January 3rd, Sacrament-day.—I had a blessed communion today, and have given up my poor worthless self afresh to my dear Lord for the coming year, that it may be Christ's year, and that to me, to live may be Christ. Blessed Lord, do lay us all in the dust at the foot of the cross, and may our precious Jesus in His crimson glory shine us into nothing, and ever keep us so. What will glory be, if this view of Him through "a glass darkly" is so blessed? Precious, glorious Lord, gather me up into Yourself more fully, that all my life and conversation may praise You. I roll my temporal trouble upon You—but am too happy with You to think much about it today. I am most unworthy of these favors—they are all of grace and love.
January 17th, Sabbath.—My soul was richly blessed this morning under a sermon from Psalm 26:2, 3, it was Christ-exalting, and self-abasing. Mr. B— showed the difference between legal self-examination and Christ-examination, by which Jesus proves us, discover what self-leaning and self-looking we are the subjects of. He spoke of the Refiner sitting until He sees His own face reflected, and then I thought how, when we all meet in resurrection-glory, He will fully see His image in each. There will be millions of the redeemed made like unto their Lord, who is Himself "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person." They will all see Jesus and be like Him, and "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied!" This thought was sweet to me, and my heart was filled with the fatness of His house, even of His holy temple.
January 24th.—It is the Lord's day—the day of rest—and this morning I desired to lay my burdens at the foot of the Cross and to leave them there; for it is written, "Bear no burden on the Sabbath-day." I enjoyed the exposition of Mark 2; at verse 18 it was said, "If we are the disciples of any man we shall fast oft;" but if we are the disciples of Jesus only, and follow Him, our fast will be turned into a feast, as when He fed the five thousand with so small a store as a few barley loaves and small fishes.
February 7th, Sacrament-day.—I have been again blessed in the House of God. The Dew has fallen, and my soul been refreshed. What can I render? I wonder and adore. The thought was sweet to me that the Tree of Life is on this side the river and on that side; so that those in grace and those in glory feed on the same heavenly manna. We feed by faith, they in full fruition. "The Church above and Church below—but one communion make."
February 21st, Sabbath-night.—How I long "to be in glory! my cup runs over," my soul is filled with the blessing of the Lord. This evening the text was Deut. 33:11. It was a banquet to my soul. I wanted not to move from the spot—but to sit and feast with the King, or else fly away to Heaven. In quoting Isaiah 43:25, it was said that one way in which the Orientals wrote was on wax tablets, and that when a debt was paid, they passed a hot iron over the tablet, which so melted the wax that no trace of the debt could be seen. This thought was very precious to me, and I saw that there is nothing standing against me in the high court above.
As I walked home I was pondering over it with joy, when those words occurred to me in Psalm 22:14, "My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me." They are the words of Jesus by His servant David, who wrote so fully of His agony in that Psalm. Then I blessedly learned that it was on His heart of love that the debts of His Church were inscribed, and that Divine justice was drawing the hot iron of Divine wrath over them, to expunge them, when, in anguish of spirit, the Royal Sufferer cried, "My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me." And not until every sin was atoned for, and cancelled, did the dying Victor say, "It is finished," giving up the spirit as pure and free from sin, as though it had never been imputed to Him. For ever praise Him, my pardoned soul. Wrapped up in His perfection, all is well for time and for eternity. Hallelujah! Hosannah to the Son of David!
March 2nd.—A winterly day. The ground is covered with snow. I have been to see the mortal remains of dear J. H. laid in the silent tomb. Oh! that I, too, could for one moment behold the glories "within the veil" which she is now enjoying. How is she learning the wonders of His sufferings—the triumphs of His death—the eternal life and power of His resurrection! How does she now give thanks for all the paths of her pilgrimage. How does she praise, and worship, and love, and never growing weary. Lord, let Your love fill my heart, and make me live more like a blood-redeemed soul, like one risen with Christ. Dear Sister, we may still meet and worship together in Him; for we, on earth, are come "to the spirits of just men made perfect" as well as to "the blood of sprinkling." Your songs are sweeter, and your notes more melodious—but our joy is one, and my lisping Hosannah will not jar at all with your full Hallelujah. We are one in singing, "Worthy is the Lamb."
March 4th.—This morning I went to see an aged friend, and found that the redeemed spirit had fled. How fast the dear saints seem departing. How blissful the exchange of earth for heaven!
Ah! Lord, with tardy steps I creep, and can only say of myself, unprofitable servant! but I have great joy in adding, "Worthy is the Lamb."
March 30th.—I have been walking under the deepest abasings of soul. The evil of my fallen nature painfully at work. Oh, what anguish have I felt. But this morning I have had a beam of heavenly light, which, in this dark place is most welcome, while I weep over my native depravity from my heart, saying, "Behold, I am vile." I would also seek with weeping my all-glorious Beloved, and cry, "Worthy is the Lamb."
