"Saved men and women date from the dawn of their true life; not from their first birthday, but from the day wherein they were born again. Their calendar has been altered and amended by a deed of Divine grace."--C. H. S.
"I have sometimes said, when I have become the prey of doubting thoughts, Well, now, I dare not doubt whether there be a God, for I can look back in my Diary, and say, On such a day, in the depths of trouble, I bent my knee to God, and or ever I had risen from my knees, the answer was given me.' "--C. H. S.
Chapter 10 Diary, April to June, 1850 INTRODUCTION, BY MRS. C. H. SPURGEON
Not very long after our marriage, my husband brought to me, one day, a small clasped book, and putting it into my hand with a grave and serious air, he said, "That book contains a record of some of my past spiritual experiences, wifey; take care of it, but I never want to see it again." He never did, and to me also it was a sealed book, for I did not dare to open it; and it has lain, unrevealed, for certainly forty years since the day I first saw it. But now, with reverent hands, I take it from its hiding-place, and, as I look upon the boyish hand-writing, and begin to read the thoughts of my dear one's heart in the bygone years, I wonder whether I can undertake the duty of transcription, whether my eyes will see through the tears which must come, and my fingers will hold the pen without much trembling, and my heart, which loved him so well, will be able to thank God that the past is past, and the struggles and sorrows of earth are for ever forgotten in the ecstasies of eternal glory. Lord, strengthen and help me!
The contents of the little book prove to be a continuous Diary of nearly three months' duration, commencing April 6th, 1850, and ending on June 20th in the same year. As its pages cover the season of baptism, and the young convert's first efforts in service for the Lord, it is full of deep interest and pathos to all who afterward knew and loved the great preacher. I feel that I am justified in at last revealing the long-kept secret of the book, for a perusal of its soul-confessions and holy resolutions can only redound to the glory of God, and show how He was leading His young servant by a way which he knew not. And I believe God would have me do this.
The words of the boy of sixteen are very touching when read in the light of his subsequent marvellous career. As the trunk and branches of the future tree may, in some cases, be seen faintly outlined in the fruit it bears, so we can here discern something of the form and beauty of the character which the Lord was preparing for a glorious service.
How marked is his humility, even though he must have felt within him the stirrings and throes of the wonderful powers which were afterwards developed. "Forgive me, Lord," he says, in one place, "if I have ever had high thoughts of myself"--so early did the Master implant the precious seeds of that rare grace of meekness, which adorned his after life. After each youthful effort at public exhortation, whether it be engaging in prayer, or addressing Sunday-school children, he seems to be surprised at his own success, and intensely anxious to be kept from pride and self-glory, again and again confessing his own utter weakness, and pleading for God-given strength. What deep foundations were laid in this chosen soul, upon what massive pillars of truth and doctrine did God construct the spiritual consciousness of the man who was to do so great a work in the world for his Master! He was truly a, "building fitly framed together", and he grew into "a holy temple in the Lord", "a habitation of God through the Spirit". So young in years, when he wrote these thoughts, yet so old in grace, and possessing an experience in spiritual matters richer and broader than most Christians attain to at an advanced age! How plainly revealed in these pages are the workings and teachings of the Divine Spirit, and how equally clear are the docility, and earnestness, and humility of the pupil! Many of the sentences in the Diary are strangely prophetic of his future position and work--notably these two: "Make me Thy faithful servant, O my God; may I honour Thee in my day and generation, and be consecrated for ever to Thy service!" And again, "Make me to be an eminent servant of Thine, and to be blessed with the power to serve Thee, like Thy great servant Paul!"
In these breathings, too, we see where the secret of his great strength lay. He believed and trusted God absolutely, and his faith was honoured in a God-like fashion. Deeply realizing his own weakness, he rested with child-like and complete dependence on his Lord. And God carried him, as a father bears his little one in his arms; and God's Spirit dwelt in him, to teach him all things. His whole heart was given to God and His service, God's promises were verities to him; and as "He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself", it was with both hands that He heaped gifts and grace upon His dear servant until the time came to receive him into glory.
Perhaps of greatest price among the precious things which this little book reveals, is the beloved author's personal and intense love to the Lord Jesus. He lived in His embrace; like the apostle John, his head leaned on Jesu's bosom. The endearing terms used in the Diary, and never discontinued, were not empty words they were the overflowings of the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost. One of the last things he said to me at Mentone, before unconsciousness had sealed his dear lips, was this, "O Wifey, I have had such a blessed time with my Lord!" And it was always so, the Saviour was as real to him as if his eyes could look upon Him, and it was his delight to dwell in the very presence of God, in his daily, hourly life. Full of a sweet pain has been the task I set myself to write out these details of my dear one's life for three short months, but if anyone shall be the gainer by it, through being drawn nearer to God, and having dearer views of Divine truth, I shall deem the pain a pleasure, and the sorrow will bring me joy.
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THE DIARY 1850
O great and unsearchable God, who knowest my heart, and triest all my ways; with a humble dependence upon the support of Thy Holy Spirit, I yield up myself to Thee; as Thy own reasonable sacrifice, I return to Thee Thine own. I would be for ever , unreservedly, perpetually Thine; whilst I am on earth, I would serve Thee; and may I enjoy Thee and praise Thee for ever! Amen.
Feb 1, 1850. CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON
1850--A BLESSED YEAR OF JUBILEE
April 6.--I have had a blessed day of refreshing from the Lord, and from the glory of His face. Went round my Station District, and had a talk with several people. I trust the Lord is working here. Had some serious thoughts about baptism. "The Lord is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation."
