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THOSE family bereavements which awakened Mr. Chalmers' earliest religious anxieties, exerted a like influence over his sister Jane. She was already a peculiar favourite, and the sympathy thus generated gave her a double claim upon his affections. At the very season of his own solicitude she consulted him, as to the true ground of peace and hope towards God, and it was not without benefit to himself that he undertook to guide another. Writing to her husband, Mr. Morton, a year after their marriage, he says:-" My prayer is, that you may both go on and prosper in the good cause which you have adopted; that the Saviour may every day become more precious to you, His atonement more rested in, His law more revered, His Spirit more felt and more depended on. Jane's deep interest in these subjects was an instrument of mighty advantage to myself, and from my conversation with her I date a most salutary revolution in my sentiments and views." Well aware that to those who have been finally removed to a great distance from a well-known and much-loved neighbourhood, the most trifling information possesses interest, Mr. Chalmers in his correspondence with Mrs. Morton descended to the humblest local intelligence, the minutest incidents in the family history of friends and parishioners being faithfully chronicled. The last page, however, of each letter was "devoted to the great concern." Bringing these last pages together, let us pre
sent this portion of the correspondence by itself, and for the whole of that brief period during which Mr. Chalmers continued in Kilmany, interposing at their proper dates extracts from letters addressed to his sister Helen, and to his brothers Patrick and Charles.
'KILMANY MANSE, April 21, 1812.
"MY DEAR JANE,-I have begun a course of sermons lately with my people, in which I follow a certain order of subjects. First, the inflexibility of the Divine justice; secondly, the sin which renders one and all of us amenable to that justice, and throws every individual of the human race into a dark and unsheltered state of condemnation; then the remedy. It really is a vast improvement to oneself to write upon a given subject; it rivets and illuminates one's own conceptions of the point in question; and I must say, that I never had so close and satisfactory a view of the gospel salvation as when I have been led to contemplate it in the light of a simple offer on the one side, and a simple acceptance on the other. It is just saying to one and all of us,-There is forgiveness through the blood of my Son, take it; and whoever believes the reality of the offer takes it. It is not in any shape the reward of our own services; for when you let them into the acceptance, you lay the whole open to apprehension and despair. It is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not given because you are worthy to receive it, but because it is a gift worthy of our kind and reconciled Father to bestow. We are apt to stagger at the greatness of the unmerited offer, and cannot attach faith to it till we have made up some title of our own. This leads to two mischievous consequences. It keeps alive the presumption of one class of Christians, who will still be thinking that it is something in themselves and of themselves which confers upon them a right to salvation; and it confirms the melancholy
of another class, who look into their own hearts and their own lives, and find that they cannot make out a shadow of a title to the Divine favour. The error of both lies in looking to themselves when they should be looking to the Saviour: Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth.' The Son of man was so lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is your part simply to lay hold of the offered boon. You are invited to do so, you are entreated to do so-nay, what is more, you are commanded to do so. It is true you are unworthy, and without holiness no man can see God; but be not afraid, only believe.' You cannot get holiness of yourself, but Christ has undertaken to provide it for you. It is one of those spiritual blessings of which He has the dispensation, and which He has promised to all who believe in Him. God has promised that with His Son He will freely give you all things-that He will walk in you and dwell in you that He will purify your heart by faith-that He will put His law in your heart, and write it in your mind. These are the effects of your believing in Christ, and not the services by which you become entitled to believe in Him. Make a clear outset in the business, and understand that your first step is simply a confiding acceptance of an offer that is most free, most frank, most generous, and most unconditional.
"My prayer to God is, that He would work the work of faith with power in your heart, that He would draw you to Christ, that He would open your understanding to understand the Scriptures, and that through the patience and comfort of these Scriptures you may have hope."
Kilmany Manse, August 7th, 1812.-I do not know that a single day has elapsed since seeing you in which I have not remembered you; and believing, as I do, that the prayer of faith ascending to heaven, and bringing down from it the
things prayed for, is a real process, I ask your prayers, and trust to have the benefit of them. You could certainly, through Sir Thomas Acland, have access to the 'Eighth Report of the Bible Society. Read it, my dear sister. I would strongly recommend the cheap Repository to you for distribution among your neighbours. You get hundreds of them for a mere trifle. You may inquire for them under the name of Religious Tracts,' published by a Society in London. The reading of them would go far to strengthen and stablish your own heart, and the distribution of them would be a work and labour of love worthy of a Christian. After you have encouraged a taste for reading among your servants and neighbours, you may restrain the gratuitous distribution of them; and on the principle of a thing bought being more valued than a thing given, you may get the bookseller of Dulverton interested in the sale of them. This process I mean to follow in my own parish; and, be assured, that no individual is too private or too obscure for the great work of turning sons and daughters unto righteousness.”
"November 6th, 1812.-You were perfectly right in communicating to that part of your family arrangements which related to family worship. It has given sincere joy to; nor am I able to express the pleasure and thankfulness with which it has filled me. I have no doubt that family worship is often maintained in houses where vital religion does not exist; but where it is adopted from the impulse of conviction, I regard it as a symptom to be rejoiced in; and my prayer is, that you may all have great peace and joy in the better part that you have chosen; that you may feel how secure a habitation you arrive at by coming unto Christ, and taking shelter under the ample canopy of His mediatorship; that your reconciled Father may fulfil in you all the good pleasure of His goodness; and that looking unto Him for the promised influence of
His Spirit, you may die every day unto sin and live unto righteousness.
"I rejoice to hear of your Sunday school. I once thought of one here; but it occurs to me, that however salutary in England, it is not so necessary here. I am doubtful of the propriety of detaching the children from their parents, their natural guardians, who feel that the responsibility lies with them. This does not apply to your attempt at all, and I would rejoice to hear the particulars of your success. The English peasantry have not that respect for the Sabbath, nor that degree of qualification, which we have in this country; and you do a kind, and I trust an effectual, service to young people, by the labour that you bestow upon them.
"It delights me to perceive that Miss — seems at length to have arrived at that rest which the Saviour has pledged Himself to give to all who come unto Him: and with rest He will give all other spiritual blessings. That sanctification which out of Christ none can reach, is only found in close union with Him; and if we maintain what may be called the gospel attitude of the mind, which is looking unto Jesus, we shall obtain of His Spirit, we shall be changed into His image, we shall be strengthened for all duty; and that noble system of reconciliation with God, beginning with an act of confidence, will at last terminate in all the graces and accomplishments of the Christian character, will have its fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life."
January 5th, 1813.-As to the most urgent subject of your letter, I hope that no formal certificate is necessary, and that it will be sustained as a sufficient testimony of my willingness. to stand a godfather to my dear nephew, if I simply announce my willingness in this way, and request Mr. Morton to be my proxy. I shall, however, subjoin a more formal declaration at