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I thought my path towards an easy maintenance Oh, my good cous.n! if I was to open my heart to was now plain and open, and, for a day or two, was you, I could show you strange sights; nothing, I tolerably cheerful: but behold, the storm was ga- Hatter myself, that wouid shock you, but a good thering all the while, and the fury of it was not the deal that would make you wonder. I am of a very less violent from this gleam of sunshine.
singular temper, and very unlike all the men that "A strong opposition to my friend's right of no- I have ever conversed with. Certainly I am not mination began to show itself. A poweriul party an absolute fool; but I have more weakness than was formed among the lords to thwart it, and it ap- the greatest of all fools I can recollect at present. peared plain, that if we succeeded at last
, it could In short
, if I was as fit for the next world as I am only be by fighting our ground by inches. Every unfit for this and God forbid that I should speak it advantage, I was told, would be sought for, and ea- in vanity-I would not change conditions with any gerly seized, to disconcert us. I was led to expect saint in Christendom. Ever since I was born, I an examination at the bar of the house, touching have been good at disappointing the most natural my sufficiency for the post I had taken. “Being ne- expectations. Many years ago, cousin, there was a cessarily ignorant of the nature of that business, it possibility that I might prove a very different thing became expedient that I should visit the office dai- from what I am at present. My character is now fixly, in order to qualify myself for the strictest scruti- ed, and riveted fast upon me; and, between friends, ny. All the horror of my fears and perplexities is not a very splendid one, or likely to be guilty of now returned ; a thunderbolt would have been as much fascination." welcome to me as this intelligence. I knew that, Many months was Cowper thus employed, conupon such terms, the Clerkship of the Journals was stant in the use of means to qualify himself for the no place for me. To require my attendance at the office, yet despairing as to the issue. At length he bar of the House, that I might there publicly entitle says, myself to the office, was, in effect, to exclude me The vacation being pretty far advanced, I refrom it. In the mean time, the interest of my paired to Margate. There, by the help of cheerful friend, the causes of his choice, and my own repu- company, a new scene, and the intermission of my tation and circumstances, all urged me forward, painful employment, I presently began to recover and pressed me to undertake that which I saw to be my spirits; though even here, for some time after impracticabie. They whose spirits are formed like my arrival,(notwithstanding, perhaps, the preceding mine, to whom a public exhibition of themselves, day had been spent agreeably, and without any dison any occasion, is mortal poison, may have some turbing recollection of my circumstances,) my first idea of the horror of my situation-others can have reflections, when I awoke in the morning, were hornone. My continual misery at length brought on rible and full of wretchedness. I looked forward a nervous fever: quiet forsook me by day, and to the approaching winter, and regretted the flight peace by night; even a finger raised against me of every moment which brought it nearer, like a seemed more than I could bear.
man borne away, by a rapid torrent, into a storm “In this posture of mind, I attended regularly at sea, whence he sees no possibility of returning, and the office, where, instead of a soul upon the rack, where he knows he cannot subsist. By degrees, I the most active spirits were essential to my purpose. acquired such a facility in turning away my thoughts I expected no assistance from any one there, all the from the ensuing crisis, that, for weeks together, I inferior clerks being under the influence of my op- hardly adverted to it at all: but the stress of the ponents; accordingly, I received none. The Jour- tempest was yet to come, and was not to be avoided nal books were, indeed thrown open to me; a thing by any resolution of mine to look another way. which could not be refused, and from which, per "How wonderful are the works of the Lord, and haps, a man in health, with a head turned to busi- his ways past finding out! Thus was he preparing ness, might have gained all the information wanted, me for an event which I least of all expected, even But it was not so with me. I read without percep the reception of his blessed gospel, working by tion, and was so distressed, that had every clerk in means which, in all human contemplation, must the office been my friend, it would have availed me needs seem directly opposite to that purpose, but little, for I was not in a condition to receive instruc- which, in his wise and gracious disposal, have, I tion, much less to elicit it from manuscripts, with trust, effectually accomplished it.” out direction."