April 7.--Not well; the body bears the soul down. Heard Mr. S. from Gen. xxii. 8; could not take it in to heart, headache would not let me. Arminianism does not suit me now. If I were long to be so heavy as I now am, I could scarcely live. Evening, could not attend to the sermon; was happier without it. I feasted all the time on--
Cannot think how Mr. S. could say that Esau, he trusted, was converted, when the Lord says, "Esau have I hated."
April 8.--Walked out after breakfast, never saw more plainly the sovereignty of God's will. He has called me; I feel sure that He will carry me to glory. Not well. O God of grace, take me home when Thou pleasest! It is, "Mercy, mercy, mercy," from first to last.
April 9.--Happy again to-day; if such days continue, earth and Heaven will be but one;--but what have I written? I know I have sinned this day; in Heaven, I cannot. Oh, to be holy, to be like God! I trust I shall be one day. O glorious hour, O blest abode, when I am near, and like my God. Jesus, how can I e'er forget Thee, Thou life of my delights? Hold Thou me by Thy free Spirit, and pour down upon me more love to Thee! Can hardly pray, yet, O my God, remember A---! Oh, that I could do more for God! "By grace ye are saved."
April 10.--Much better in health. All more than hell, is mercy. How small is my sphere, yet what a great Being condescended to fix my state before I had a being! All things are ordered by God. Blessed be His name, though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Sin is all cleansed by Jesu's blood. Doubts and fears will soon come. "Desire of my soul," prepare me to meet them. The Lord's presence has not departed yet; had I the tongue of an archangel, I could not praise Him enough for this. I hope all is well at home with my dear mother; I must expect the cross soon. "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me."
April 11.--Have had sweet thoughts upon, "I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine." How can one of His sheep be lost if He knows all His own?
I have read to-day of the iniquities of some in high places. Father, forgive them, and grant that Thy name may not be blasphemed through them! O my Beloved, sooner may I perish everlastingly than thus dishonour Thee, Thou sole desire of my heart! Heard Mr. S. from Psalm lxviii. 18-20. I love to hear him give all the honour of our salvation to God. Shepherd of Israel, guide Thy flock into all truth! Quicken me, and make me love Thee more and more!
April 12.--Earthly things have engaged too much of my thoughts this day. I have not been able to fix my attention entirely upon my Saviour. Yet, even yet, the Lord has not hidden His face from me. Though tempted, I am not cast down; tried, but not overcome; truly it is of the Lord's sovereign mercy. I would desire again this day to make a fresh application to the sin-atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse away my sins. O God, do Thou keep me down, and then I need fear no fall! O visit Zion, and preserve Thy Church; let her yet shine forth in glory! April showers have been coming down to-day; the Lord does not forget His promises; Jesus took my heart: "or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib." "Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon;" I would be ever with Thee, O my spotless, fairest Beloved! Daily meet me, for Thy embrace is Heaven; sanctify me, prepare me, help me to bring forth fruit, and to be Thine for ever!
April 13.--Did not feel so tired at the end of this week; one reason is that every day has been Sunday with me. Blessed be the Shepherd, I walk now beside the still waters. What events are transpiring in the world! Things are quite at a crisis in the Church of England. I love my little work; Lord, be with me! "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" Trust in Him, my soul; follow hard after Him.
April 14.-Heard Mr. S., this morning, from 3 John 4--the great subject of justification by faith. Who could dare to hope of going to Heaven, if works are the price? I could not; it would be like offering me a possession in the sun, if I could jump up to it, and take it in my hand! Afternoon--some of last Sunday over again. Esau does not give us a very interesting sermon. Evening subject was, Decision. I am quite encouraged. Hope I shall soon have an answer from home upon baptism.
I would not desert Him in any one point, but keep close to Him.
April 15.--Quite well to-day, and tolerably happy. First day of the races. O God, Thou makest me to differ! Had a nice prayer-meeting. "Also unto Thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy." What else have I to trust to? Mr. P. came in this evening, and talked till past eleven, so that I lost some of the time I should have spent in devotion.
April 16.--This evening, the friends at the Hythe will be assembled. Grant Thy gracious blessing! Read of the land Beulah. I have been there, and that, too, before coming to Giant Despair. Comfort we must not always have, or I am afraid I should go to sleep; I am now getting drowsy in spirit. Strong Deliverer, keep my eyes open! My soul seems to long after the flesh-pots of Egypt, and that after eating Heavenly manna; help and forgive me, O my Saviour!
April 17.--Read some of "Fuller upon Antinomianism". My God, what a gulf is near me! I think I can say that I hate this religion; I would desire to love God, and to be as holy as my Father-God Himself. There is a little cloud betwixt me and my Sun of righteousness but I doubt not that He still shines upon me. He has not left me. I am a living miracle, a walking wonder of grace that I am alive at all; much more, following on. May I from this time live nearer to Him, and honour His name more!
April 18.--I trust the cloud has burst. I have seen some few gleams of sunshine to-day. I will walk on in His strength, whether it be through clouds or not. Went to chapel, very few there. I have been enabled to renew my strength; may I now run in the ways of the Lord! I begin to wonder why father has not written; he has good reason, no doubt. Lord, strengthen Thy people, and revive Thy Church by Thine enlivening grace!
April 19.--I do not live near enough to God. I have to lament my coldness and indifference in the ways of the Lord. O God of restoring grace, visit Thy servant in the midst of the days! I will trust Him, I cannot doubt His power or His love. Yes.
