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an unwonted sympathy expanded my heart in good will towards, and earnest desire for the salvation of, the whole of the human family.'
A conversion so pronounced in its main features could never be forgotten, or even indistinctly remembered, by its subject. It was not the almost imperceptible changing of the hazy morning into the brilliantly bright day, but rather the illumination of a dismal prison by a searching sun-flash, suddenly admitted. Accordingly, after the lapse of fifty-three years, Miss 'Berger made this record : 'I write on the anniversary of my spiritual birthday—a day ever memorable to me : when I saw with the eye of faith, with indubitable clearness, the great atoning Sacrifice for sin in my crucified Saviour; and felt not only set at liberty, but also filled with joy unutterable, the Spirit of God witnessing with my spirit that I was born of God. To the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost be the eternal praise !' This record must not be viewed as the mere crystallization of the flowing fancies of a mind morbid with musing for years upon one subject, but as the result of accumulated experience.
As soon as opportunity offered, Miss Berger made those who had hitherto been her spiritual helpers acquainted with the blessed change she had experienced ; and they gave hearty thanks to God on her behalf. Attacked on her return home by the suggestion that possibly she had deceived herself, she successfully resisted the assault, realizing such an accession of assurance that she was glad to seek a retired spot on the beach, where she might express her joy in unrestrained hymns of praise; and she did not desist until completely overcome by physical exhaustion. The following verses,' she stated,' are descriptive of what I then experienced : " His name the sinner hears,
“Stung by the scorpion sin, And is from sin set free;
My poor expiring soul 'Tis music in his ears,
The balmy sound drinks in, 'Tis life and victory :
And is at once made whole : New songs do now his lips employ, See there my Lord upon the tree !
And dances his glad heart for joy. I hear, I feel, He died for me! The Scriptures, before to her a dead letter, were now all spirit and life’; and all the means of grace were unspeakably precious. Of these, as well as of the jubilance of her general experiences, the following entries in her journal bear testimony: Nov. 14.–Found the house of God the gate of heaven to my happy soul.
O Lord, belp me to watch and pray always! The dead's alive, the lost is found ! O, enable me to rejoice evermore, my Lord and my God! Thou hast bought for me an inheritance that fadeth not away. Give me true humility : make me always sensible of my own vileness. A vessel becomes empty by continual ontletting ; therefore make me, O Lord, more ready to hear than to speak ! Enable me to seek the good of others always.
‘Nov. 19.—"Behold ! God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song ; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy” I “ draw water out of the wells of salvation.... Sing unto the Lord ; for He hath done excellent things.” But Miss Berger did not continue long in this happy state; for, through
some unpleasant circumstances, which occasioned much reproach to the cause of God in connection with the sanctuary in which she had so often been blessed, she unwisely ceased to attend its services. Concerning this painful experience she wrote : ‘Instead of following the advice of our Lord to Peter, “What is that to thee? follow thou Me,” I dwelt upon the objectionable matters, took offence, was thrown off my centre, became shorn of the locks of my strength, and lost that sweet communion with my Saviour which I before enjoyed.' When in this state of mind she received from her brother a letter, bearing date March 4th, 1814, expressing his profound joy in her change of heart, and containing, amongst other excellent sentiments, the following:
* It is our duty to bless God for the measure of grace we have, and to rest satisfied with His appointments in spirituals as well as in temporals. Every degree of real grace is His gift. To be thankful for lower degrees of grace, notwithstanding the most ardent desires after the highest, is perhaps the truest, as well as the most difficult, kind of humility and resignation.... The desire to be relieved from temptation frequently reminds me of the importanity of a dying man to be received into the bosom of his Maker, merely for the sake of getting rid of the pains of the body. God grant that we may view suffering as disciplinary: working patience, experience, hope ! Try to adorn the doctrine of God by a cheerful disposition and demeanour in society.'