April 2nd, Good Friday.—Blessed Lord Jesus, I hail You in the depths. I worship You in the shades of my sin and death, for there are You my eternal life. You obtained the keys of hell and death at a costly price; even by going into their very depths, and enduring all that justice, by them, would have inflicted on Your Church. And now the keys are Your right, not merely as Creator—but as Surety and Head; seeing You have paid the uttermost farthing, and can claim the release for the once debtor. As Head You were crowned with the curse in those emblematical thorns, and can now claim exemption for everyone of Your members. Praised forever be Your Name, worthy Lamb. I would forever be speaking and writing of You, from a feeling, sin-pardoned heart.
"Your presence makes my paradise,
You make Good Friday every day. Good living and good dying, for You are my goodness, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Forever blessed be the once crucified Redeemer. Oh, I would always live beneath Your shadow below, and then, with open face, behold Your glories above. Jehovah be praised for Gethsemane and Calvary scenes. Oh, do fire my soul, and make me a warm living witness of Your love "which passes knowledge." Do, Lord, perfume me with Your fragrance, that I may be a sweet savor of You to Your loved ones. Let us be "as one to make one living sound" in praising You both by lip and life. I love these sacred hours alone, to get into my sanctum and begin my heaven. My soul pants for more revelation of You.
April 3rd, Saturday.—These words were brought with power to my mind, John 12:35, 36, and 9:4. From them I have learned that while we have the light and day of our Lord's power and presence in our souls, we should walk and work whatever He then puts before us, without consulting fleshly interest or convenience. Dear Lord, seal this instruction on my heart. I would be one of those who "by night stand in the house of the Lord." I have had a great temporal trouble and trial today. Dearest Lord, still sustain Your feeble worm, during this night, in Providence. I believe You will appear for me, and I go on crediting Your promises.
April 4th, Sacrament-day.—I seemed to have my place with holy John—on the bosom of Jesus, and there to plead with my royal Beloved, rolling all my case and care upon Him for soul and body. It was a "time of love;" all praise to my gracious Lord! Oh, I saw what a royal feast it is—with a royal Founder, royal food and royal guests. It is a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb.
May 23rd, Sabbath.—Much blessed this morning in those words of Jer. 33:16, "In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be named—The Lord Is Our Righteousness." I cannot express fully what has been conveyed to my mind by the Church being so called. I see and feel it to be so separating from everything in self. She, the whole Church, and every individual believer, shall be called by the name of her heavenly Husband, "the Lord our Righteousness" being made "the righteousness of God in Him." Here is union, and in that union a perfection of righteousness, which nothing of the creature can add to or take from.
"You are complete in Him," is a truth, and the effects will flow out in our life, walk, and conversation. We are called by His name to cut us off from looking for any other righteousness than Himself. All besides are but the fruits of righteousness, which do not make us righteous—but manifest us to be so in union to Him, "He that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous." Abiding in Him there will be much fruit, yet no rejoicing in it—but a continual rejoicing in Him, who says, "From me is your fruit found."
May 30th, Sabbath.—I heard blessedly this morning—the text, 1 Peter 1:8, "You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy." And this evening these words were mentioned, "Give us this day our daily bread." Oh! I thought, those words would do to plead every day of my pilgrimage; and, if I should come to have no store in hand, that prayer would be a sweet stronghold for faith. I believe the daily bread will be given. Lord, increase my faith, and keep me from anxious care.
June 6th, Communion-day.—This evening, at the Lord's table, it was specially blessed. I did not to leave the feast; it was a time of love and of freedom at court. While at the banquet, petitions and requests were presented. Oh! I cannot half praise the Lord for His goodness and wonderful works.
July 7th.—How sad and sorrowful was my heart yesterday, when the day, and the evening, and the night wore away without one sensible embrace from my precious Lord on my birthday. While I was mourning for lack of my birthday portion, my Beloved seemed to say, "I am your portion," and to give Himself to me afresh; and my heart echoing, "the Lord is my portion, says my soul." Then came—all the promises of God are in Him, yes, and Amen. So I saw I had them all in having Him, though I had not a special one given. Oh! this is glory in the bud, and the bud also bursting forth a little. I feel it so, and praise the Lord, for, in this sense, no birthday!