I shall yet have another visit, and see again His smiling face. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you."
April 20.--Went round with my tracts; could not feel the Spirit of the Lord upon me. I seemed to have a clog upon my feet and my tongue. I have richly deserved this, for I have not prayed, or studied my Bible as I ought. I confess mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Mercy! it is all mercy! Wash me anew, O Saviour, in Thy sin-atoning blood!
I cannot perish if God protects me. I can do nothing. Weak and sinful worm am I.
April 21.--This morning, Mr. S. preached from 2 Thess. iii, 3. This is the great hope of a Christian, the main comfort of my life--the Lord will do it. Afternoon, Matt. ix. 22. Here again it is the Saviour's working; earthly physicians could not do it. Blessed art Thou, O God, for this great salvation! Evening, 3 John 4. I am not very much interested with these twice-preached sermons. On the whole, I have enjoyed much this day; little have I deserved it, nay, not at all. No merit in me, I am sure; vilest of the vile, for so long shutting mine eyes to this great salvation and glorious state of God's people.
April 22.--The Lord has not forsaken me. Went this evening to the prayer-meeting; engaged in prayer. Why should I fear to speak of my only Friend? I shall not be timid another time, I hope the Lord has helped me in this; He will in other things. The spirit is more brisk to-day, more soaring, and more enchanted with that Saviour who is the life of all my joy. Faith is the precious gift of God, and love is His gift; it is all of God from first to last.
April 23.-My prayer is in some measure answered; I trust the work has again revived. No desert is there in me; 'tis all of mercy, I must acknowledge. I feel that I am dependent on the Lord for all, for growing grace, and for living grace. I have my daily supply, and sure enough, I do not have two days' portion at a time. 'Tis a mercy to feel one's own dependence, and to be able to trust the Lord for all. Sing, O my soul, sing, for the Lord has redeemed thee, thou art safe!
April 24.--Letter from Mr. Cantlow. Baptism on Thursday week. God help me to live worthy of Him, and that my open confession of Him may make me more diligent! Letter from Mr. Leeding better than I had thought. Truly, O Lord, my lot is in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage. I am to do as I please about baptism. Never do I lose anything by zeal for the truth, and close walk with my Saviour; rather, I gain everything. Lord, Thou art my life; guide me, and allot my portion on this earth according to Thine own wisdom and love!
April 25.--Went to Burwell. Heard the examination of the children. Education is indeed a talent from the Lord. What a weight of responsibility rests upon me! I trust I shall one day employ this more to His honour. A letter from father; in truth, he is rather hard upon me. When I followed my conscience, and did not presumptuously break through the fences of the Lord about His Church, I might have expected this. My business is to follow my Saviour and not to pick out smooth paths for myself. If in any measure I have walked worthily, I would desire to give all the glory to the great Author of my salvation. I now feel so bold that, if the devil were to reproach me, I could answer him. Lord, I would ascribe it all to Thee, that I have not yet turned back, and that no enemies have yet made me to quail with terror! Onward may I press, with Heaven itself in view, trusting my salvation entirely in the hands of my Jesus, my life, my all in all!
April 26.--How my father's fears lest I should trust to baptism stir up my soul! My God, Thou knowest that I hate such a thought! No, I know that, could I from this day be as holy as God Himself, yet I could not atone for past sin. I have had a pretty good day. Fear, Mistrust, and Timorous are yet at sword's length. May I be Valiant-for-Truth, and live and die in my Master's glorious war!
April 27.--Fear, begone! Doubts, fall back! In the name of the Lord of hosts I would set up my banner. Come on, ye demons of the pit, my Captain is more than a match for you; in His name, armed with His weapons, and in His strength, I dare defy you all. How glorious 'twould be to die by the side of such a Leader! I am a worm, and no man, a vanity, a nothing; yet hath He set His love upon me, and why should I tremble or fear? I have been round with my tracts; may the good seed prosper, and take root! I have again to lament that I do not live so near to God as I ought. Blessed be the name of the Lord for that measure of grace which He has given me; I can trust Him for the rest.
April 28.--Mr. S. addressed us both morning and evening from John i. 5. I could not fix upon the subject, so as to see the train of his thought. Afternoon, how I did rejoice when I brought a man to chapel, and a boy to the Sunday-school! It is the Lord! By this encouragement, in Thy strength, I pledge myself to live yet more for Thee, to fight more constantly, and to work harder. Hold Thou me up! Support me, for I can do nothing. The Lord has been with me to-day, though my heart has not been in such transports as heretofore. I will follow through shade as well as sunshine. Saviour, dwell with me; Thine I am, help me to serve Thee, and adore Thee, world without end!
April 29.--Went to prayer-meeting. Thought upon Matt. viii. 20. When I have the presence of the Lord, nothing is a hardship to me. I would love to lodge with my Master, and to endure all things for Him. Let not my first love chill. I have no fire within to keep it alight, Thou alone canst do this, my Lord and my God. I would anew devote myself to Thee, and glory only in Thy cross, and in Thy shame.
April 30.--Another month has passed, time rolls away, I am nearer home. This month has brought me much holy enjoyment, much privilege; how little I have done; when compared with what Jesus has done for me! What a slothful servant am I of so good a Master! Roll on, ye months; bring joy or sorrow as ye will, if God be with me, all is mine! How much like Vanity Fair is this place (Newmarket)! It is crowded with visitors; I saw two engines required to take them to London. Lord, give me strength, like the engine, to go straight on, guided by Thee, my great Conductor!
