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- Canadian Wild Flowers - 5/36 -
But oft I find a soothing power, At twilight's calm and peaceful hour, In secret prayer."
"Jesus, oh, precious name! How sweet it sounds to me; Come want, come grief, come death or shame I'll cling, my Lord, to thee."
"I'd rather be distressed with doubts And find no sweet release, Than be content to settle down In false repose and peace; But, ah! I wish I knew my name In the Lamb's book a place could claim."
"While here distressed I lie, What joy my heart doth thrill At the enchanting thought, That Jesus loves me still!"
"Sweet Sabbath morn! to me it brings, As if on angel's airy wings, Visions of peace and rest: I seem to stand upon the plains Where an eternal Sabbath reigns, And dwell the pure and blest.
"I wept--when lo, my heart to cheer J---- sobbing whispered in my ear: 'Don't cry, for I will serve the Lord;' How sweet the sound! what great reward." [_Psa_. 126:5,6].
"How little comfort have I known In this dark vale of tears! For Sorrow marked me for her own In childhood's early years. And ever since, by night and day, Has hovered round my lonely way."
"'Twas nearly two--but sleep had fled My pillow for the night; I rose--but all was dark around, And I could find no light: And then I knelt and prayed for those Who, like me, found no sweet repose."
"Sick, sick, sick, And gloomy all the day; Sick, sick, sick, Thus life wears away."
"Murmur not, my troubled soul, At thy Father's dealings; Wild the billows round thee roll: Yield not to the feelings Of despair that gather round: Troubles rise not from the ground." [_Job_ 5:6-8].
"How many souls around the throne Once suffered here like me,-- Like me discouraged, tempted, tried, But now for ever free: They shout their griefs and trials o'er; Then let me fear and doubt no more."
"At home all day; I cannot pray, Can neither read nor think: O God, I cry; the waves roll high, Support me or I sink."
"Did I murmur that the rod Was so heavy, O my God? I forgot the cursed tree, I forgot Gethsemane, I forgot the grief and pain-- May I ne'er forget again."
"Unworthy, wretched as I am I hope for mercy through the Lamb: His name, his glorious name prevails When every other passport fails; It opens Heaven's eternal gate; Then, doubting soul, why longer wait?"
"Sabbath after Sabbath comes; When will dawn the endless day? Swiftly roll the wheels of time, Swiftly pass the hours away; Brighter and brighter from afar View we now 'the Morning Star.'"
"And we, alas! are called to part: 'Farewell' is said, with aching heart; But God will watch o'er thee I ween, And guide thee through each trying scene, My dearest sister Josephine!"
"The glorious sun-- His race has run, And sweetly sought repose: O that for me This life might be As bright--as calm its close!"
"What an awful peal of thunder! O my soul, be still and wonder; Yet another, and another-- Each one louder than the other; God of heaven, I _see_ thy power, May I _feel_ it hour by hour."
"A thousand twinkling stars to-night Look down with soft and silvery light And tell the majesty divine Of Him who gives them leave to shine. Oh, what an atom must I be, And yet He loves and cares for me!"
"The wheels of Time-how swift they roll! Dost thou consider, O my soul, That it shall soon be said to thee: 'Time was, but time no more shall be'? Then seize upon the present hour; Improve it to thy utmost power."
In the fall of 1856 Miss JOHNSON was prostrated by disease, and nearly all the time afterwards confined to the house. So numerous and complicated were her difficulties as to baffle the skill of all the physicians who saw her, and no one knows the amount of suffering she endured. Her mind however was active and vigorous, and though there were seasons--sometimes quite protracted--when to her the heavens above seemed as brass and the earth iron, yet God did not forsake her: the sunshine succeeded the storm, and the peace that Jesus gives--was poured into her wounded heart. Referring to her afflictions in 1858 and the two following years she writes:--
"Those were days and nights of anguish, but I now look back to them with feelings of regret, for my feet had only touched the dark waters and my lips had only tasted the cup from which I was to drink the very dregs. Early in the spring of 1858 I was seized with fever and acute inflammation of the stomach, which brought me to the verge of the grave. I could feel the warm tears of beloved ones upon my cheeks, as they bent tenderly over me; I could see the dark vale just ahead (though there was a light amid the darkness), but my sufferings were not to be so soon terminated. Gradually my disease assumed a chronic form, and physicians said there was no hope. The little nourishment I could take distressed me so, terribly that the very thought of eating made me shudder, and my stomach became so sore that I could not be moved from one side of the bed to the other without uttering a cry of pain. Winter, spring, summer and autumn in turn visited the earth, and with each I thought, aye, longed to depart; but the great Refiner had his own purpose to accomplish,--there was a little fine gold but the dross rendered it useless. The ordeal through which I am passing is indeed a terrible one, but I know where peace and consolation are to be found, and there are times when I can say in sincerity, 'Thy will be done.'"
Thursday, Jan. 1,1863, she wrote:--
"Bright, beautiful day. Many people on the ice. Edwin [her brother] there. Over our dwelling is a shadow; it falls upon our spirits and we are sad. Will it never be removed? God grant we may be patient and grateful for the blessings we do enjoy, for are not friends--true, tender friends, the greatest and holiest of blessings? and while we have them God forgive us for murmuring at his dealings."
The last entries in her diary are: "Feb. 2. Very sick"; "Tuesday, 3rd. No better." It is uncertain when the following lines were written, but it might have been about this time:--
"I'm going home to that bright land of rest Where pain and grief and sickness are unknown; The year begins in sorrow, but will close In joys that never end--I'm going home! Last year the warning came on sunken eye And wasted cheek. I gazed and thought to spend My Christmas with the angels. God knows best; And here I linger, weary sufferer still. The morning comes long watched-for, long desired; The day drags on, and then the sleepless night: But this will have an end--it must be soon."
About six weeks before her death she was taken with nausea and vomiting: everything she took distressed her, and for the last twenty-three days she took no nourishment save what water contains. Her prayer--
"Close to the Cross, close to the Cross. God grant I may be found When death shall call my spirit hence, or the last trumpet sound,"--
was indeed answered. Her end was very peaceful and happy. For several weeks not a cloud seemed to pass over her mind; and though often in great distress there was no impatience manifested, nor did a murmur escape her lips. She said, "It is nothing to die: 'the sting of death is sin,' and when sin is taken away the sting is gone." On another occasion she remarked: "I have often heard the words sung--
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