In October, 1763, Cowper was again required to The following extract from a letter to his amiable attend the office, and prepare for the final push. cousin, Lady Hesketh, written 9th August, 1763, This recalled all his fears, and produced a renewal through which runs that happy mixture of what of all his former misery. On revisiting the scene may not perhaps improperly be termed, playful seri- of his previous ineffectual labors, he felt himself ousness, which distinguishes almost the whole of pressed by difficulties on either side, with nothing his epistolary productions, and imparts to them a before him but prospects of gloom and despair. He charm superior to that of almost any other writer, saw that he must either keep possession of the situwill illustrate the state of his mind at that period! ation to the last extremity, and thus expose himself “Having promised to write to you, I make haste to to the risk of public rejection for his insufficiency, be as good as my word. I have a pleasure in wri- or relinquish it at once, and thus run the bazard of ting to you at any time, but especially at the present, ruining his benefactor's right of appointment, and when my days are spent in reading the Journals, losing the only chance he seemed to have of proand my nights in dreaming of them, an employ- curing for himself a comfortable competence for ment not very agreeable to a head that has long life, and of being united to the individual to whom been habituated to the luxury of choosing its sub- he was most tenderly and affectionately attached. ject, and has been as little employed upon business, His terrors on this occasion had become so overas if it had grown upon the shoulders of a much whelming, as to induce that lamented aberration of wealthier gentleman. But the numscull pays for it mind under which he is generally known to have now, and will not presently forget the discipline it suffered. The dreadful apprehensions which for has undergone lately. If I succeed in this doubtful so long a time had haunted him day and night, piece of promotion, I shall have at least the satis- leaving him not a moment's interval of peace, had, faction to reflect upon, that the volumes I write will at length, wound him up to the highest pitch of menbe treasured up with the utmost care for ages, and tal agony. The anguish of his lacerated spirit was will last as long as the English constitution, a dura- inconceivable. The idea of appearing in public tion which ought to satisfy the vanity of any author. I was, to his gentle but amiable mind, even more bit
ier than death. To his disordered perception there 1 of which he had feared more than he feared death appeared no possibility for him to escape from the itself
, such were the melancholy results of his dis. horrors of his situation, but by an escape from life tress, that all his friends immediately acquiesced in itself. Death, which he had always shuddered at the propriety of his relinquishing the situation for before, he began ardently to wish for now. He ever. Thus ended his connection with the House could see nothing before him but difficulties per- of Lords; unhappily, bowever, his sufferings did fectly insurmountable. The supposed ruined state not end here. Bespair still inflicted on him its of his pecuniary circumstances-the imagined con- deadliest sting, and he saw not how it could be extempt of his relations and acquaintance—and the tracted; Grief poured its full tide of anguish into apprehended prejudice he should do his patron, his heart, and he could perceive nothing before him urged the fatal expedient upon his shattered intel- but one interminable prospect of misery. lect, which he now meditated with inexpressible "O Providence! mystenous are thy ways! energy,
Inflexibla thine everlasting plans! At this important crisis, when it pleased God, who
The finite power of man can ne'er resist giveth not to man an account of his proceedings, to The unseen hand which guides, protects, preserves, permit a cloud, darker than midnight, to gather Nor penetrates the inscrutable design round the mind of the poet, so that he saw no pos Of Him, whose council is his sovereign will. sible way of escape but the one above alluded to,
Prosperity's bright sun withdraws his beams, and when he peculiarly needed the counsel of some
Thick clouds and tempests gather round the sky,
The winds of fierce temptations, and the waves judicious and kind friend, it so happened that he
Of trials fell, assault the feeble bark, fell successively into the company of two most un And drive it headlong 'midst the cragged rocks happy sophists, who both advanced claims to the We look with wonder on, but seek in vain right self-destruction, and whose fallacious argu The deep designs of Heaven herein to scan; ments won him over to their pernicious views. This The sacred page itself reveals not this. was, unhappily, rendered more easy than it other Yet who that knows there is a Power above, wise would have been, by his recollection of an im
Would not 'assert eternal Providence,
And justify the works of God to man?!" pious book which he had read when very young, the arguments of which, though they then appeared to At this period of the poet's history, it appears de him, in their true light, as utterly inconclusive and sirable to remark, in confutation of those who attriperfectly contemptible, now came afresh to his dis- bute, or at least endeavor to attribute his malady to ordered mind, and seemed irrefutable; the situa- his religion, that, viewed either as an originating tion in which he was now placed, inducing him to cause, or in any other light, it can never be proved catch eagerly at any thing that would justify the to have had any connection with it. It will not be means of relief to which he wished to resort. How denied, that those sacred truths, which, in all cases careful ought all to be, who are intrusted with the where they are properly received, prove an unfaileducation of youth, that no pernicious books may ing source of the most salutary contemplation to the fall into their hands! No evil consequences may, underanged mind, were in his case, through the perhaps, arise from it at the time, but who can cal- distorting medium of his malady, converted into a culate what may be the future result?