May 1.--Another month now dawns upon me. I have lived through one, I will bless the Lord for it, and trust Him for this also. Help me to live more to Thy glory, and to honour Thee in my daily walk and conversation. The time of my baptism approaches. May I die to the world, and live alone for Thee! I would serve Thee, O Lord, but I feel a weight, a law working against this law, and holding me in partial bondage; let Thy grace break every fetter that withholds my heart from Thee!
May 2.--Went to the lecture, very few there, not enough for a church-meeting. Lord, revive Thy Church in Newmarket! A far happier day than I deserve, I have been able to soar a little, and see the Canaan which I desire--though with a feeble eye. To-morrow will be a solemn day. I have been enabled more than usual to pour out my heart in prayer. I need support now, and I feel that I shall have it. How safe are all God's people! Not one of the least of them can be lost, the oath and promise of the Lord cannot be broken. 'Tis a sin to think that God, a God of truth, will ever desert His people; it is a shame, a blasphemy. "Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God." "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
May 3.--My mother's birthday. May the sun of heaven shine upon her, and revive her, even as it has done upon the natural world this day! Started with Mr. Cantlow at eleven, reached Isleham at one o'clock. In the afternoon, I was privileged to follow my Lord, and to be buried with Him in baptism. Blest pool! Sweet emblem of my death to all the world! May I, henceforward, live alone for Jesus! Accept my body and soul as a poor sacrifice, tie me unto Thee; in Thy strength I now devote myself to Thy service for ever; never may I shrink from owning Thy name!
I vow to glory alone in Jesus and His cross, and to spend my life in the extension of His cause, in whatsoever way He pleases. I desire to be sincere in this solemn profession, having but one object in view, and that to glorify God. Blessing upon Thy name that Thou hast supported me through the day; it is Thy strength alone that could do this. Thou hast--Thou wilt. Thou hast enabled me to profess Thee, help me now to honour Thee, and carry out my profession, and live the life of Christ on earth!
May 4.--Reached Newmarket at 9; feel high in spirit, have been round with my tracts; help me to serve Thee, O my Lord! There is a report in the church that Mr. S. and I have been on the heath. Mr. A. told me of it very gruffly. Mr. H. will not commune because so many have been to the races. My master knows, I have no need to tell Him I am innocent. Though I be cast out and rejected of the disciples, the Lord will not cast off one of His chosen. I can, in this respect, wash my hands in innocency.
May 5.--A third, but very strong sermon, from John i. 5. How ought the people of God to be a peculiar people, zealous for good works! Lord, help me to honour Thee! This afternoon, partook of the Lord's supper; a royal feast for me, worthy of a King's son. Mr. S. addressed me before all the people. Sunday-school for the first time, and went visiting the people with friend M. I quite like my new work. Teachers' prayer-meeting after evening service, from 8 to 9; five of us engaged in prayer. Went to Mr. B.'s to supper, talked with young C., stopped to family prayer, past 10 o'clock! I have been too excited to-day, amidst the busy whirl of constant action, to feel myself so solid as I could wish. Rock of Ages, bind me to Thyself! I can feel the bad law working yet. All is of God, He will perform His promise.
May 6.--Went to prayer-meeting. Missionary meeting in the afternoon, upon the glory of Christ's kingdom. "He must reign." Saviour, come and extend Thy kingdom over all the world, sway Thy sceptre over all hearts! Make me Thy temple, and honour me by making me an instrument of good in Thy hands! Lord, save me from pride and from sloth, my two great enemies; keep me, oh, keep and preserve me! I am an erring sheep. It is in Thy power that I trust, upon Thy strength I rely; I am less than nothing, hold me by Thine own right hand.
May 7.--I have again to confess my lukewarmness; I fear I am losing my first love. Coldness and deadness seem to be natural to me; I have no inward warmth, it all comes from the Sun of righteousness, by rich, free, and sovereign grace. What a mercy that I have not been altogether frozen to death, and left to perish in my sinful distance from God! Lord, help me to follow Thee, and may Thy right hand uphold me! Strength, O Lord, I need! I would not fear, but trust in Thine omnipotence.
May 8.--Teachers' business meeting. Too much joking and levity to agree with my notions of what a Sunday-school teacher should be. Lord, keep me from the evil of the world, let me not be led away; but if these are Thy people, help me to serve Thee better than they, and to be more like my Master! O my God, keep me ever near to Thee, help me to live more to Thy glory, and to honour Thee more than I have hitherto done, to live alone for Thee, and to spend and be spent in Thy service! Preserve, perfect, keep, and bless me! "Keep me, oh, keep me, King of kings, Beneath Thine own almighty wings!"
May 9.--Prayer-meeting. Mr. S. has resigned. Well, we have a better Pastor, who cannot, who will not leave us. Truly, I have sunk very low; my lamp seems going out in obscurity. Lord, fan it, keep it burning yet! I know that I can never perish; yet be pleased, my God, to visit me again, to revive and uphold me, so that I may honour Thee more; make me to be an eminent servant of Thine, and to be blessed with the power to serve Thee, like Thy great servant Paul.
May 10.--Blessed be the name of the Lord, He has not left His servant, or turned away from His chosen! Though I have often sinned, and neglected the sweet privilege of prayer, yet He hath not deserted me. Had a letter from Mr. L. I hope that the Lord will bless him, and give him many souls as seals for his hire. I wonder how they are at home. Time flies away. Seasons come and go. Lord, grant me Thy Holy Spirit to enable me to improve each moment! I am "bought with a price".
