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PREFACE.

The author did hope, that this volume would have embraced the Varieties of Female
Character, as well as of Female Piety, because character and piety are so identical. He
has, however, found it impossible to trace the developement of both, under the name of
Martha. “ THE LYDIAS, or the Developement of Female Character," will, therefore, follow
this volume, and complete the first section of the Closet Library.

The author gratefully acknowledges, that he has not appealed in vain to the Mothers
or the Daughters in British Isracl."

NEWINGTON GREEN, 1836.

CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTION.

MARTHA AND THE MARTHAS. heavenly things have any real place in their affecThe key to the second volume of the Lady's Clo- tions

. Others

, again, have so much to contend set Library, must be taken from the fact, that with, either from temperament or condition, from pious females, who have not exactly the spirit of trials or temptations, that they are almost the creaMary, are usually ranked with Martha. Indeed, tures of circumstances, and vary in their feelings they regard themselves as Marthas, and are some

with all the variations of their health or prosperiwhat doubtful whether they have really “chosen ty. They are the good part, which shall not be taken from”

"Every thing by tams, them. It is, therefore, because these who are not

And nothing long.” very like Mary, class themselves, and are classed, with Martha, that I bring under her name, “The It would be easy (and as useless as easy) to deVarieties of Female Piety.” Many of its varie- pict these faults and defects. It would be still ties are almost as unlike her, as she was unlike easier, and more useless, to condemn them. They her sister : but all of them, so far as they are oc- can only be reproved with effect, by what can casioned by faults or defects of character and cure them effectually. Nothing but the remedy temper, require the same treatment which Martha provided for them in the gospel, can bring home received from Christ ;--tenderness enough to pre- their sin or folly to the heart. It is only when we vent despair, and reproof enough to check pre- see, from the designs of grace, and from the chasumption.

racter of glory, what we ought to be, and what we Martha's faults are not the only faults, which may be, that we acknowledge, even to ourselves, the Saviour rebukes and chastises, in all whom what we really are. It is when confronted with He loves. His object is, to have all his real disci- the image of Christ and the image of the Heaples conformed to His own image; and, therefore venly, that we become alarmed at the “earthy” he contends against whatever, in each of them, is features of our own image. No light, but the most unlike bimself. Whatever had been the be- light of eternity, can expose our faults fully, and setting sin of Martha's character or spirit, his re- yet set us to correct them willingly, at the same buke,—“ Martha, Martha !would have been time. We may yield partly to human influence ; equally pointed and unequivocal. It applies, there but nothing less than Divine authority, and that fore, to all those varieties of piety which, like only in its paternal spirit and eternal sanctions, hers, leave some doubt upon all minds (the pos- can sway our inclinations. sessors not excepted) of its present reality, or of Convinced of all this by my own experience, its future issue. The rebuke bears directly, not and from the contact or correspondence into which indeed upon all imperfection, but upon all impru- my “ GUIDES” have brought me with so many of dence and oversight, negligence and self-will. the varieties of male and female piety, at home Accordingly, it is applied to themselves, by many and abroad, I have not confronted the peculiaripious females, who never went Martha's lengths in ties of men and women “ professing godliness ;” il]-temper. There are meek and amiable women, nor contrasted the Marthas with the Marys; nor who feel instinctively that they have more of Mar- even compared the sexes: but have brought all tha, than of Mary, in their character. Some of the varieties of piety, to the one standard by them, although not “cumbered about much serv- which they will all be tried at last,—the image of ing,are yet so cumbered about something, that Christ ! And where there is not conscience their hearts are almost divided between God and enough to take lessons there—I certainly do not the world. Others, again, although not careful include such characters amongst the varieties of and troubled about many things,” are yet so ab- Christians. They vary too little from the world, sorbed with some earthly good or evil in their lot, to have any identity with the Church. In a word, that it is very doubtful to themselves, whether I have nothing to say, in this volume, to any female

who is quite satisfied with her own piety, either as | Martha was ag much delighted, on this occasion, to its kind or degree. It is intended to encourage to take her sister to the feet of Jesus, to hear his those who “stand in doubt” of themselves, and "gracious words," as she was once offended with to “stir up, by way of remembrance,” the “ pure her for sitting at his feet. minds" of those who are doubted by others. Al this is highly creditable to her; and it ex.

Such being my design, I have said little about plains, in some degree, why “Jesus loved Martha," Martha. I entertain no doubt of her piety. She as well as Mary. Still, I dare not take her piety presents, in her honest, although bustling, regard out of the cloud, which the Saviour's rebuke, to the Saviour, a noble contrast to her nation, and Martha, Martha !"-left upon it. That rebuke to the mass of her sex. She was even more was as much intended for warning, as His conprompt than Mary, to meet Christ, when he came tinued love was for encouragement. It would, to Bethany on the death of Lazarus ; and she therefore, be as unwise to make the star of His was the first to whisper cautiously to her, (whom love disperse the cloud of His reproof entirely, as she had once, perhaps often, scolded,) « The it would be unfair to make the cloud eclipse the Master is come, and calleth for thee.” He had stat, at all. They are equally over Martha's called for Mary; but he had not sent Martha head, in her history; and, therefore, I dare not with his message. She, however, would not trust separate nor soften them: but must leave the the tenderness or the prudence of any one, to star in all its brightness, and the cloud in all its break the good news to her weeping sister ; but, darkness, to make their own impression upon the moment she saw that they were good news, every female, who is conscious of any thing which away she ran, to prepare Mary for them, and to deserves the “Martha, Martha !” of the Saviour bring her to Jesus without fear or surprise. Thus she loves and desires to be loved by.