vehicle of intellectual poison. It is, however, as Dr. The disordered state of Cowper's mind, at this Johnson well observes," a most erroneous and unperiod, will be seen by the following anecdote. happy idea to suppose that those views of ChristiTaking up a newspaper for the day, his eye caught anity which Cowper adopted, and of which, when a satirical letter which it happened to contain, and enjoying the iniervals of reason, after he was though it had no relation whatever to his case, he brought to the knowledge of them, he was so bright doubted not but the writer was fully acquainted an ornament, had in any degree contributed to exwith his purpose, and in fact, intended to hasten its cite the malady with which he was afflicted. It is execution. Wrought up to a degree of anguish capable of the clearest demonstration that nothing almost unbearable, he now experienced a convul- was further from the truth. On the contrary, all sive agitation that in a manner deprived him of all those alleviations of sorrow, those delightful anticihis powers. Hurried on by the deplorable induce- pations of heavenly rest, those healing consolations w.ents above related, and perceiving no possibility to a wounded spirit, of which he was permitted to of escaping from his misery by any other means, taste, at the period when interrupted reason reall around him wearing only an aspect of gloom sumed its sway, were unequivocally to be ascribed and despair, it will be no wonder to the reader, that to the operation of those very principles and vicws before the tremendous day approached, the day on of religion, which, in the instance before us, have which his tender spirit was to have encountered an been charged with producing so opposite an effect. examination before the House of Lords, he had the primary aberration of his mental faculties was made several attempts at the escape above alluded wholly to be attributed to other causes," as indeed to. Most happily, indeed, and most mercifully, for will satisfactorily appear, by the following affecting himself and for others, they were only attempts; description he has given of himself at this period. for it was the will of a gracious Providence, not “To this moment, I had felt no concern of a spionly to preserve his life for the exercise of a sound ritual kind: ignorant of original sin; insensible of and vigorous mind, but to make that mind an in- the guilt of actual transgression, I understood neistrument of incalculable benefit to his country, and, ther the law nor the gospel--the condemning nature we may almost say, to the world, by advancing and of the one, nor the restoring mercies of the other. promoting the best interests of mankind, morality I was as much unacquainted with Christ in all his and religion.
saving offices, as if his name had never reached The depths of affliction and sorrow which the me. Now, therefore, a new scene opened upon amiable sufferer now endured, were such that he me. might truly say with the Psalmist, “ All thy waves "My sins were set in array against me, and I beand thy billows are gone over me. I am troubled, gan to see and feel that I had lived without God in I am bowed down greatly, my heart is pained within the world. One moment I thought myself shut out me, my sorrow is continually before me; fearful- from mercy by one chapter, and the next by another. ness and trembling are come upon me. I sink in The sword of the Spirit seemed to guard the tree deep mire where is no standing, I am come into of life against my touch, and to flame against me in deep waters where the floods overflow me.” When every avenue by which I attempted to approach a. at length the long-dreaded davarrived, the approach | I particularly remember, that the perable of the bar
en fig-tree was to me an inconceivable source of in a brief but very sincere petition, “ Most earnestly anguish. I applied it to my case, with a strong per- do I wish it would please God to bestow it on me.' suasion that it was a curse pronounced on me by the His brother, perceiving he had received some Saviour.
benefit from this interview, in his desire to relieve "In every volume I opened, I found something the poet's depressed mind, wisely overlooked the that struck me to the heart. I remember taking up difference of sentiments on the great subjects of one; and the first sentence I saw condemned me. religion, which then existed between himself and Every thing seemed to preach to me, not the gospel Mr. Madan, and discovered the greatest anxiety of mercy, but the curse of the law. In a word, I that he should embrace the earliest opportunity to saw myself a sinner altogether;, but I saw not yet a converse with him again. He now urged Cowper glimpse of the mercy of God'in Christ Jesus the to visit Mr. Madan at his own house, and offered to Lord.”