May 11.--Went round my district. I trust the Lord is moving upon the face of this people. It is Thy work, O Lord; accomplish it! I feel encouraged to go on in the ways of the Lord, and still to spend my spare time in His service. Prosper Thou the work of my hands! My own soul is encouraged, my life is revived, and I hope soon to enjoy the presence of the Lord.
May 12.--One of the days of the Son of man--happy day when Sabbath shall never end! Went to Sunday-school at 9, stayed till service at 10:30, out at 12:15; Sunday-school at 1:45, service 3 till 4, visiting till 5. The day has thus been closely occupied. The morning's discourse was upon I Corinthians iv. 7. Truly, I have nothing which I have not received; I can boast of no inherent righteousness. Had the Lord not chosen me, I should not have chosen Him. Grace! Grace! Grace! 'Tis all of grace. I can do nothing, I am less than nothing, yet what a difference--once a slave of hell, now the son of the God of Heaven! Help me to walk worthy of my lofty and exalted vocation! Afternoon, Psalm xlviii. 14, "This God is my God for ever and ever; HE WILL be my Guide even unto death." I can wish for no better Guide, or more lasting Friend; He shall lead me in His own way. Lord, permit me not to choose the road, allow me not to wander into By-path meadow; rather carry me straight to glory! Evening, Acts xvii. 11. The Word of God is my chart. Lord, give me more of Berean nobility; grant me Thy grace to search the Scriptures, and to become wise unto life eternal! Thine is the gift, I cannot do it without Thee. Again would I give myself anew to Thee; bind Thou the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of Thine altar! Let me not go away from Thee; hold me firmly in Thy gracious arms! Let Thine omnipotence be my protection, Thy wisdom my direction, Thy grace my salvation. "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!"
May 13.--A day of great, unmerited mercy. Happiness cannot exist here without some cloy. How sweet the joys of religion, of communion with God! Letter from home. All well. I thank Thee, Father, for such good tidings; bless me, even me also, O my Father! I would devote myself to Thee; it is my highest privilege to be able to give myself to Thee. Thy service is the greatest pleasure, the most untiring delight; I would, more than ever, wear Thy livery, be known as Thy servant, and become one of Thy peculiar people.
May 14.--In the evening, enjoyed an ecstasy of delight. I seemed transported, and able to fly beyond the bounds of this poor atom of an earth. Spiritual realities were present to view, while the flesh, like Abraham's servant, tarried at the foot of the mountain. How much do I owe; how little good do I deserve, yea, none at all!
Blessed be Thy name for evermore! Bless the Lord, O my soul; follow hard after Him, love and serve Him!
May 15.--How feeble I am! I am not able to keep myself near to God. I am compelled to acknowledge my own deadness. I confess how greatly I have strayed from Thee, Thou great Fountain of living waters; but "Since I've not forgot Thy law, Restore Thy wandering sheep." Revive me in the midst of the years, and make Thy face to shine upon me! How much do I deserve eternal damnation! But salvation is not of desert, but of free grace. This is the plank whereon I hope to float to glory, when this world shall be a wreck, and perish in the vast abyss.
May 16.--Went to chapel. Sermon on Psalm xxiii. 3. How much do I need this restoration! If the Lord does not do it, I cannot. "Turn out Thine enemy and mine." I would be passive, submitting to Thy sovereign will; Thou wilt do what is right. Lord, keep me; I will wait Thy time of revival; teach me both to work and wait, expecting and hoping that Thou wilt soon come, and restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation! I am in a low condition, yet I am eternally safe. He will lead me.
May 17.--It is now a fortnight since my baptism. How solemnly have I devoted myself to Thee! I would now repeat my vows, and again solemnly devote myself to Thee.
In His strength I can do all things. Thou hast sworn to save, and death and hell cannot thwart Thine everlasting purpose. Hold me! Thou hast blessed me, Thou alone canst do it. If Thou dost not save, I must perish. Thou wilt not leave me, Thou hast showed me a portion of the glory of Thy face.
May 18.--Station District. When I first set out, I was all but dumb concerning spiritual things. Soon I felt the working of the Lord in some degree. Blessed be His holy name for ever and ever, and let all the redeemed say, Amen! His is the power. Beloved, Thine is enduring beauty! Thou art glorious to behold. Give me more of the entrancing visions of Thy face, the looks of Thy love, and more constant communion with Thee! Lord, move Thou upon the earth, and bring in Thine elect from among the condemned sinners of the world!
May 19.--Went to the Sunday-school. Mr. S. preached, this morning, from 2 Cor. iii. 6-8. How glorious is the ministration of life, how beautiful the tables of stone, when enclosed in the blessed ark of the covenant! Afternoon, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Evening, "What is truth?" As to interest, the sermons to-day have been a failure. Addressed the children upon Prayer. Went visiting with Mr. M., six fresh children. Evening at Mr. B.'s. Engaged in prayer at his family altar. To-day has been a sunny day with me. The Lord has visited me from on high. Rejoice, O my soul, leap for joy, renew thy strength; run, run, in the name of the Lord! He is with me, He has been with me. Weakness He has made strength! Mighty to save, Thou shalt have all my noblest songs ! Let Thy grace constrain me to love Thee, and live for Thee! I am buried with my Lord and Saviour; may I be crucified to the world, and die daily! How sure is it that Thy yoke is easy, and Thy burden is light! I can do all things through Christ Jesus.
