« PreviousContinue »
A POETIC EPISTLE.
The precepts, demanding obedience, I read,
Overwhelm'd with confusion and shame; The threatenings, like thunder, rolled over my head,
And darted, like lightnings, their flame.
Nor dread of displeasure divine,
A heart so rebellious as mine.
My many iniquities past,
And merit his favour at last.
Like Sampson's green withs from his hands,
And proved ineffectual bands.
And whispered, in accents divine, • The Power that first made thee must form thee anew,
Or glory can never be thine!
Thy soul is all leprous with sin;
Thy conscience itself is unclean !
Can ever in heaven reside;
Or in his bright presence abide !'
When mercy replied, with a smile,
Jehovah can work when he will.'
Was kindled, and flamed in my breast;
To hope I should enter his rest.
To plead for salvation with God,
My pardon and peace sealed with blood !
My bible I read by new light;
And God was my only delight!
A POETIC EPISTLE.
His glorious perfections with pleasure I saw,
Where justice and mercy combined;
Like sun-beams shone forth on my mind!
I felt his omnipotent love;
My portion below and above !
I never on earth can express,
And formed in my heart by his grace!
Expired, when my Surety was seen;
The service of God to begin.
To help me to walk in his light;
Directed my footsteps aright.
With tidings of mercy from heaven;
Or told me how sins were forgiven.
Or light while it shines from above;
And melted my heart into love !
Which first bade me live, and be whole ;
Diffusing new life through my soul.
I scarce could believe it was true;
My soul till that hour never knew.
Yea, heaven in perfection on earth;
Of life from a heavenly birth.
So pleasant to me was the word,
By pointing my thoughts to the Lord.
ANECDOTES, SELECTIO!S, AND GEMS.
The Spirit of Jesus revealed him to me,
The gift of unchangeable love;
My title to mansions above.
And still to his word find him true;
My strength in his ways I renew.
His smile from all care sets me free:
Is glory's bright morning to me.
I hope to behold him above;
And taste all the fruit of his love!
The Man who is equal with God!
Which flows from REDEMPTION BY BLOOD!
And sound his salvation aloud ;
Could bring such a rebel to God! Joseph Swain.
Anecdotes, Selections, and Gems. Joseph SWAIN.—The poetic epistle on the preceding pages was addressed by Mr. Swain to a christian minister in Birmingham, in which town Mr. S. was born in 1761. He removed to London when young, where he indulged in many sins and follies. Having a poetic turn of mind, he wrote several songs and other light pieces. In 1782, he was convinced of the sinfulness of his course, and as stated in the letter, was very apprehensive of divine displeasure. He says: "I then attempted to seek to God by prayer; and was assisted with such a spirit of supplication as till then I was a stranger to. I then had many passages of scripture bronght to my remembrance, wherein I saw myself as a sinner, ånd Christ as a Saviour. Yea, I saw and believed that he died for me, and that I should soon be with him in glory, at the right hand of God. And oh! how did my epraptured soul rejoice in this great salvation at this time! So great were the peace and satisfaction I enjoyed, that I thought I could bear to be confined in the darkest dungeon for ever, provided I inight always feel what I then felt of the presence of God in my soul." “Thus it pleased God to bring Mr. Swain to the knowledge of himself without the use of any external
ANECDOTES, SELECTIONS, AND GEMS.
means, except the bible. It is worthy of devout observation that, under such remarkably unfavourable circumstances, the holy scripture should prove effectual to his conviction and conversion-should make him wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' No sooner was he acquainted with the way of salvation, than he began to warn his companions of their danger; and told them plainly that, if they would not go to heaven with him, he would endeavour to go by himself. An excellent example this for all christians to follow! Reader, has the blessed Redeemer made you a partaker of his great salvation ? Then
Tell to guilty sinners round
And say, 'Behold the way to God!"" He was advised by a friend to attend the ministry of the late Dr. Rippon : “ Accordingly he went, and found the ministry very much blessed to his edification. After having attended a considerable time, and formed a friendly acquaintance among the people, he was desirous of being baptized, and of joining the church; in pursuance of which he was proposed as a candidate for communion : he publicly professed his faith in Jesus Christ; was baptized on May 11, 1783, received into fellowship with that church, and went on his way rejoicing. In the beginning of the year 1784, he instituted a religious meeting at his own house, for prayer, and for the mutual communication of christian experience. The opportunities thence arising were edifying to many, who remember with pleasure those useful and solemn seasons. He likewise belonged to a society meeting in Castle Street, Leicester Fields; in which some of its members used to speak from passages of scripture, and where his endeavours to explain the word of God were very acceptable to those who occasionally attended. At length the church to which he belonged, supposing him to possess talent for the public ministry, tried his gifts, approved of them, and gave him a solemn call to preach the gospel.” This was in 1791. In 1792, he was ordained pastor of a newly-formed baptist church at Walworth. His labours were very acceptable, and three times the place of worship was enlarged. In four years, the church increased from twenty-seven members to two hundred. In labours he was “more abundant," But he was soon removed from this sphere of useful labour. On the 14th of April, 1796, his earthly course terminated; so that he was but in the 36th year of his age when he died. The dying scene was affecting. “He said to Mrs. Swain, 'Oh, my dear, I perceive I have been under a mistake; I thought I was getting better, but I now feel I am very bad. I have been seeking the Lord about my case, and can get no other answer but this-Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.” On seeing her much affected, he said, 'Oh, my dear, dont grieve; the Lord can make you a happy widow. You were happy in the Lord before you ANECDOTES, SELECTIONS, AND GEMS. knew me, and he can make you happy when I am gone.' He reminded her also of a christian friend, who had been greatly supported and comforted under the loss of a valuable husband. He then exclaimed, “Oh, my dear Redeemer! am I coming to thee so soon ? Is my work done? It is just fourteen years since I first knew thee, Lord! If it were thy will, I should rejoice to labour a little longer with thy dear people; yet not my will, but thine be doue !"” His interment in Bunhill Fields was attended by thousands of weeping friends. In the preceding year, he wrote in his diary, -"This has been a week of solemn work in visiting the dying. Three brethren are probably near eternity. Lord, enable ine to profit myself and others by their experience; and uphold them, in sickness and death! Mr. Romaine, and Mr. Clarke of Exeter, are also lately fallen asleep. All these voices call to me, saying, ‘Be thou also ready!” And again, a little after, “Mr. Bentley, of Camberwell, is also fallen asleep in Jesus! I hear that he died very happy. Lord, grant that I may live the life and die the death of the righteous !' A little while ago Dr. Stennett died; and since their decease the aged Mr. Beddome departed; besides many other gospel ministers during last summer.”
'Heaven draws my spirit towards its blissful shore,