accompany him thither. After much entreaty, CowCowper now wrote to his brother to inform him per consented; and though the conversation was of the afflicting circumstances in which he was not then the means of affording him any permanent placed. His brother immediately paid him a visit, relief, it was not without its use. He was easier, and employed every means in his power to alleviate but not easy; the wounded spirit within him was his distress. All his cfforts, however, proved una- less in pain, but by no means healed. A long train vailing; he found him almost overwhelmed with of still greater terrors than any he had yet endured despair, pertinaciously maintaining, in spite of all was at hand; and when he awoke the next mornremonstrances to the contrary, that he had been ing, after a few hours' sleep, he seemed to feel a guilty of the unpardonable sin, in not properly im- stronger alienation from God than ever. He was proving the mercy of God towards him at South- now again the subject of the deepest mental anguish; ampton. No favorable construction put upon his the sorrows of death seemed to encompass, and the conduct in that instance, by his brother, nor any ar- pains of hell to get hold of him; his ears rang with gument he employed, afforded him a moment's the sound of the torments that seemed to await hiin; alleviation of his distress. He rashly concluded his terrified imagination presented to him many that he had no longer any interest in the atonement, horrible visions, and led him to conceive that he or in the gifts of the Spirit, and that nothing was heard many horrible sounds; his heart seemed at left for him but the dismal prospect of eternally every pulse to beat its last; his conscience scared enduring the wrath of God. His brother, pierced him; the avenger of blood seemed to pursue him; to the heart at the sight of his misery, used every and he saw no city of refuge into which he could means to comfort him, but all to no purpose; so fee; every moment he expected the earth would deeply seated was his depression, that it rendered open, and swallow him up. utterly useless all the soothing reflections that were He was nuw suddenly attacked with that nervous suggested.
affection, of which the peculiar form of his mind At this trying period Cowper remembered his seemed to have made him susceptible, which on friend and relative, the Rev. Martin Madan; and, several subsequent occasions darkened his brightest though he had always considered him as an enthu- prospects, and which ultimately overwhelmed his siast, he was now convinced that, if there was any meek and gentle spirit, and caused him to end his balm in Gilead for him, Mr. Madan was the only days in circumstances the most gloomy and sorrowperson who could administer it. His friend lost no ful. So violent was the attack on this occasion, that time in paying him a visit; and perceiving the state his friends instantly perceived the change, and con of his mind, he began immediately to declare unto sulted on the best manner to dispose of him. Dr. him the gospel of Christ
. He spoke of original sin, Cotton then kept an establishment at St. Alban's for of the corruption of every man born into the world; the reception of such patients. His skill as a phyof the efficacy of the atonement made by Jesus sician, his well known humanity and sweetness of Christ; of the Redeemer's compassion for lost sin- temper, and the acquaintance that had subsisted beners, and of the full salvation provided for them in tween him and the afflicted patient, slight as it was, the gospel. He then adverted to the Saviour's in- determined them to place him under the doctor's tercession; described him as a compassionate Re- care. No determination could have been more deemer, who felt deeply interested in the welfare of wisely taken; and subsequent events proved it to every true penitent, who could sympathize with have been under His superintendence, who orders those who were in distress, and who was able to all things according to the councils of his own will, save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by and who, with the tenderest solicitude, watches over him. To this important information Cowper lis- his people; managing those events which to us aptened with the greatest attention; hope seemed to pear contingent, on principles of unerring wisdom; dawn upon his disconsolate mind; his heart burned and overruling them for the accomplishment of his within him whilst he listened to the word of life; gracious and benevolent intentions. his soul was pierced with a sense of his great ingratitude to so merciful a Saviour; tears of contrition
An anxious world may sigh in vain for what
Kind Heaven decrees in goodness to withhold; burst from his eyes; he saw clearly that this was But the momentous volume of his mind, the remedy his case required; and felt fully per When seen in yonder world, shall be approved, suaded that this was indeed the gospel of salvation. And all its plans pronounced unerring love." He, however, wanted that faith without which he could not recover its blessings. He saw the suitability of this gospel to his circumstances, but saw
CHAPTER III. not yet how one, so vile as he conceived himself to His removal to St. Alban's. Painful state of his mind there. Re be, could hope to partake of its benefits.