May 20.--Went to the prayer-meeting, and engaged in prayer. How inexhaustible is the source from whence my life proceeds! How boundless the store from whence my provision comes! I must be saved, for Omnipotence has undertaken it. Another glorious day, another visit of His reviving grace, blessed be the name of the Lord! The service of the Lord were a happy service, even if such enjoyment as this was the only reward. How sweet are the visits of His grace, sweeter than honey and the honey-comb!
May 21.--Glorious day, happy were all like this! Oh, the safety of a Christian, as sure, but not so blest, as any saint in Heaven! Lord, how can I leave Thee? To whom, or whither should I go? Thou centre of my love, all glorious names in one, Thou brightest, sweetest, fairest One, that eyes have seen or angels known, I trust to Thee for salvation; without Thee, I can do nothing. I am utter weakness, Thou must do it all, or I shall perish! Love of loves, all love excelling, fix my wandering heart on Thee!
May 22.--My weakness is my greatest strength, for then I trust alone on Jesus, when I feel my own dependence. I am an earthen vessel, I have been among the pots of the unregenerate; make me now a vessel for Thy use! Thy blood is my trust, I am washed; who shall now blacken me so as not to leave me spotless at the last? Joy, joy unspeakable, rapture divine, I fly beyond the bounds of earth, my Husband folds me in His arms, I am His, and He is mine, my glorious Prince, Redeemer, Love!
May 23.--Went to chapel, very few there. "He restoreth my soul." The same subject again! How true is this, how has He revived me! Short, but glorious, are the days of my refreshing--worthy of years of sorrow and distress. O my Beloved, did my way lie over the embers of hell all my life, didst Thou but show Thyself, I would rush through the fire to meet Thee! I have not been quite so ecstatic as for some days past. I am the Lord's for ever, how much do I owe to Him! My Advocate, Brother, Husband, let not my first love chill and grow cold! Keep me and preserve in Thy hands!
May 24.--A day of undeserved joy. I am not altogether banished from the presence of the Lord. Though He slay me, I cannot but trust Him, since I have had such tokens of His love. Lord, when in darkness and distress, when my head is bowed down, then return unto Thy servant to encourage and support him! For ever, oh, for ever, lashed to the Ark, and safe from the floods, I shall get at last upon the terra firma of glory! Oh, let me not dishonour Thee! Never may I bring a disgrace upon the cause of Christ! Keep me! and I shall be infinitely safe, and rest securely.
May 25.--Free grace, sovereign love, eternal security are my safe-guards; what shall keep me from consecrating all to Thee, even to the last drop of my blood! Went to my district with tracts, a woman gave me 24 new ones. I fear Mr. T. is doing much harm by telling the people that the Lord's Supper will save them. Work, Lord, work! Thou hast encouraged me; may I not be disappointed! "Bless the Lord, O my soul." The Covenant is my trust, the agreement signed between my Elder Brother and the Almighty standeth sure. "None shall pluck them out of My hand."
May 26.--Went round for the children. Sunday-school in the morning. Mr. S. preached from, "All these things are against me." Stayed in the chapel the dinner-time, had a sweet season of prayer and communion with God. Afternoon, Jacob's consecration of himself at Bethel. I would give myself in the same manner to Thee, my best-loved King. Evening subject, Paul's great labours. Oh, could I emulate such a man, I should be the greatest on this earth!
May 27.--Life of my soul, forgive me when I am so blind as to look upon an earthly object, and forget Thine own Divine beauties! Oh, for a love as strong as death, fierce as hell, and lasting as eternity!
May 28.--Thou hast hedged me about with thorns so that I cannot get out; this is my comfort. What name can I devise for Thee, O Beloved, equal to Thy desert? All beauties joined in one perfection, "Thou art all fair, my Love, there is no spot in Thee." Thou didst die for me, and shall not I live for Thee? What a love is that of Jesus to me, surpassing knowledge! I can do nothing in return, but give Thee my worthless self. What! shall I dare to doubt Thy love? Can I conceive that Thou wilt leave me? Yes, I may sin so as to distrust Thee; but Thou wilt never let me go. No thief can steal away Thy precious purchase; never, never, can I be lost. Redeemed and purchased; then, how can I be snatched away? How is my soul a battlefield between the corruptions of nature and the principle of grace! They tear up the earth of my soul with the trampling of their armies; but I cannot be destroyed.
May 29.--To the Lord belongeth strength, He has given me my portion. He putteth His treasure in earthen vessels. How happy am I to be one of His chosen, His elect, in whom His soul delighteth! But I do not live up to my Heavenly calling; I could not at all without the Lord, He has helped--He will help--this is my comfort. His everlasting promises are my rest, my bread, my support. Make me Thy faithful servant, O my God; may I honour Thee in my day and generation, and be consecrated for ever to Thy service!
May 30.--The stormy commotion has somewhat passed away; the sun is still shining, though a cloud may pass between. I desire more constant communion with God. Went to church-meeting, had some nice cheering conversation with old Mrs. A. Two candidates proposed; we shall have no Ordinance next Sunday. The Lord can and will feed us without it. He has kept me, and He will. The strife in my soul is now hushed, peace returns as a river upon the dry places.
