to him; and I can't sleep any more." This was her first conviction. That same morning, as Louisa was coming down to spend the day with us, (for the family spent every Thursday with us,) and when she had reached the gate, "The thought," (as she afterwards expressed it,) "dropped upon my mind, that God reigns; and it was a glorious thought." She did not tell me of this till Friday night. On Saturday morning, when I called to see her, she was all dissolved, and related the views she had had of her sin and of the mercy of God the last evening. On Thursday Ellen attended Mr. Gridley's inquiry meeting, and he told me afterwards, that in addressing her, he had tried every string, and not one of them vibrated till he touched on the goodness of God, and then she wept like a child. On Friday or Saturday I said to her, "My daughter, where do you expect to spend your eternity?" She answered, "Why, papa, I have'nt thought of that." "What then have you been thinking about?" "I have been thinking how good God has been to me, and how unthankful I have been to him." On Saturday morning, after conversing with Louisa, I took Dr. Smith, my son-in-law, into a separate room, and pressed him with all the power I could apply. He wept. The next day, (Jan. 22d, 1826,) I preached a sermon with a view to try Louisa's hope, from Psalm xcix. 9, "For the Lord our God is holy." I noticed that Dr. Smith devoured every word. The next day I learnt that he had been hoping since Saturday. I searched for him and found him, and after dinner he came to me. We sat in my study, and Ellen sat by the window behind me. I cast my eye back upon her, and she looked more like the image of misery than ever before. She felt that she was left alone indeed. The Dr. retired, and Ellen left the room. Not long after, Mrs. Griffin came in, and said, "Ellen has been saying to me, I am afraid papa don't feel about me just as he did about Louisa." "Tell the dear child," said I, "to bring in my surtout, (as I was going out,) and I will talk with her." She came in, in great distress. After

some conversation, I kneeled down with her, by my library." The spot and the time I never shall forget. The Syrophenician woman had been much before me. She was before me then; and so was the glorious Personage to whom she applied. And he appeared as near to me as he did to her, as near as though he had been bodily present. And it was as easy for me to put my child into his arms, as though he had been visibly in the room. And I did put her into his arms, with all my heart and soul. And it seemed to me that it was impossible, but that she would give herself to him before she arose. When I arose I took her in my arms and said, "My dear, have you given yourself to Christ?" "Oh, no," said she, and was apparently overwhelmed. I left the room and went out to visit a family, where I met my dear Louisa, who appeared the happiest creature in the world. She was going that eveing to the first prayer meeting she ever attended, as she thought. Upon my return after tea, Mrs. Griffin met me and said, "I never witnessed such a scene. Ellen has been weeping upon my neck, and saying, Christ died for me, and I have never done any thing for him, and I cannot live so any longer." I asked her to send her in. She came in, when the following dialogue took place between us. "My child, where do you expect to spend your eternity?" "Why, papa, I think it most likely that I shall spend it in hell." "Well, my dear, that question God will decide, without asking counsel of you or me." "I know that, papa, and I don't want any body else should decide it." "Why, my dear?" "Because he appears so good and so just." "Do you think that you deserve hell?" "Oh, I know I do." "What is the greatest desire of your heart?" "To love and serve God all my days." In that condition she remained eight and forty hours, without a particle of hope. At the end of that time, (to use her own expression,) her burden fell off, and the preciousness and loveliness of Christ appeared to her view. In the mean time Louisa attended her prayer meeting on Monday evening. While I was at breakfast on Tuesday morning, Ellen received from her sister the following note.

MY DEAREST ELLEN,

I never felt so anxious to see you as I do this morning, but the weather seems to forbid. I have always felt for your body, now I would inquire about your immortal soul. When I feel the fullness there is in the dear Redeemer, his ability and willingness, yea, ardent desire to save just such sinners as we are, I cannot but hope that you have seen him too, and have been enabled without reserve to give yourself away to him. If you have not, O do not stay away another moment. Why should you? There is balm in Gilead, an almighty Physician there. Do you feel yourself to be a polluted, selfruined sinner, totally undone? O let not your sins keep you from him. This is the very reason why you should go to him. What was his errand into this miserable world, but to "seek and to save that which was lost?" What is he now walking our streets for but to dispense pardons to the guilty: to "gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom?" O believe his promises. Think him sincere when he invites "every one that thirsteth," all that are "weary and heavy laden," "the ends of the earth," to look unto him and be saved. Do not add to all your other sins, the crying sin of unbelief. Come, and he will fill your soul with that "peace that passeth understanding." He will enable you to say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." He will enable you to say, "O that all the blind could see him too." He will enable you to point your dear companions to "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." I hope your brother is in the ark. We had a long and most interesting conversation last evening. He was called away at day-light, and has not yet returned. Mr. and Mrs. Hanson are both rejoicing in their Saviour. Give my love to E. Dewey. You may read this to her. What I say to you I say to her,—to all,-to poor Susan; come to Christ. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good."

We had a blessed meeting last evening. O it is good to draw near to God through the Mediator. You must come up

"to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Do all you can for him who bought you with his blood. There is nothing else worth living for.

My love to our dear parents. Say to them, "Be not afraid, only believe." I hope to see you before night. Your anxious and affectionate sister, F. L. SMITH.

Notwithstanding this note, Louisa shortly after came down and spent the day; and in the evening my three children and myself attended a most interesting meeting. Louisa has been heard to say, that was the happiest day of her life. The next day, Wednesday, Jan. 26th, Ellen was relieved. All within a week from that ever to be remembered Wednesday evening, when I first learnt that Louisa was convicted, and when I had that travail on my wakeful pillow.

The following letter from Doctor GRIFFIN, containing an account of the hopeful conversion of his children, was addressed to NATHANIEL WILLIS Esq. of Boston, and shortly after was published in the Boston Recorder.

Williams College, Feb. 2, 1826.

DEAR SIR,

Your letter gave me great pleasure. The prospect of another revival of religion in Boston is animating in no small degree. Your letter was read to the pious students who are here in vacation, with a request that they would daily remember Boston in their prayers. At a public meeting they formally agreed to do it; and at a fast held yesterday, Boston made one of the subjects of their public petitions. I intend to endeavor to engage the pious people of the town in the same course of wrestling for you.

O that the dear christians in Boston may receive a spirit of special and effectual prayer, in which desires as strong as death shall be united with absolute dependance and faith, and all combined with the most vigorous exertions to arrest the at

« PreviousContinue »