ceives a visit from his brother. Good effects of it. His recovery. Mr. Madan urged the necessity of a lively faith How it was effected. His subsequent happiness. Pleasing conver in the Redeemer, not as an assent of the understand sation with Dr. Cotton. The delightful manner in which he now ing only, but as the cordial belief of the heart unto passed his time. Description of his experience. His gratitude to righteousness; assured him, that though faith was God. Employs his brother to look out for him a new residence the gift of God, yet was it a gift that our heavenly
Leaves St. Alban's. Feelings on the occasion. Father was most willing to bestow, not on one only, On the 7th December, 1763, he was removed but on all that sought it by earnest and persevering to St. Alban's, and placed under the care of Dr. prayer. Cowper deeply deplored the want of this Cotton. And, notwithstanding the skilful and julech, and could only reply to his friend's remarks, dicious treatment pursued to effect his restoration,
he remained in the same gloomy and desponding “A few days after my arrival at St. Alban's, I had state for five months. Every means that ingenuity thrown aside the Bible as a book in which I had no could devise, and that benevolence and tenderness longer any interest or portion. The only instance could prompt, were resorted to for this protracted in which I can recollect reading a single chapter, period in vain. To describe in lengthened detail was about two inonths before my recovery. Hav. the state of his mind during this long interval, ing found a Bible on the bench in the garden, I would justly be deemed injudicious As Mr. Hay- opened it upon the 11th of John, where the miracle ley very properly remarks, “Mental derangement of Lazarus being raised from the dead is described; is a topic of such awful delicacy, that it is the duty and I saw so much berevolence, goodness, and merof a biographer, rather to sink in tender silence, cy, in the Saviour's conduct, that I almost shed than to proclaim with offensive temerity, the minule tears at the relation, little thinking that it was an particulars of a calamity to which all human beings exact type of the mercy, which Jesus was on the are exposed, and perhaps, in proportion as they point of extending towards myself. I sighed, and have received from nature, those delightful but dan- said, Oh, that I had not rejected so good a Redeemer, gerous gifts—a heart of exquisite tenderness, and a that I had not forfeited all his favor! Thus was mind of creative cnergy." "This, as Cowper most my hard heart softened ; and though my mind was beautifully sings :
not yet enlightened, God was gradually preparing
me for the light of his countenance, and the joys of "This is a sight for pity to peruse, Till she resembles faintly what she views;
his salvation. This, of all maladies that man infest,
“ The cloud of horror which had so long hung Claims most compassion and receives the least." over my mind began rapidly to pass away, every Without, however, entering minutely into parti- that I was not utterly doomed to destruction. The
moment came fraught with hopes. I felt persuaded culars, on this painful subject, it will not be deemed way of salvation was still
, however, hid from my improper to mention some of the leading facts re-eyes; nor did I see it clearer than
before my illness. specting it, and here we shall allow the poet again I only thought, that if it pleased God to spare me, I to become his own biographer.
would lead a betier life; and that I would yet es“ The accuser of the brethren was ever busy cape hell, if a religious observance of my duty would with me night and day, bringing to my recollection, secure me from it. Thus, may the terror of the the commission of long forgotten sins, and charging Lord make a pharisee; but only the sweet voice of upon my conscience, things of an indifferent nature mercy in the gospel can make a Christian. as atrocious crimes. Conviction of sin, and despair "But the happy period, which was to shake off of mercy, were the two prominent evils with which my fetters, and afford me a clear discovery of the I was continually tormented. But, blessed be the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus was now arrived. God of my salvation for every sigh I drew, and for I flung myself into a chair, near the window, and every tear I shed, since thus it pleased him to judge seeing a Bible there, ventured once more to apply me here, that I might not be judged hereafter. to it for comfort and instruction. The first verse 1
"After five months' continued expectation that saw, was the 25th of the 3d of Romans: Whom the divine vengeance would plunge me into the bot- God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith tomless pit, I became so familiar with despair, as to in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the rehave contracted a sort of hardiness and indifference mission of sins that are past, through the forbcarance as to the event. I began to persuade myself, that while of God. Immediately I received strength to bethe execution of the sentence was suspended, it would lieve, and the full beams of the sun of righteousness be for my interest to indulge a less horrible train of shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atoneideas, than I had been accustomed to muse apon. I ment he had made for my pardon and complete justientered into conversation with the doctor, laughed fication. In a moment I believed, and received the at his stories, and told him some of my own to match peace of the gospel. Whatever my friend Madan them; still, however, carrying a sentence of irrevo- had said to me, long before, revived in all its clearcable doom in my heart. He observed the seeming ness, with the demonstration of the spirit, and with alteration with pleasure, and began to think my re- power. covery well nigh completed; but the only thing that “Unless the Almighty arm had been under me, I could promote and effectuate my cure, was yet want think I should have been overwhelmed with gratiing; an experimental knowledge of the redemption tude and joy. My eyes filled with tears, and my which is in Christ Jesus.
