A day of agony, but hope in the end. I went into my study, I prayed – I wept. I never recollect to have gone to the Scripture reading with a more dejected heart; I expected to be short and dry, and difficult in my delivery. I chose the 14th of John for the second lesson, which comforted me, and when I began the exposition I was amazed at my animation, very much above the usual standard. The passage was Luke 12. 1-6. I think I have perceived this more than once, though never so remarkably, that when I have least dependence on myself God raises me in my ministrations.
May God direct in my future conduct! What I am suffering no mortal can tell; Christ suffered more for my sins, and He too sees all that I suffer, and how much more I deserve.
My mind is more upset and distressed, and my heart more torn than usual. I am very wretched, and yet not so wretched as my sins deserve that I should be or as they caused Christ to be. When I was alone I was greatly agitated, but prayer calmed me. Again:Â—
A grievous trial. My heart has since been poured out earnestly to God or it would have broken.
It is a relief to turn from these evidences of the Lord’s chastening to a few proofs of ministerial usefulness at the very same date. The state of Mrs. MÂ—’s mind is very interesting. Her anxious thirst for Christian knowledge is quite delightful, and the singleness of heart with which she endeavours to give up reason to the power of Christ remarkable. It shows itself in the implicit confidence with which she seeks to realize the application of God’s Word to her own case, and her readiness to give up the most agreeable of her gratifications to conform to the requirements of Scripture. Her manner of speaking of her own conversion -giving the glory to God, and tracing me as the instrument – went to my heart. What mercy is this which God showers upon me! What am I that He should make such glorious use of me? These things overwhelm me sometimes; they make me see the wisdom of His working with me in other ways. May His great name be praised!
I went to see little MÂ— of the sixth class of the Sunday-school. She is very ill. I questioned her, and found that she had not leamt at the Sunday-school by rote only. She has a knowledge of the way
of salvation, of her own sinfulness, and of the need of seeking Christ and coming to Him. This proof of the usefulness of the school greatly delighted me. I prayed with her, and she felt what I said very much.
Passing by JÂ—’s door I saw him at his dinner, but they begged me to come in, and seemed glad to see me. Our talk fell directly on godly things. J. spoke of Wednesday’s sermon and said it had touched his heart; that while he was at work it came up to his thoughts in spite of himself. It had made him think himself very bad, more than he had ever thought before. I said what I thought most likely by God’s grace to deepen the impression by making the point of the sermon individual to himself. May God prosper the Word in the man’s heart.
Extracted from the diary of Alexander Dallas, 1791-1869