May 31.--Weakness am I in every point, I cannot keep myself in the least. Forgive me that I have tried it! I would now come, naked, stript, exhausted, dead. I would cry, "Lash me tighter, firmer, to Thy free-grace raft of life!" Mercy is all I ask for--continued mercy. Those whom He once loves, He loves to the end; He has once loved me, I am now secure. May the live coal within be shown to the world by the burning flames of love to Thee! May that love burn up the stubble and sin!
June 1.--A new month; time soon glides away. How much more ought I to do this month than last! Desire of my heart, keep me nearer to Thy bosom this month! Went to South District. Talked with a woman who says there are contradictions in the Bible. Some good may be doing. He that can work, will work; and who shall hinder Him? In the Lord's time it shall be accomplished; His time is best. Arise, O Sun of righteousness, why should this people lie in darkness?
June 2.--Heard Mr. J. the first part of the day, Num. xxi. 4. Interesting, but rather too weak. Afternoon, Rev. xix.12. Many crowns indeed does my Lord deserve; crowns of glory shall be around His sacred, blessed head. Evening, I John v. 4. Strong meat; the Lord has sent the manna down this evening. "Overcometh the world!" Glorious victory, amazing conquest, triumph Divine; and shall I, with such a promise, dare to doubt the power of God to keep, and guide, and preserve me? Had a large class at Sunday-school, gave an address upon Death--the dreadful sword hanging by a single hair above the head of the ungodly. Had tea at Mr. B.'s, and combated with him for what I consider "the form of sound words". Prayer-meeting after evening service. Seven present, six of us engaged in prayer. Bless the Sunday-school, great King! Honour thy Master, O my soul; live for Him, live in Him! I am a prince; ought I not to be a good soldier, and fight for my Lord? Give me, lend me a sword, O God, and strength to wield it; let my foes and Thine be as furious as lions, Thy sword shall destroy them!
June 3.--Prayer-meeting, engaged in prayer. Lord, when shall Thy set time to favour Zion come? When shall Thine elect be gathered in? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" For ever, yes, for ever, safe. Rejoice, rejoice, O my soul, and let thy joy constrain thee to work more earnestly and more zealously for Him! Redeemed and purchased, I am not my own. Letter from grandfather. How glad I am he does not differ!
June 4.--I have had evidence this day of the changeableness of all mortal things. How little does it matter to me, so that my eternal inheritance is secure! Lord, help me now to mount my watch-tower against pride and sloth! Keep me always upon the look-out, lest an enemy should come unawares; forgive me, if I have ever had high thoughts of myself! Thou makest me to feel my weakness in every part; may I now trust and rely upon the arm of Omnipotence, the mercies of the Lord! Give strength, Lord, strength!
June 5.--Awake, my soul, record the mercies of the Lord!
Mercy, I breathe Another's air, I am a tenant of this earth at my Master's will; sovereign grace has kept me hitherto, upon sovereign grace I now rely. What sweet moments have I had in answer to prayer; blessed be the Lord for His rich mercy thus bestowed upon me! I would now live in close communion with my King, and feast upon the riches of His love.
June 6.--Prayer-meeting. Mr. S. spoke to us upon the Babylonian Captivity. Teachers' meeting after the service. What a want of spirituality and vital godliness! O Lord, give me life; increase the vital spark, fan it to a flame! I can never perish, yet would I keep upon my watch-tower, for my enemies are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred. Help me to hate sin, and pride, and sloth! I live only as Thou givest me life. I have not one atom of life of my own, I must perish if Thou desert me for one moment.
June 7.--How manifold are Thy mercies toward me, O Lord! When I think of the great salvation which has been worked out for me, and remember that Heaven is secure, it seems too good to be true. Yet do I now believe Thy promise; may I now be entirely Thine, Thy glory my only aim! Could I but be like Paul, how honoured should I be! Happy is the man whom Thou teachest, O Lord! I am happy; how can I be otherwise, since my Beloved has looked upon me, and I have seen His glorious face?
June 8.--Could not burn with zeal as oft I have done. When, Lord, wilt Thou arise, and let Thy power be known and felt? How sweet to flap my wings to Heaven, with others following me; then lay my crown beneath His feet, and call Him Lord of all! He is deserving of all honour and praise; dominion and power are His due, and He shall have them. Many honours on His ever-blessed head! Worthy is the Lamb who has died for me. All glorious is my Beloved.
June 9.--Mr. S. preached. Acts xvi.19. Did not hear to profit. Afternoon, "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" Did not hear enough about the Beloved. Evening, "Prepare to meet thy God." Oh, what a mercy to be prepared!
Felt rather hurt by Mr. C., he does not act quite rightly; but I hereby forgive him. I desire to look alone to Jesus, and regard His glory only. I am too proud, I am weak in every point; keep me, for I have no strength! I would look up to Thee--the Strong--for strength. I am Thine, keep me!
June 10.--Letter from dear mother. Mr. S. made her his text at the prayer-meeting. Engaged in prayer. Have not been able to be much in private prayer to-day. The joy of my Lord, however, is not gone. I can yet trust in the God of my salvation. If I ever forget Thee, let my right hand forget her fellow. What! has He done so much for me, and shall I ever leave Him? No---
June 11.--Prayer seems like labour to me, the chariot wheels drag heavily; yet they are not taken off. I will still rely upon almighty strength; and, helpless, throw myself into the arms of my Redeemer. "Leave, ah, leave me not alone!" "I will never leave Thee." I shall yet walk the golden street of the New Jerusalem, I shall yet see His beauteous face. He loved me before the foundations of the earth," before I was created or called by grace.