voice choked with transport. I could only look up " About this time my brother came from Cam- to heaven in silent fear, overwhelmed with love bridge to pay me a visit. Dr. C. having informed and wonder. But the work of the Holy Spirit is him, that he thought me better, he was disappointed best described in his own words :—it is 'Joy unat finding me almost as silent and reserved as ever. speakable and full of glory.' Thus was my heavenly As soon as we were left alone, he asked me hov I father in Christ Jesus, pleased to give me the full found myself; I answered, as much better as des- assurance of faith; and, out of a strong, unbelieving pair can make me. We went together into the heart, to raise up a child unto Abraham. How garden. Here, on my expressing a settled assu- glad should I now have been to have spent every rance of sudden judgment, he protested to me that moment in prayer and thanksgiving! I lost no opit was all a delusion; and protested so strongly, that portunity of repairing to the throne of grace; but I could not help giving some attention to him. I few to it with an earnestness irresistible, and neburst into tears, and cried out, If it be a delusion, ver to be satisfied. Could I help it? Could I do then am I the happiest of beings. Something like otherwise than love and rejoice in my reconciled a ray of hope was now shot into my heart, but still Father in Christ Jesus? The Lord had enlarged I was afraid to indulge it. We dined together, and my heart, and I could now cheerfully run in the I spent the afternoon in a more cheerful manner. way of his commandments. Something seemed to whisper to me, every moment, "For many succeeding weeks tears would be ready still there is mercy. Even after he left me, this to flow if I did but speak of the gospel, or mention change of sentiment gathered round continually; the name of Jesus. To rejoice day and night was yet, my mind was in such a fluctuating state, that I all my employment; too happy to sleep much, I can only call it a vague presage of better things at | thought it but lost time that was thus spent. Oh, hand, without being able to assiga any reason for that the ardor of my first love had continued ! But it.
I have known many a lifeless and unhallowed hour
since; long intervals of darkness, interrupted by have long been endeared by their own intrinsic exshort returns of peace and joy in believing!" cellence. The first is upon Revelation xxi. 5; the
His excellent physician, ever watchful and ap- second is entitled Retirement. The following lines prehensive for his welfare, now became alarmed, of it are so touchingly beautiful, so correctly dessest the sudden transition, from despair to joy, criptive of the overflowings of his heart in solitude, should wholly overpower his mind; but the Lord while he walked with God, and was a stranger in was his strength and his song, and had become his the earth, having left his own connections, and not salvation. Christ was now formed in his heart, the yet found new ones in the church; and breathe hope of glory; his fears were all dispelled; despair, throughout in strains so pure, tender, and unrewith its horrid train of cvils, was banished from served, the language of the Christian's first love, his mind; a new and delightful scene was now that they cannot fail to be read with deep interest. opened before him; he became the subject of new affections, new desires, and new joys; in a word,
"The calm retreat, the silent shade,
With prayer and praise agree; old things were passed away, and all things were
And seem by thy sweet bounty made become new. God had brought him up out of the For those who follow thee. horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and had put a new song into his mouth, even praise to his God. There, if thy Spirit touch the soul, He felt the full force of that liberty, of which he
And grace her mean abode, afterwards so sweetly sung
Oh, with what peace, and joy, and love,
She communes with her God. "A liberty unsung, By poets, and by senators unpraised,
There like the nightingale she pours
Her solitary lays; E'en liberty of heart, derived from heaven;
Nor asks a witness of her song,
Nor thirsts for human praise.'
