« ForrigeFortsett »
• Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and He shall hear
thee.'—JOB XXII. 27.
F the policy of Satan is so plausible, and
his devices in the case of great multitudes are so successful, the question perhaps
may occur, How was it that James Nisbet was enabled to escape ?
Not certainly by reason of any virtuous principle that was inherent in himself, but because, sensible of his own weakness, he was in the habit of looking for the aid of a higher power. This seems evident from the brief but emphatic prayers recorded in a little journal which he kept about that time. The following may be taken as a specimen : ‘Lead me, O Lord, in the light of Thy salvation, and make me to rejoice in Thee all my days.' 'Sanctify me wholly, O God, and subdue the vile corruptions of my heart.' • May
the Lord ever guide me by His counsels, and lead me in the way everlasting.' 'I am indeed poor ; but blessed be the Lord, who heareth the cry of the poor and needy.' 'Oh charming, charming promise:
for I am with thee!” I do not doubt that these prayers were the utterances of an earnest heart, and they seem to have met with an abundant answer. Desolate and helpless though he was, he was not abandoned to his own
In the time of strong temptation, God not only interposed for his deliverance, but He guided his footsteps into the sanctuary where His own name had been recorded, where in times past He had been gracious to others, and where now, in his great straits, He proved Himself gracious to him. Some time after, in writing to a young friend, he says : • If ever I have tasted that the Lord is gracious, it is since I came to London ; and I have much cause to bless God that I was ever brought under the ministry of dear Mr. Nichol.'
It was in Swallow Street Presbyterian Church also that he met with his future wife, whose sound judgment, and whose masculine energy of character, were instrumental in exercising a most salutary influence on himself. And there also he was brought into close association with a number of young men, with whom, ere long, he cordially co-operated in the establishment of a Sabbath school in connection with the church,
with whom also he freely corresponded on matters of personal experience relating to the highest interests of the soul, and with many of whom he remained in the closest bonds of intimacy during the whole course of his life.
In all these respects, God dealt very graciously with him. But the benefit was not confined exclusively to himself. Ever after he was on the outlook for young men coming up to London for the prosecution of their worldly callings. And remembering his own experience, and the temptation with which he was assailed, his great object was to attract them to the house of God; and, during the interval of public worship, his door was open, and his table spread for young men, many of whom have risen to high and honourable positions in the church of Christ, and who have not been backward in testifying to the favourable influences exercised on their characters by the faithful counsels which were tendered, and the good books which were presented to them by their old and warm-hearted friend, James Nisbet.
“There is an Eye that never sleeps
Beneath the wing of night;
When darkness shrouds the light.
When human strength gives way;
When earthly loves decay.
That Eye is fixed on seraph throngs ;
That Ear is filled with angels' songs ; That Arm upholds the worlds on high ;
That Love is throned beyond the sky.
But there's a power which man can wield,
When mortal aid is vain, That Eye, that Arm, that Love to reach,
That listening Ear to gain.
That power is Prayer—the noblest boon
To feeble mortals given ;
That rules o’er earth and heaven.'
'Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the
place where Thine honour dwelleth.'—Ps. XXVI. 8.
HILE he was earnest in secret prayer, he had
also a great liking for the courts of the Lord's house. In a pocket memorandum
book for 1805, containing a list of places of worship in London where the gospel was reputed to be purely preached, he has a pencil mark attached to a good many of them ; such as, St. Mary's Woolnoth, J. Newton and J. Pratt; London wall, Dr. Young; Swallow Street, Dr. Trotter and Mr. Nichol; Wells Street, Mr. Waugh ; Finsbury Square Meeting, C. Buck; the Independent Church, Rotherhithe ; the City Road Chapel ; and the Tabernacle. And though at that time he was much occupied with secular duties, so that with regard to particular ser