June 12.--The Lord is my Helper, He shall plead my cause. I would desire to record the gratitude I feel for the sparing mercies of the Lord, but especially for His great grace in electing me, by the sovereign counsels of His love, to be one of His redeemed ones. What! shall I not live for Him, shall I keep back a single particle of my heart, and of myself, from my charming Redeemer, my King, Husband, Brother, Friend? No; oh, give me strength to say, "I will never dishonour Thee"!
June 13.--Dangers are around me, Satan stands in the way; I have no hope but in the Lord, no safety but in keeping straight on in the Heavenly road. In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, and inexhaustible mines of eternal love are mine; the Lord reserves them for His chosen people. Went to prayer-meeting. Tried to address my Lord in prayer. Come, my Beloved, Thou art ever mine; leave me not, O do not forsake me, my King, my Saviour! Saved everlastingly!
June 14.--Examination. Mr. M. gave me 10s. for the Missionary Society. I would thank the Lord for thus opening his hand to do good. Gave a Missionary speech. Lord, keep Thy servant low and humble at Thy feet! How prone am I to pride and vain-glory! Keep me always mindful that I have nothing which I have not received; tis grace, free, sovereign grace that has made me to differ. Why should I be chosen an elect vessel? Not that I deserve it, I am sure; but it is rich love.
June 15.--Went round my S. District and divided my stock amongst the people, and now, Lord, I desire to commend them to Thy keeping; look upon them with pity, let them not be as sheep without a shepherd! Let Thy work go on and prosper among this people! I can do nothing; how is it that I have lived so long in my spiritual life? It is by sovereign power I stand, by Omnipotence I shall be supported. "My grace is sufficient for thee." I trust in Him; He will perfect His own work.
June 16.--Old Mr. W. preached; could not hear him, he spoke so low. Was set upon by him and Mr. S. Lord, help me to take firm hold of the truth, and never yield an inch! Addressed the Sunday-school children. Oh, may I be kept humble! Pride dwells in my heart. I am now to leave Newmarket; perhaps, for ever. What a scene of changes is this world! How blest to have a house above the skies, eternal in the Heavens!
June 17.--Left Newmarket at 6. Reached Stambourne about 12. Grandfather quite well. I have had journeying mercies to-day. This life is a journey; I know that I shall one day reach the blessed end, in bliss, unfading bliss. What can I write equal to the theme of sovereign grace? It is a miracle, a perfect miracle, that God should so love man as to die for him, and to choose him before the foundation of the world.
June 19.--My birthday. Sixteen years have I lived upon this earth, and yet I am only--scarcely six months old! I am very young in grace. Yet how much time have I wasted, dead in trespasses and sins, without life, without God, in the world! What a mercy that I did not perish in my sin! How glorious is my calling, how exalted my election, born of the Lord--regenerate! Help me more than ever to walk worthily, as becomes a saint!
June 20.--Truly my lot is cast in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage. I can love religion now in the sunshine; may I love it and prize it under all circumstances! Storms have raged around me; yet, blessed be my Father's name, I have now some peace! "But more the treacherous calm I dread, than tempests breaking overhead." Let me not be left even here; let Thy grace still flow into my heart! O Lord, my King, reign in me, and be glorified by me! May it please Thee to dwell in such a bramble-bush as I am, so that, though burning, I may not be consumed! Ordered in all things and sure is the everlasting covenant of redeeming love. For ever settled and eternally complete in Him is my salvation. May it be completed in myself, and may I grow up to be a man in Christ Jesus, a perfect man, prepared for the inheritance of the saints in light! Oh, that my spirituality may be revived! My matchless Immanuel, let me see once more Thy face in the temple of my heart! May I know the joy, and have the faith of God's elect; may I rejoice in free and sovereign grace, saving me from the guilt and power of sin! Grace is a glorious theme, above the loftiest flights of the most soaring angel, or the most exalted conceptions of one of the joint-heirs with Jesus. All power is God's, and all is engaged to protect and preserve me. Let me have my daily grace, peace and comfort, zeal and love, give me some work, and give me strength to do it to Thy glory!
Heard Mr. C., of Bumpstead. Morning, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" Afternoon, "I am the door." Went to the Prayer-meeting, before and after chapel, engaged in prayer, read the hymns, and addressed the children. What an honour it is to be but a door-keeper in the house of the Lord! Oh, to be humble, and to be always at the feet of Jesus! Then should I grow more in grace, and increase in the knowledge of the Lord. The Lord is able to keep me from falling, and He will, for He has promised never to leave one of His called children.
Fair Day.--Spoke to Mr. R. How can a child of God go there? "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Forgive him, Lord, for so forgetting his high calling! I, too, should be there, but for the grace of God. I have the seeds of all evil in my own heart; pride is yet my darling sin, I cannot shake it off. Awake, O my Lord, against the mighty, for I shall die by his hand if Thou do not help me, and lead me on to triumph! Leave me, ye vain thoughts! I have nothing but what I have received; it is the Lord's goodness that I even have my reason.
How could I live without prayer when troubles come? How blessed to carry them to the throne! I will now say that the Lord heareth prayer, for He hath removed from me that which I feared. But, oh! could I feel the presence of the Lord as in days gone by, how joyful! Could I enjoy His face, and feast upon His love, then would it be a sort of Heaven below the skies. Yes, Thou art mine, my Saviour and my King; I am bound to Thee by love, by Thine own dying love, not mine! Fairest of beings, best-beloved, come, let me yet see Thy smiling face!