Oh! my precious Ishi, I am Your Hephzibah, made for You alone. Vile as I feel, You see it not—but view me in Your own beauty—all lovely, and without spot or fault. You withheld Yourself from me yesterday, to bless me superlatively today, and give me double in Yourself. In my natural birth I did only inherit sin and shame. But You, in love and majesty, would pass that birthday by, and for my shame give me a blessed double—even Your blood and righteousness, in which I may triumph forever, and "forget the shame of my youth, and not remember the reproach of my widowhood any more." Surely this night I praise You with joyful lips. Being new-born and heaven-bound, an inhabitant of the Rock of Ages—I must sing, and must shout Your praise from the top of the mountains. Oh! the joy that my first birthday is in one sense blotted out. I am only seen and known on high as a member of Christ—born of incorruptible seed, born in life eternal. No words of earth's providence can half express the blessedness which we have in Christ, and which, this evening, beams anew upon my unworthy soul. Oh, bless my loved ones, my precious Lord. I must plead for them while I banquet with the King. All praise to You, my dear heavenly Boaz, from Your own happy gleaner, who is thankful she had no birthday, and is forgetting her birth in the first Adam, through eternal and experimental union to You. You are my joy and crown, my holiness and happiness, my heaven and my all. I drink the spiced wine of Your love, and taste the river of Your pleasures, oh, glorious Three-in-One, and almost now seem to drink abundantly. We do sing unto You, O Lord, the new song. Hosannah to the Son of David. All praise to the Prince of Peace! and, through You, glory and honor, and eternal dominion, to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my God in covenant forever.
August 1st, Sacrament-day.—Blessed be our God and Father for the bread of heaven, of which whoever eats shall live forever. It is blessed to feed upon Jesus, not on my feelings. But on His flesh and blood. My soul longs for fresh baptism into His death. Jesus alone is my death to sin, here only my true victory over corruption. Could I subdue it, I should be my own witness. But, since it is only by Jesus that sin is conquered, and only in His death that I die to sin, I must say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
November 7th, Sacrament-day.—The past month has been rich in mercy, though the path has been straight in some things. I think I am like the Israelites at Jericho, they had had abounding mercies and many deliverances—but the one they now needed seemed to be shut out from them by impenetrable walls and massive gates; yet, around those walls they march each day in humble expectation that again the Lord will appear. Contrary, indeed, is this expectation to human appearances, and carnal reason. But still faith renews her daily circuit around the place, and, at the appointed season, those huge walls will fall down flat before the mighty God of Israel, as if to do Him homage; and now there is a plain way where before there was none at all. Just so with me in this present severe trial; there seems no way of relief. But I humbly believe my God will make one, and desire to wait on Him only. Oh! precious Jesus, nourish my faith, that it fail not in this day of adversity. Love in my heart leans on the love in Yours. And have You not said, "Open your mouth, and I will fill it?" Lord, "do as You have said."
November 14th, Sabbath.—A day of blessing. My soul has found sweet rest in Jesus amidst the trials of the wilderness. I have been much instructed by this verse: "Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain." Exodus 34:3. No food at Sinai—but rich pasture on Calvary! My spiritual Joshua has led me there to feed and to lie down. "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Galatians 3:25 "But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ, and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit." Romans 7:6
November 25th.—This morning I was out walking, when the sun suddenly burst upon my view, and, by reason of a mist, I could gaze upon it without being dazzled. It was beautiful, though not shining in its usual refulgence, and I, musing, thought, Why can I look so steadily upon the sun? Only because its brightness is partly obscured by the mist. So, upon Jehovah, its mighty Maker, I could not gaze. His uncreated brightness would confound me. But He has softened that brightness in Jesus. That sun behind the mist reminds me of "God manifest in the flesh." There I can look, and live. While I so thought, the sun gradually became of crimson hue, and then the solemn glories of Calvary came before me. There, again, I could look, and wonder, and adore. I thought, Has my Father revealed Himself so to me in His precious Son? Has He bruised that beloved Son for my sins, so that He was crimsoned with His own pure blood? Then will He not do this lesser thing also? And, as I was thus meditating, my heart melted, my tears flowed, and my soul inwardly sang the praises of my God, feeling glad to have seen the sun in a mist, and to have had my faith encouraged thereby.
November 28th.—"Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is, that I may know how frail I am." This is the language of my heart this evening. I would see more and more the shallowness, slipperiness, and shortness of all things here, and would live hourly as on the edge of eternity.
December 11th.—I have this day been in the deep, and could not see either sun or stars. My poor heart has felt overwhelmed. My trial increases. My dear Lord does not appear. The enemy taunts and provokes me to act in the flesh, and the flesh frets and questions—How can these things be? why does no help come? is it no use praying? Dear Lord, rebuke these foes, and help me to endure. I am in the furnace—but I am not still enough. I must be kept until tribulation has worked patience through the power of the blessed Spirit. Lord, increase my faith. In Your time open Your way of deliverance, and keep me from mine.
December 13th.—Oh, Lord, I will praise You, for though I thought You were angry with me—You comfort me in Jesus; and, though not delivered outwardly, I am delivered inwardly, and happy in Him who has delivered, and I believe He will yet deliver. But, if He still should keep me in the place of straits, Himself will be my enlargement in the midst thereof. As Paul and Silas sang praises in the prison, so, in my trial, I must sing praises, too, to You, my God, who have sustained me.
December 19th.—Tomorrow comes a crisis from which I hoped You would save me. But if not, it must be well. Lord, this very trial shall be a source of praise. Your way of deliverance is often contrary to ours. For Daniel it was through the lions' den—not from it; for the three Hebrew children it was through the fire—not from the furnace.