His letters, written about this period, as well as The apprehensions of Dr. C. soon subsided; he those of a subsequent date, abound with proofs of saw with delight undoubted proofs of his patient's his deep acquaintance with Christian experience. perfect recovery, became satisfied with the sound. The following remarks are taken from a letter to ness of his cure, and subsequently had much sweet Mrs. Cowper "The deceitfulness of the natural communion with him in conversing about the great heart is inconceivable. I know well that I passed things of salvation. He now visited him every among my friends for a person at least religiously morning, as long as he remained under his care, inclined, if not actually religious; and what is which was near twelve months after his recovery, more wonderful, I thought myself a Christian when and the gospel was invariably the delightful theme I had no faith in Christ, and when I saw no beauty of their conversation. The patient and the physi- in him that I should desire him; in short, when I cian became thus every day more endeared to each had neither faith, nor love, nor any Christian grace other; and Cowper often afterwards looked back whatever, but a thousand seeds of rebellion instead, upon this period, as among the happiest days he hadevermore springing up in enmity against him; but, ever spent.
blessed be the God of my salvation, the hail of His time no longer hung heavily upon his hands; affliction and rebuke has swept away the refuge of but every moment of it that he could command was lies. It pleased the Almighty, in great mercy, to set employed in seeking to acquire more comprehen- all my misdeeds before me. At length, the storm sive views of the gospel. The Bible became his being past, a quick and peaceful serenity of soul constant companion; from this pure fountain of succeeded, such as ever attends the gift of a lively truth he drank of that living water, which was in faith in the all-sufficient atonement, and the sweet bim a well of water, springing up into everlasting sense of mercy and pardon purchased by the blood life. Conversation on spiritual subjects afforded of Christ. Thus did he break me and bind me up; him a high degree of enjoyment. Many delightful thus did he wound me and make me whole. This, seasons did he spend thus employed, while he re- however, is but a summary account of my convermained with his beloved physician. His first tran- sion; neither would a volume contain the astonishsports of joy having subsided, a sweet serenity of ing particulars of it. If we meet again in this spirit succeeded, uninterrupted by any of those dis- world, I will relate them to you; if not, they will tressing sensations which he had before experienced; serve for the subject of a conference in the next, prayer and praise were his daily employment; his where, I doubt not, we shall remember, and record heart overflowed with love to his Redeemer, and them with a gratitude better suited to the subject." his meditation of him was sweet. In his own ex
In another letter to his amiable and accomplished pressive and beautiful lines, he felt
cousin, Lady Hesketh, he thus writes. “Since the
visit you were so kind as to pay me in the Temple, "Ere yet mortality's fine threads gave way, (the only time I ever saw you without pleasure,) A clear escape from tyrannizing sin, And full immunity from penal woe.
what have I not suffered? And since it has pleased
God to restore me to the use of my reason, what His application to the study of the Scriptures have I not enjoyed? You know by experience how must at this time have been intense ; for in the short pleasant it is to feel the first approaches of health space of twelve months he acquired comprehensive after a fever; but oh! the fever of the brain! to and scriptural views of the great plan of redemp- feel the quenching of that fire, is indeed a blessing tion; and, in addition to this, his conceptions of real which I think it impossible to receive without the Christian experience, as distinguished from delu- most consummate gratitude. Terrible as this chassion and hypocrisy, were accurate and striking, and tisement is, I acknowledge in it the hand of infisuch as one would only have expected from an ex- nite justice; nor is it at all more difficult for me to perienced Christian. He now composed two hymns, perceive in it the hand of infinite mercy; when I which exhibit an interesting proof of the scriptural consider the effect it has had upon me, I am excharacter of those religious views he had then emceedingly thankful for it, and esteem it the greatest braced. These hymns he himself styles specimens blessing, next to life itself
, I ever received from the of his first Christian thoughts. Delightful speci- divine bounty. I pray God I may ever retain the mens indeed they are; and the circumstances un- sense of it, and then I am sure I shall continue to der which they were composed will greatly enhance be, as I am at present, really happy. My affliction their value in the minds of those to whom they has taught me a road to happiness, which, without