THE MARTHAS.

No. I.

never trembled at the word of God! There is no

"good thing in the heart toward the Lord,” until VARIETIES, FROM TIMIDITY.

there is some serious fear of his anger, and a real

sense of being utterly unworthy of his mercy. You are familiar with the question—" Who It is, indeed, a great thing, to get rid of the hath despised the day of small things?" It has “fear which hath torment. Nothing is more debeen transferred, not unfairly nor unaptly, from sirable than that it should be "cast out." It is the foundation-stone of the second temple in Je never cast out, however, by casting away a sense rusalem, to the first symptoms and marks of that of unworthiness, nor by trying to think lightly of "good work" of grace in the heart, by which we the Divine anger. It is perfect love" that cast. become living Temples, or “an habitation of God eth out tormenting fear, 1 John iv. 14; and love through the Spirit.” Now, whoever else may never can be perfected or improved, if you despise despise these incipient signs of conversion, God the day of small things. Your love to the Saviour does not. Even when there is nothing but a pe- is not insincere, because you have many fears. It nitent spirit, and whilst both joy and peace are would, indeed, be very questionable, and equivounknown, we are warranted to say with David, cal too, if you had no fears. “No strange thing " A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt hath befallen you,” if, as yet, you have more fears not despise.” This is pleasing ! But the Spirit than hopes. of inspiration led Isaiah beyond David, in thus This is, however, a critical state to be in. It is condescending to the “ low estate" of commencing not uncommon, certainly; but still, it is dangerpiety. Isaiah was warranted to class the trem- ous. Some have done despite to the Spirit of bling amongst the "contrite ones,” even when grace,” by despising the day of small things, as God, as the High and Lofty one, who inhabiteth too small to be worth much immediate notice; Eternity, was describing the hearts to which He and others, by despairing, because it was so unwould look with compassion, and in which He likely to lead on to a day of great things. Against would dwell with complacency. Isaiah lvii. 15. both these extremes, I would put you upon your Neither the temple on earth, nor even the temple guard. They are equally perilous, and have of heaven,—although the former resounded with proved fatal to many. Perhaps, you know some Hosannas, and the latter with Hallelujahs, could one in your own circle,-a sister, or brother, or so engross the attention of Jehovah, as to divert friend, who is in danger of quenching the Spirit

, it from true penitents, even whilst their prayers because not aware of the varieties of manner and were only as the sighing of prisoners, or but groan- degree, in which the Spirit begins the good work ings which cannot be uttered. “ Thus saith the of grace. You may have been at a loss, how to Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is answer the objections of some one, whose occamy footstool; where is the house ye build unto sional feelings seem to you, “tokens for good," Me? and where is the place of My rest? But to whilst to him, or her, they appear too slight and this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and evanescent to deserve attention. Would it not of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” | be both wise and kind, to bring the following apThis is condescension! Who would despise the peal under the notice of such a one? It is soday of small things, after thus seeing how God de- lemn and pointed; but not too much so, when lights to honor it? In the presence of this fact, there is a disposition to despise the day of small you can see, at a glance, why there is joy amongst things.- Now, no “good thing” toward God, and the angels of God in heaven, over one sinner that the Lamb, in the heart, can be so small, as to be repenteth. God himself rejoiceth over them “with unworthy of your watchful and prayerful notice. singing.” It is not in this connection, that even a Passing thoughts and momentary impressions, stern theorist, who calls nothing faith, but assu- may be unworthy of being called “a saving work rance ; and nothing conversion, but the witness of of grace upon your soul.” Conviction is not conthe Spirit, would dare to say,—"the devils believe, version, nor is feeling faith. It might, therefore, and tremble.” They do tremble at the word of be very wrong to conclude that you have passed God; but not in a broken or contrite spirit. It is from death to life," or been “translated from darknot a sense of their own guilt or vileness, which ness unto light,” merely because you have some awes them. They do not despair because they sense of your need of this divine change, and some feel unworthy of hope. There is no humility in hope or wish to experience it. You do, however, their horror, and no contrition in their terror: know something of its nature, and feel occasion. whereas, when you tremble most at the word of ally its necessity. You may regret, but you do God, it is because you feel yourself worthy of its not " marvel,” that you must be born again of the threatenings, and unworthy of its great and pre- Spirit, before you can enter the kingdom of hea. cious promises. And it would not be even a day ven. You know too much both of heaven and of small things” in your experience, if you had l of your own heart, to be surprised (however you