Soon after this, receiving tidings that her father was dangerously ill, Miss Berger prepared to return home ; but before leaving, impelled by gratitude, she paid once more a visit to Mr. Lackington, who recommended her, on arriving at Hackney, to enquire for the Wesleyans,-advice which, under God, ultimately issued in unspeakably blessed results, not only to its subject, but to many others, of whose faith she became a powerful helper. The determination to follow it, however, caused her a mighty effort, for she knew not how her attendance at a Wesleyan chapel might be viewed by her parents, to whom she ever delighted to manifest loving deference, her affectionate attention to them gaining special commendatory notice from her brother. But having resolved, whatever the cost might be, to pursue what seemed to be her Providential course, she arrived at home, to find her much-loved father, whose displeasure her daughterly heart had apprehended, removed from this world. Deepened by so heavy a cloud, her gloom of spirit became almost intolerable, and was by no means relieved by her reperusal of a perplexing Calvinian treatise. Incessant temptations now assailed her; one, as she considered, having as its object the destruction of her body, she being in such feeble health as absolutely to forbid the fasting which it represented as necessary for her to obtain again possession of the grace lost; and another being the revival, in a more subtle form, of her old notion that she had sinned away the day of grace. Frequent meditation upon the precious promises failed to afford her the slightest comfort, and she was altogether in a most pitiable state of darkness and disquietude when the Lord laid her case upon the mind of that holy woman, Mrs. Harriet Elizabeth Webster, who by prayer and spiritual counsel, oral and written, was made the means of unspeakable blessing to her. So greatly
was this counsel prized that one of the letters containing it was nearly worn away by being constantly carried in Miss Berger's pocket.
During this period of sadness her character and life were blameless; and, on a Note of Removal, bearing date July 2nd, 1814, the Rev. Thomas Vasey wrote : 'Her Leader believes she is truly serious and an ornament to her profession. After the expiration of the eight months in which there had been this predominating shade in her experience, Miss Berger was again brought into the enjoyment of unclouded day on August 3rd, 1814. The passage was applied to her mind, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek, etc. Of this, and immediately subsequent experiences, she made the following notes :
These words passed through my mind like the flow of still waters, as I was going to & place of retirement for prayer. And viewing my gracious Saviour, to Whom they refer, as willing to bind up my broken heart, I was emboldened to venture again upon His mercy and lovingkindness, as at the first ; having been greatly encouraged to do so by my dear friend Mrs. Webster, to whose sympathetic care, manifested towards me ander these circumstances, I owe a debt of gratitude which I never can repay. Thanks be to the Divine mercy, which has enabled me from this period to hold fast my confidence, notwithstanding occasional short conflicts with the adversary!'
Miss Berger now began the habit of simplicity in dress which characterized her to the end of life ; Mr. Wesley's sermon on Dress, and the Rev. J. Macdonald's letter on the same subject, greatly influencing her thereto. She sold nearly all her jewellery, devoting the proceeds to philanthropic purposes. Dying daily to the world, and coveting earnestly the best gifts, she soon realized completeness in Christ. On the first day of this new joy she wrote out with her own hands, and endorsed from the depth of her heart, the precious words of the Covenant Service. Her own account of this important epoch is as follows :
By Divine assistance I continued to walk " in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost ; " and my mind was gradually opened to perceive that a further work of grace was needfal for me. I sought this blessing-entire sanctification, assisted by the prayers and instractions of my dear friend; and on Saturday, October 28th, the Lord graciously granted my request in the application of these words to my heart, “ He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities,” which I felt power to believe. And when going, on the following Sabbath morning, to the seven o'clock Prayer-meeting, rejoicing in the sense I had of the love of God, this assurance was presented to my mind, " Thy peace” shall be “ as a river ;” and later in the day this exhortation, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." O, what a blessed Sabbath was this to my soul! I bare since experienced a greater establishment in grace ; and the Lord gives me to believe that He will "perfect that which is lacking in ” my “faith," and bring me safely through probation to wave my palm before His throne. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen and amen.'
