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beneficial pressure upon the injurious buoyancy of his feelings. "I have most zeal," he remarked, "and least wild fire, when I am most humbled in the sense of my sins;" and to this observation he added a fervent prayer for the grace of humility. "Lord," he exclaims in one place, 'for thy mercies' sake, make me vile in my own eyes." He marked all the uncharitable feelings, all the forward, peevish, and impatient workings of his mind; he battled with the pride of his heart, seeking the enemy diligently, that he might overcome him; he noticed and guarded against his wanderings in family prayer, and his indevotion in public worship-in short there was not an action of his life which he did not examine for the purpose of improvement, caring not how deep and painful the probe, if it did but reach the bottom of the wound, and extract the poison of the sting of sin.
He not only cultivated a consciousness of the presence, but a sense of the sinfulness of sin. In one of his journals he writes, "I was striving much in prayer, last night and this morning, for a sense of the sinfulness of sin. My heart seems to have been quickened by it through the day, to keep a little close with God." No one knew better the difficulty and the necessity of walking with God, and of truly fervent and heartfelt prayer. He expressed himself to a correspondent on these subjects, in the most powerful and striking manner. His words are "O what an important thing it is to walk with God! What a comprehensive phrase-what a lovely part both of But alas! how many diffi
our duty and privilege!
lay in the way.
culties and obstructions do the enemies of our souls Unbelief draws a veil before our eyes-sin builds a wall across the road-the world spreads a thousand snares to entangle our feet-the devil attacks us with his fiery darts, and self, wretched self, joins issue with them all, and either gives or takes occasion against us continually. When I re
flect how many they are that rise up against me, how weak my best defences are, and what a treacherous party I have, as it were, within the walls, how many things there are that amaze me, I am surprised to think that I am upheld, that a spark of divine grace is still preserved in me unquenched, amidst an ocean of sins, snares, temptations; and yet I am alive, and trust to live for ever, for he who is the truth hath said, because I live ye shall live also. O blessed be God for Jesus Christ. When I look to myself, what do I see but sin and misery- but in him I have righteousness and strength; in him I have life and peace. O my friend, let us daily learn to go out of ourselves, and look unto him, lean upon him, live upon him. All fullness is there; emptiness, yea worse than emptiness is here. In short, with respect to myself, I find both comfort and crosses, feasting and fighting, in the experience of every day. A body of sin and death constrains me to cry, O wretched man; the knowledge of a better righteousness enables me to sing, I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord. O what a mine of comfort is comprised in that last verse of Jeremiah, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.
"I was exceedingly pleased with my last visit to my London friends, and hope it was attended with an
exchange of blessings, and that we are mutually helpful to each other. These serious interviews, between those who are cemented by the double ties of grace and friendship, are among the happiest seasons of this frail life, but yet they are short and changing. We meet only to part; blessed be God for the hope of meeting hereafter in a better place, upon better terms, and to part no more.
“I am, my friend, still a prisoner, it is true: thanks to the tender mercies of God, my prison is both a Patmos and a palace. His gracious presence is with me night and day. O! he is good, is good indeed, and it is good for me to be afflicted. It is equally good and pleasant for me to be in Gethsemane's garden, or mount Tabor, or tossed up and down by the storms of this world, so I can but see his countenance and hear his voice saying, it is I, be not afraid. Happy for us that a throne of grace is always accessible to poor sinners; and secret prayer is the one great thing in experimental religion, the mainspring (if I may so say) which if not kept in order, the whole movement of vital, heart religion must grow faint and languid. On the contrary, shut me in a dungeon, or fix me on a mountain, let me see neither men nor books, (if such a situation was my lot, not my choice) provided my heart were enlarged to call upon the Lord, I should be no loser. On the other hand, if I spent every day in reading the best books, in hearing the best preachers, in conversing with the best men, if secret prayer was not carefully kept up, and every other means watered and improved by this, my soul would starve in the midst of plenty. Union and com
munion with Jesus is the greatest mercy on this side eternity, and that perfected is the heaven of heavens. May you and I have an abundant entrance therein through our precious Christ. Amen." This letter most powerfully depicts the devout longings of a believer after God, and the grief with which he views the barriers sin has cast in his way to a throne of grace. Mr. Walker's harp however was not always on the willows; its chords often swelled with the harmonious raptures of a "heart much drawn up to God, and approving his service and presence." He most carefully analyzed all his emotions in prayer; and once when conscious of more fervency during a week of trial, than he was after it had passed away, he asked himself this searching question, "am I driven to Christ by necessity, or drawn by love?" As to his exercises, he feared they "were rather meditations that warmed his heart, than devout supplications." Still he could speak of the "steady believing frame," and this more particularly when he "regarded only his wants and the promises of God.” At another time he would say, "I get a glimpse of God in prayer, and lose sight of him again as soon as prayer is ended;" he even confessed, and how much every Christian must feel the force of the confession, "I scarcely ever keep him in view through my devotions." He found himself, he says, "greatly defective in actual communion (out of prayer at least) and whether he sought God's face prayer for his glory was not quite clear"-" this," he adds, "is plain, I do not seck his face so importunately as I ought." All this mingled cloud and sunshine, is the true experience of a Christian who is con
scious that the brightness of heaven's pure light is never rendered dim to the eye of faith, but by the mists that rise out of the sinfulness of his own nature. To the true believer, however, there will often appear a bow in the darkest cloud, to indicate the presence of the sun of righteousness; and when he cannot enjoy sensible assurances, he will derive comfort from the tendency of his desires and actions. This was eminently the case with Mr. Walker, who remarks, "while I seem to have no sensible delight in God, I am not however without some evidences; particularly I would improve opportunities of serving Christ, in the conversion of sinners." On another occasion also after the sacrament, he observes, “I am not returned rejoicing. My frame has been somewhat disordered, yet I think I have not been careless. Sure, I deserve no favours; so I will endeavour to be thankful for, and to improve what I have received, a composed purpose of heart to serve the Lord, in opposition to the desire of my heart of men's esteem." After all, this was the most satisfactory indication of his state before God, inasmuch as habitual devotedness can only arise from a genuine spirit of love.
The last remark of Mr. Walker on his feelings after leaving the table of the Lord, naturally leads to the consideration of a striking portion of his private experience constant inquiry into the use he had made of the ordinances. The institution of the Lord's supper would be much more valued than it is, if it were celebrated, by every Christian, in the spirit with which this exemplary minister prepared for it, and inquired into its effect on his religious comfort and