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Mrs. Heads Prefatory
Oh! what a sanctuary was God to us, when we filed for our lives to the Isle of Man! What humanity did those strangers shew us ! How did God make up all our wants in our free and loving entertainment ! We that were the most despicable in all the ship, no money to help us, no friend to speak for us, were taken into the best family in all the Island ! There God became to us all in all, sheltering us so long, that we could at length pass to and fro with safety.
At last, after many difficulties and hardships, how were we brought into our native land again, after we had thought we should see it no more !
that these miraculous deliverances might be engraven upon the tables of your hearts, never to be forgotten till time shall be no more ; that you may sing here with David, (till you sing the song of Moses) Blessed be the Lord, “who remembered us in our low estate ; for his mercy endureth forever !"
Here did God intend to bring us into the wilderness of sorrow. Here he stripped us bare indeed. He took away the light and delight of our eyes, and the very joy of our hearts-your dearest Father, whose death was much aggravated by the circumstances attending it. But it was the Lord's own doing, though it seemed grievous to us; and though God's dealings are often secret, they are ever just.
If we seriously consider, “Why did God throw down our tent here?”. That we might have a tabernacle above, eternal in the heavens. He hath emptied us of the world, that he might fill us with himself; and hath melted us, that we may be vessels of glory; loving us in the furnace, as well as when we are out of it, and always standing by us for our support.
Now who would trust to an earthly foundation ? Who would lock up all his hopes where moth and rust do corrupt, and thieves break through and steal? Who would set his heart upon those things, which Address to her Children.
never prove hurtful, but when we are too near them ? Upon things which we are not able to keep, and which commonly leave us when we have most need of them? For God frequently takes them away, or else the comfortable use of them.
What if we still enjoyed what we once had, or a thousand times more ? If God did not give us grace, we should be like so many prophane Esaus, without our Father's blessing. Alas! all the glory, honor, and friendship of this world, without God, only make earth a little less cheerless solitude.
Otherefore, iny dear children, with Mary choose the better part, which cannot be taken away from you! Lay hold upon eternal life ! « The violent take it by force.” Strive to make your calling and election sure ! Attend to prayer, reading, hearing ; these are those ordinances by which God ordinarily conveys grace to the soul..
O labor for inward sincerity-for an humble, lowly, patient, waiting, self-denying frame of spirit! This will bear up your hearts, and comfort them more than all the friendship of the world is able to do. Be carnest with God to give you those Evidences for a better and more enduring inheritance, which can never deceive you! So shall you be truly rich, though here you possess nothing:
To help you in this great work, and to comfort you by shewing that I have gained by my loss, I have written down what God hath made clear to me those Evidences for Heaven, which are engraven upon my soul, and which Satan shall never be able to erase. This is what I have to shew for this promised land.--And though the eye of my understanding, through weakness, may sometimes become dim, so that I may not be able to discern what may make for my support, yet, forasmuch as God is immutable in his nature, in his love, and in his gifts, He knows the meaning of Mrs. Head's Prefatory
his own Spirit, and can always read those characters, which were once engraven with his own hand. Now though I cannot approve myself to man, yet
I depend not upon man's judgment, but Happeal higher, even to the Searcher of all hearts, who cannot, will not, be deluded nor deceived. My witness is in Heaven, and on earth too-God's blessed Spirit witnessing with my spirit, that I am his child by grace and adoption, and that when I have ended my warfare here in this valley of tears, and God hath no more for me to do or suffer, I shall only change my place, not my company. Then I shall go from this dark enjoyment of God, in his word, sabbaths, sacraments, and his other holy ordinances, to a full fruition of his beatifical presence in Heaven, in which, as David says, “ there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore." There I hope I shall one day meet you, never to part more, never to depart from that blessed place. In the mean time I shall daily beseech the God of all grace and mercy, to look with the eyes of pity and tender compassion upon you, and to dart forth the enlightning beams of saving truths upon your souls, that you may be filled with all grace here, and so may be fitted for that glory which shall be revealed, and have your inheritance, (though you have none here below,) amongst the saints in eternal light. This is the desire, and will be the rejoicYour tenderly affectionate mother,
THOMASEN HEAD. May 21, 1650.
Τ Η Ε
WHEN I seriously consider that passage of scripture- :-“ It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this.the judgment;" and when I reflect on the uncertainty of the time of death, as it is forcibly proved to us, by daily experience; I am fully persuaded that it behoves me to do that before my death, which may do me good when I am dead. I would not therefore consider so much what I am, as what I shall be ; that when I shall come to cast that fatal anchor, which must never be weighed more, I may have nothing to do, but to die.
Now what will it avail me to know that there is such a glorious place provided, as "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” unless I can say, that
lines are fallen to me in this pleasant place, and that I have been there a goodly heritage ?
What has it been that has borne up my soul from sinking in the saddest times of my afflictions, but that I have verily believed that I should see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living ? And though I have not always been the subject of comfort, yet my comfort hath been always sure in the object of faith; and when it was hid from me, it was even then hid for me.
What though my earthly possessions be mouldered away? I have found a “city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”. A dying object can never yield a living hope.
Farther : God hath taken from me three of my children, yet they are not lost, but laid up: though death has them in his hands, he has them not in his power. Introduction
But, above all, God hath taken him from me, whom I accounted dearer than my life—such a man, such a minister, such a saint, and such a husband, as, considered collectively, this earth will not easily parallel. But it was just in God to deny me those favours, which I was careless in keeping, and undervalued in enjoying.
Now though God conveyed some comfort by these lower things, yet whatever I received from possessions, children, husband, health, or any other blessing, it was conveyed by him who still remains, though these are taken from me. And He still reserves the comfort in himself, and hath conveyed it in a purer and sweeter way.
His immediate comforts I have found to be the strongest comforts. I therefore know not what to fear, since I know in whom I have believed. For how can I be discouraged with the prospect of any misfortunes, since I perceive their issue to be so happy ? O let not my beart fear any loss or cross, for all these lower things are as nothing to the least comfortable glimpse of God's blessed face !
Otherefore, my soul, seriously and solemnly look with the eye of faith, upon that never fading crown of life, which after a little time shall eternally rest upon my head ; that I may with more affectionate freedom, and contempt of earth and all earthly vanities, have my conversation with my God, and turn the current of all my desires, delight and love, with more resolution and constancy towards my heavenly home!
Now the Evidences given me by the Spirit of truth, and sealed by the blood of the everlasting covenant, may enable me to quiet my heart, and to strengthen my drooping soul against the hour of temptation ; that I may with boldness and confidence go forth out of this tabernacle of clay, to take possession of that purchased inheritance, which is the price of the blood of the Son of God, whenever the Lord shall send that messenger
me, who never yet would admit of a