may be offended) when you are told that you are Why, then, in the things which “pertain to god-
unfit for heaven. And is this conviction nothing ? liness ?”
It may be it is—a day of small things, compared Ponder Paul's solemn question: "Who hath
with the great searchings of heart, and with the known the mind of the Lord, (the Spirit,) that he
strong cries and tears, which the necessity of be- may instruct Him?" 1 Cor. ii. 16. Can you, in
ing born again is producing in some of your fami- the face of this caution, say that you will not honor
ly or friends. There may be no comparison be- nor own the Holy Ghost, unless He act with you,
tween the strength of your convictions, and the just as He has done with others ? Surely not !
cry of the Pentecostal converts. Any fear or It may not, indeed, be altogether wrong to wish
hope you feel, may be but as the mere shadow of for such an awakening as the jailor's; or for such
their 'impressions. What then? So much the a flower-like opening of the heart as Lydia's; or
more need you have to take care that you do not for such a rejoicing discovery of the glory of
despise the approaches of the Holy Spirit to your Christ as the eunuch's; or even for such a con-
own heart.

straining impulse from the love of Christ, as that Do not say in answer to this appeal, “ I am not which carried the Corinthians before it, like vesat all sure that the Spirit is striving with me, or sels with a fair wind, upon a mighty spring-tide: doing any thing for me.” It is easy to utter these but it is wrong, to insist upon one or other of these words, when an excuse is wanted on the spur of modes of conversion, as the condition of your turnthe moment, for delay or indecision in religion : ing to the Lord. You may, like Ephraim, pray, but you durst not utter them deliberately, after “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned :” and like looking fairly at their meaning. Your tongue David, “ Draw me, and I will run after Thee;" would cleave to the roof of your mouth, were you but you must not prescribe to God either the preto try to say,—“I am one, whom the Spirit of cise weapon of power by which He shall turn God never once influenced to think or pray. He you, or the precise cord of love by which he shall has been moving upon the face of the waters of draw you. 'Leave the selection of means and the Sanctuary where I worship, converting sin- modes of Divine operation in the hands of Divine ners, and consoling penitents, and sanctifying be- wisdom; and, in the mean time cherish the sacred lievers; but he never suggested one good thought impressions which have already been made upon in my mind, nor awakened one holy desire, nor your heart and conscience. They are more va. shed one ray of light upon my path of duty or in- luable to you, and involve your eternal welfare terest. However He moved in power or glory, more deeply, than the mantle of Prophecy, or the and wherever He wrought, He passed me by— gift of Miracles, were even both to descend upon let me alone !"

you. Prophets have perished, and workers of This would be "lying against the Holy Ghost !" | mighty miracles have become apostatęs, but no Had even your occasional impressions been fewer, one ever drew back to perdition, who honestly and your past resolutions feebler than you know and humbly sought for the renewing of the Holy them to have been, you would not dare to speak Ghost. O, then, quench not, grieve not, vex not, thus, lest you should provoke the Spirit of God to limit not, the Spirit of God! let you alone for ever. Why, it is one great reason for any hope you have of ever being called by grace, that you have felt, and do feel, that the Spirit has not let you alone. It is because you This appeal may not be altogether useless to are not given up to a seared conscience, nor to a yourself: for although, in general, you do not dereprobate mind, that you venture to calculate upon spise the day of small things, there may be some some future “day of power,” coming in time of “the things of the Spirit,” which you too lightenough to prepare you for eternity. According- ly esteem. His “shadows, as well as His lights," ly, were you quite sure that such a day of power (as Sheshbazzar would have said,) are instrucwould not come, unless, from this moment, you set tive. He can lead by the Pillar, as a cloud; as yourself to act upon your present convictions, you well as by the Pillar, as a flame of fire. I mean, would be very glad to admit that what you have that the Spirit is often present, and working already felt, was, although not the first fruit of the mightily too, when we imagine that he is withSpirit, the breaking up of the fallow ground” of drawn entirely. This is no paradox. We are the heart, for the good seed of the Word. Well; so much in the habit of confounding the work and the Holy Ghost does say, " To-day, if ye will hear witness of the Spirit, with comfort, that we are for my voice, harden not your heart."

ever ready, when we are uncomfortable, to think Do not evade this warning by saying, “ that Him “afar off.”. But this is quite a mistake! you would follow the leadings of the Spirit, if He He is not standing afar off, much less forgetting would only lead you, as powerfully and sensibly, us, when we are left to feel that our strength is as he does some whom you know." You have weakness: and our ability to hope, dependent ; no more right to dictate to the Holy Spirit the and our inclination to persevere, precarious. He manner in which he shall deal with you, than to is, indeed, working deep in our hearts, when we dictate to Providence the way in which it shall are afraid to look at them. Humility, and selftreat you. Now, you would not presume to lay abasement, and self-distrust, are as much fruits of it down as an indispensable condition of your the Spirit, as love, joy, or peace. And, accordgiving yourself to the Lord and to the Church, ingly, by both His lights and shadows, we are sent that he should give you whatever temporal bless to the Cross and the Mercy-seat; to the Bible and ings you may think best for you. You know that the Sanctuary, praying with equal fervency, you cannot stipulate with God, to have all your “ Lord, save, or I perish." own will

, in " the things which pertain to life.” This is not, however, all that I mean. I am

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