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WE commence another volume of the Christian Herald, with a fixed determination to do our utmost to improve the work, and to make it instrumental of promoting the greatest possible good. It will still maintain the character which its name imports, and will aim to convey to its readers a regular detail of the progress of religious feeling throughout the community, and of those Christian exertions which are tending with such hopeful prospects to extend the knowledge of the Saviour throughout the world.
That it may proclaim its intelligence to a practical and useful purpose, it will aim, by Original Essays, Reviews, and Editorial Remarks, to promote the exercise and exhibition of Christian principles and feelings, and to animate its readers, of every denomination, to take their part in the benevolent labours of the present day.
We feel sure that those who dwell on the exertions of Christian charity, which the religious intelligence of the day unfolds; who contemplate the various aspects of Christian principles as they are exhibited in the practice of many devoted disciples; must habitually be led to the contemplation of their own duty, and become themselves prepared to bear a useful part in the prayers, and contributions, and labours, which are to bring on the established glory of the church.
There is something cheering and instructive in the season of the year at which we commence our annual labours. The desolation, and dreariness, and death of Winter have passed away, and Spring has begun to shed her loveliness around us. She has overspread the bosom of Winter with a mantle of beauty, and fertility, and life, and proclaims in every ear the power and goodness of God; inviting every tongue to pour forth the feelings of gladness in a song of praise.
Now it is, that the cultivators of the soil, enter upon their labours with cheerfulness, and put forth all their efforts for the accomplishment of a work, which can be accomplished only by a wonderful effort of the power of God.
They enter upon their summer's toil, and go forth to their daily task, in hope of a future though still distant harvest. In the morning, they sow their seed, and in the evening withhold not their hand, still willing to toil, though they know not what shall prosper, whether this or that. And when long delay might exhaust their spirits and weary out their patience, they wait quietly for their reward, until the seed sown, and the blade sprung up, shall receive the early and the latter rain.
Now all this beauty and promise of the Spring, and all this patient labour and waiting of the cultivators of the soil, speak to us us a cheering and instructive lesson, while we cast our eyes with gladness and hope upon the beauties and promise of another Spring.-Instructed by the view of natural wonders, we can place a readier faith upon the prophecy-" The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." We can believe, and we do believe, that the moral desolation of the world will soon pass away, and that this ruined earth will soon be overspread with a beauty and fertility and life, so cheering, so delightful, so heavenly, that even angels shall look upon it with admiration and joy. But we believe that its whole surface must be first covered with active cultivators; that a mighty population must first engross every effort, as when beneath the benign influences of Spring and Summer we make a thousand hills wave with plenty, and a thousand valleys echo with flocks and herds.
It is an interesting fact, that when the wonderful changes of Spring are cheering our spirits, confirming our faith, and urging us to exertion, then those who are engaged in the moral improvement of the world, meet together to interchange their greetings and to animate and encourage each other in their labours. So at this season it is with us; and the gathering of our population to celebrate our joyful anniversaries, joined to the reflection, that on the other side of the Atlantic there are many thousands collected, to mingle their greetings and to unite their prayers and praises, cannot fail to animate all hearts, and encourage all to put forth their hourly, and daily, and constant exertions and prayers, as co-workers with God in a spiritual husbandry in assured expectation of a spiritual hirvest.
THE DYING CONVERT.
Narrative of some particulars attending the Conversion of Miss A. M. who died lately, aged twenty-five years.
(Concluded from p. 745, of Vol. VI.)
As dew upon the tender herb,
When heavenly light begins to dawn,
THERE is always a feeling of suspicion which attaches itself to death-bed repentances; nor can it be denied, that this suspicion is not altogether groundless.
In seasons of extreme distress, the proudest and the most thoughtless of mankind are often heard to make very humble acknowledgments of guilt, and in strong language to express both sorrow and contrition. Such conduct well becomes their situation whilst it is regarded by surrounding friends as a hopeful symptom of future amendment. Yet, alas! how generally does it happen, that when health returns, or when time has deadened the wounds inflicted by adversity, every appearance of repentance and reformation speedily vanishes away?
The melancholy frequency of such disappointments, excites the greater jealousy over other cases, where the impressions made are deeper and more permanent, and tends to steel the Christian's heart against the exercise of that spirit of pious charity "which hopeth all things."
When God is pleased to grant length of days to those who are led by his grace to repent of their sins, and truly to believe in the name of Christ, there is ample opportunity afforded us of watching the conformity of their practice with the professions which they make, and of thus bringing them to the test which our Saviour himself has prescribed-"By their fruits ye shall know them." But if death cuts off the sinner in the same affliction which was blessed as the means of his repentance, the evidences of his sincerity are defective. There is seldom time for the production, and frequently no opportunity for the exhibition, of those "fruits of righteousness" which are to the praise and glory of God.
I am well aware, that after perusing the preceding parts of this narrative, the reader may consider the change effected in the mind of Miss M. so sudden and so simple, as to doubt of its reality: but in the following pages, I trust it will be in my power, by a short statement of her after experience, to make such doubts give way to the pleasing conviction, that ere she closed her eyes on this sinful world, God gave her "a meetness for inheriting with the saints in light."
In the book of inspiration it is written, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." How exactly was this assertion verified in Miss M.'s previous conduct! She treated all serious subjects not only with indifference, but even with a profane levity. To her natural mind, they truly appeared to be foolishness; and when she began to acknowledge God, and to bewail her sinful neglect of divine things, still her notions of their importance were very vague, and she could not discern their spirtual meaning. But the veil was afterwards taken away, and then the truths of the Gospel shone into her mind with unclouded glory. She saw herself to be "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. This discovery produced a most becoming humility, which constrained her to implore the divine forgiveness, with heartfelt acknowledgments of her utter unworthiness to partake of God's mercy. She also learnt that Jesus was a Saviour every way suited to her own case. She wondered at his condescending grace, but rejoiced in his finished work, as the only ground of her acceptance with a just and holy God.
When grace to guilty man reveals
The virtues of a Saviour's blood,
With unsealed eyes she began to read the Bible, in which she saw "wonderous things;" as what had formerly baffled her comprehension, was now easily understood; and her fondness for this newly discovered treasure often caused regret that she was able to read it so little. But she evinced the greatest desire to have "the way of life" explained to her more perfectly; and in all my after conversations with her, she expressed a growing pleasure in attending to the things which belonged to her eternal
They that are after the flesh," says the apostle," do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the spirit, the things of the Spirit." When Miss M. lived according to the fashion and pleasures of this world, her conduct proved that she knew not God. She lived to herself, minding only the things of the flesh; and nothing could more forcibly depict the pride and obduracy of