About this time, Miss Berger began to feel that it was the will of God that she should permanently reside with, and share in, the spiritual labours of Mrs. Webster, who was then living in Epping Forest, with her excellent husband, and her devout parents, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. But, though this conviction deepened daily, the step involved in yielding to it was of such magnitude
that Miss Berger long hesitated to take it. Her one desire was to be in the path of Providence, and in her perplexity as to whether the powerful impression upon her mind was Divinely made, she found great help from Mr. Wesley's directions on How to know what is the will of God,'* which she copied into a note-book, and devoutly pondered. The following dream also, which she viewed as foreshadowing her future course, assisted her to arrive at definite decision :
Homerton, January 23rd, 1815.—I dreamed last Monday night that a great work was appointed me to do. It seemed that there was a vast iron machine, which I was required to lift up. Attempting to do this, I found that there were enemies opposing me, who had so altered the form of the machinery as to cause me the greatest possible perplexity in discovering the best method of performing my task. I thonght: What must Christ have suffered when the powers of darkness were permitted to assault Him! Persisting in my endeavour, I at length, by the exertion of all my strength, drew the machine, by an iron handle attached thereto, quite open, and extricated it from its bed in the earth, causing thereby most alarming commotion. After this, seeming to be left in the midst of my opponents, who were worldly-minded persons, I experienced a painful sinking of mind, from which, however, I was soon delivered, by adopting my kind friend's advice to cry, “ Lord, I am Thine ; save me !” Awaking, and pondering over my dream, the second verse of Isaiah xlv. came to my mind : “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight : I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” )
Now fully satisfied that it was the Divine design that she should cast in her lot with Mrs. Webster, Miss Berger felt that whatever difficulty hindered her from doing so must be removed. The greatest trial to her affectionate spirit which this decision involved was the very natural objection to it entertained at first by her widowed mother. But the increasingly powerful conviction that she had a special call from her Heavenly Father to this course, together with the consideration that, had she married, like her brothers and sisters, she would have left home for what seemed to her a less important reason, helped to prevent her swerving from what she felt to be the path of duty. Having made
every arrangement that love could devise for her dear parent's comfort, and having deliberately refused several offers of marriage by which her earthly riches would have been greatly increased, she, on Whit-Sunday, May 14th, 1815, took the prayerfully considered step of going to reside where she could give herself up fully to the work of Christ, Whom she afterwards designated her sole Bridegroom.' Subsequent events amply showed that this course was well-advised and providential, her mother, to whom she paid frequent visits, becoming fully reconciled to it, and all the members of her new home circle proving invaluable helpers of her faith.
A few extracts from her journal will sufficiently evidence Miss Berger's early joy in this enlarged sphere of usefulness, and the relation that existed between Mrs. Webster and herself :
*June 25th.-Remarked to my dear Mrs. W., “I desire to have a first-rate place in heaven.” Then,” said she, "you must be a first-rate Christian on earth.”
* See Sermons, vol. I., pp. 473-475. 8vo, edition.-EDITOR.
'June 26th.-Praised and blessed be Thy name, O Lord God, who hast so mercifully preserved us, so kindly provided for us, and so graciously dealt with us altogether! We are stimulated in the heavenly race. O Thou, Who hast, above all Thy other good gifts, bestowed on us Thy Love and Fear, make us humbly grateful, and grant us an increase of light and love.
"July 5th.-I desire a greater conformity to Thine Image, 0 blessed Lord God I and I know Thou wilt grant the desire which Thou hast implanted. I perceive that to love much is more blessed than to know much. I once was tempted to prefer the latter ; but my God has enabled me to see the superior excellence of the former.'
At this period, Miss Berger began to break through the prejudices which she had cherished from earliest life with regard to female work in the Church; and very interesting are the records of her first public services for Christ, as well as of the principles which actuated her therein. The Apostle Paul's, and similar words, 'Let your women keep silence, etc.,' were duly and anxiously considered ; but all doubts as to her vocation were eventually removed by such views as those contained in one of Mr. Wesley's letters to Mrs. Crosby (Works, fifth edition, vol. xii., p. 356), which Miss Berger transcribed. The following remarks on 2 Kings xxii. 14, by the Rev. Thomas Scott, were also of great service to her:
* The ordinary ministry, both under the Old and New Testament, is confined to men ; bat the Lord is not bound by those restrictions which He imposes upon us ; and He has often conferred on women the spirit of prophecy......In communicating His special blessings, the Lord does not restrict Himself to age, or sex, or order, or condition in society, but divideth severally to every one, as He will.'
Nevertheless, public speaking, which she designated the most arduous of all my undertakings,' remained a trial to her sensitive, feminine spirit to the end of her days—a heavy burden taken up for the Master. She considered herself, like Deborah, to have an extraordinary call from God, and expected in attestation thereof extraordinary results—an expectation which was not disappointed, as the subsequent pages of this Memoir will abundantly show. She writes, about this time :
July 8th, 1815.—The Lord enabled me to pray aloud with more liberty than ever I had before. I will praise Thee, O God, for Thon hast loosed my tongue ....... What do I desire to pray in public for? Will He not help me in that which I would do for His glory?
July 28th.-Last night I passed a most solemn season with Mrs. Webster. Apprehending that some trial was at hand, she addressed me thus :"A Christian should be humble, thankful, watchful and cheerful.”
"Sunday evening, December 10th.-0 what days of peace and rest, my sonl, are now thy portion! The promise I now find fulfilled in my experience : “And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace ; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin."
January 11th, 1816.-Surely the Lord hath worked on my behalf with a high hand and an outstretched arm, as the God of Providence, as well as Grace !
January 26th. For the conversion of my relatives I felt my mind engaged this morning ; and was greatly encouraged by the words : “ By prayer let me wrestle, and He will perform."
(To be continued.)