The Quality of Mercy, Unstrained
From the diary of the Rev. J. J. Janeway.
March 2, 1806.
“My mind has been teeming with charitable schemes. I have thought that, had I wealth, I should esteem it an honour to employ all, beside what my subsistence required, in relieving the poor and in aiding the promotion of the gospel. But I have suspected a mixture of corrupt passion and self-seeking in these imagined schemes; and on this account I have prayed God to purify my views and motives, and give me charity out of a pure heart, and faith unfeigned. How deceitful the heart! It becomes a Christian to see that, while he thinks he is doing God service, he do not seek himself. This day I preached on Christian zeal. Ah! how much I want of this virtue! Would to God I had more!
But alas I am sluggish, and feel little of that holy fervour which warmed and animated the spirits of the apostles. With respect to the church to which I am connected, I desire to think and act with meekness and moderation. The will of God be done! If it is my duty to remain here and make unusual sacrifices, as I have since my marriage, I desire to know and do it. At present I have but few thoughts about it. God gave me what I have, and he has a right to take it when he will.”
The duty of pastoral visitation he recognized and practised. His systematic habits enabled him to accomplish much in this matter. Of it he made a conscience; though he often complains of want of disposition and talent to drop a word for God, and render his visits more practical. Of his own feelings he never was accustomed to speak much. He was silent as to what God had done for his soul. But to reprove vice and rebuke sin he never failed. A gentle savour of piety seasoned his conversation; and at the bedside of the sick and dying he was peculiarly happy. Others thought well of his services in such respects; but he judged himself severely by the word of God, and felt that he had fallen below the standard. But at home, and in the secresies of his closet, he wrestled for the fervour and earnestness which would qualify him for his work.