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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.
But, neither the danger of hell I was in,

Nor dread of displeasure divine,
Could turn from the love or the practice of sin,

A heart so rebellious as mine.
Too often I vowed, if the Lord would forgive

My many iniquities past,
How holy and just I in future would live,

And merit his favour at last.
But vows, when my passions recovered their fire,

Like Sampson's green withs from his hands,
Gave place to the strength of unholy desire,

And proved ineffectual bands.
Till infinite mercy from Calvary flew,

And whispered, in accents divine, • The Power that first made thee must form thee anew,

Or glory can never be thine!
Thy thoughts are polluted, thy heart is depraved,

Thy soul is all leprous with sin;
Thy passions and powers are by satan enslaved ;

Thy conscience itself is unclean !
No sinner, except he is born from above,

Can ever in heaven reside;
Or meet the pure eyes of his Maker with love,

Or in his bright presence abide !'
Scarce had I objected, 'How this thing be?'

When mercy replied, with a smile,
The thing that's impossible, mortal, with thee,

Jehovah can work when he will.'
That moment a spark of celestial desire

Was kindled, and flamed in my breast;
I wrestled with God, and began to aspire

To hope I should enter his rest.
Amazed at myself, that I dared be so bold,

To plead for salvation with God,
I wondered still more on the cross to behold

My pardon and peace sealed with blood !
Myself and my Saviour I saw with new eyes;

My bible I read by new light;
New passions within me I felt with surprise,

And God was my only delight!

A POETIC EPISTLE.

His glorious perfections with pleasure I saw,

Where justice and mercy combined;
His grace in the gospel-bis truth in the law-

Like sun-beams shone forth on my mind!
With holy complacence, and rapture divine,

I felt his omnipotent love;
As God all-sufficient I knew he was mine-

My portion below and above !
What pleasures I tasted in that sacred hour

I never on earth can express,
When Christ was revealed to my conscience with power,

And formed in my heart by his grace!
The love and the guilt of transgression at once

Expired, when my Surety was seen;
The service of sin I resolved to renounce,

The service of God to begin.
For wisdom and strength I looked up to my Lord,

To help me to walk in his light;
And he, by his Spirit explaining his word,

Directed my footsteps aright.
No sweet silver trumpet saluted my ears

With tidings of mercy from heaven;
No voice of persuasion dissolved me in tears,

Or told me how sins were forgiven.
But all was as silent as springing of flowers,

Or light while it shines from above;
When mercy descended, like soft summer showers,

And melted my heart into love !
Almighty the voice was, yet perfectly still,

Which first bade me live, and be whole ;
New-moulding my passions, persuading my will;

Diffusing new life through my soul.
So great was the change I experienced within,

I scarce could believe it was true;
Such love to my God, and such hatred to sin,

My soul till that hour never knew.
I thought it was glory commencing below,

Yea, heaven in perfection on earth;
When first in my bosom, I felt the pure glow

Of life from a heavenly birth.
As love to the heart, and as light to the eyes,

So pleasant to me was the word,
Which filled me with calm and delightful surprise,

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;
And taught me in Him, as my surety, to sce

My title to mansions above.
Now near fourteen years I have lived on his grace,

And still to his word find him true;
And oft, as I gain a fresh glimpse of liis face,

My strength in his ways I renew.
His frown more than death or destruction I dread;

His smile from all care sets me free:
His mercy full orb'd, when it shines on my head,

Is glory's bright morning to me.
And soon, when my work in his vineyard is done,

I hope to behold him above;
To sit with my Lord on his glorious high throne,

And taste all the fruit of his love!
To Him that is holy, and righteous, and true,

The Man who is equal with God!
To Him all the glory for ever is due,

Which flows from REDEMPTION BY BLOOD!
Oh help me, dear brother, to shout forth his praise,

And sound his salvation aloud ;
For nothing but sovereign, omnipotent grace,

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
What a dear Saviour you have found;
Point them to his redeeming blood,

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,
And bids my beart to things eternal soar;
Earth holds my senses by a thousand strings,
And, when my thoughts would mount, contracts their wings.
From what strange cause springs this peculiar strife ?
I long to die, yet still am fond of life!
I bless the Lord who lends me vital breath;
Yet leap for joy at thought of certain death!
When I look round, how many objects dear
Fix on my eye, and gain upon my ear;
Yea, claim their various stations in my heart,
Nor quit their claim till flesh and spirit part!
- At home, wbat tender cares and sweets combine,
By means of objects ibis fond heart calls mine!
-Abroad, how pleasant is the frequent sight
Of social bliss among the sons of light;
Where many hearts with mutual kindness glow,
Kindled by love divine --'tis heaven below!
Yet, though 'tis heaven's sweet dawn, it helps to bind
To present things the captivated mind:
And he that's one in heart with Zion here,
In view of heaven may drop a parting tear.
But when the Lord himself, with gracious power,
Displays his glories in some favoured hour;
When Love appears supreme upon the throne,
And points the soul to its immortal crown;
Loose fly the strings which held his heart to earth,
Up spring the passions of celestial birth;
And one bright glance of Jesus makes him say,
IVE NONE ON EARTH-IN HEAVEN I'VE NONE BUT THEE !!”

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