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THE UNANSWERABLE ARGUMENT.
“I COME," said Mr. R--, “to tell you the story of my conversion.” His lips trembled slightly as he spoke, and his bosom heaved with suppressed emotion. “I am as a brand plucked out of the burning. The change in my views and feelings is an astonishment to myself; and all brought about by the grace of God, and that unanswerable argument. It was a cold morning in January. The sun was just rising, and sending his dim rays through the fleecy clouds. The fire was burning, and I had just begun my labour at the anvil in my shop, when Î looked out, and saw elder B-approaching. He dismounted quickly, and entered. As he drew near, I saw he was agitated. His look was full of earnestness. His eyes were bedimmed with tears.
He took me by the hand. His breast heaved with emotion, and with indescribable tenderness he said, “Mr. R-, I am greatly concerned for your salvation-greatly concerned for your salvation, and he burst into tears. He stood with
my hand grasped in his. He struggled to regain self-possession. He often tried to speak, but not a word could he utter, and finding that he could say no more, he turned, went out of the shop, got on his horse, and rode slowly away
“'Greatly concerned for my salvation,' said I audibly, and I stood and forgot to bring my hammer down. There I stood with it upraised — greatly concerned for my salvation. Here is a new argument for the truth of religion, which I have never heard before, and which I know not how to answer. Had the elder reasoned with me, I could have confounded him; but here is no threadbare argument for the truth of religion. Religion must be true, or this man would not feel as he does. Greatly concerned for my salvation,'-it rung through my ears
like a thunder-clap in a clear sky. Greatly concerned I ought to be for my own salvation, said I-what shall I do?
“ I went to my house. My poor pious wife, whom I had always ridiculed for her religion, as I called it, exclaimed, Why, Mr. R- what is the matter with
• Matter enough,' said I, matter enough?-filled with agony and overwhelmed with a sense of sin. " Old elder B-has rode two miles this cold morning to tell me he was greatly concerned for my salvation. What shall I do? what shall I do?'
6. I do not know what you can do,' said my now astonished wife, 'I do not know wilat better you can do, than to get on your horse, and go and see the elder. He can give you better counsel than I, and tell you what you must do to be saved.'
“No sooner said than done. I mounted my horse and pursued after him. I found him alone in that same little room, where he had spent much of the night in prayer for my poor soul, where he had shed many tears over such a reprobate as I, and had besought God to have mercy upon me.
«I am come,' said I to him, “to tell you that I am greatly concerned for my own salvation.'
66. Praised be God,' said the elder. It is a faithful saying, and worthy of acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even the very chief,' and he began at that same Scripture, and preached to me Jesus. On that same floor we knelt, and together we prayed—and we did not separate that day till God spoke peace to my soul. I have often been requested to look at the evidence of the truth of religion, but blessed be God, I have evidence for its truth herelaying his hand upon his heart — which nothing can gainsay or resist. I have often been led to look at this and that argument for the truth of Christianity, but I could overturn, and as I thought, completely demolish and annihilate them all. But I stand here to-night, thankful to acknowledge that God sent an argument to my conscience and heart, which could not be answered me to say,
or resisted, when the weeping elder came to me to tell me how greatly concerned he was for my salvation. God taught him that argument, when he spent the night before him in prayer for my soul. Now I can truly say that I am a happy man. My peace flows like a river. My consistent, uncomplaining wife, who so long bore with my impiety and unbelief, now rejoices with
me, that by the grace of God I am what I am that whereas I was blind, now I see. And here permit
if you would wish to reach the heart of such a poor sinner as I, you must get your qualifications where the good old elder did, in your closet, and as he did, on his knees. So it shall be with me.
I will endeavour to reach the hearts of my infidel friends through the closet, and by prayer."
He sat down overcome with emotion, amid the tears and the suppressed sobs of the assembly. All were touched; for all knew what he once was, all saw whạt he had now become.
Time, on his noiseless wing, pursues his rapid flight." Years have gone by—and the good old elder has been numbered with the dead. But the converted infidel still lives; an earnest, honest, faithful, humble Christian.
MERCY'S CALLS. “Behold I stand at the door and knock!” says Christ. He seems to expect that the door will at once be flung open, and he be received with reverential homage and grateful joy! And is it too much for him who has bestowed on us life and all its blessings, and whose watchful care preserves us every moment; and who, when by our rebellion against him, we had incurred his righteous displeasure --descended himself from his everlasting throne, and veiling his Godhead under a garb of flesh, dwelt amongst us as a man--even a man of sorrows—that in the nature which had sinned, he might offer an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, and thus open a way by which we might be reinstated in his favour; and instead of being cast out, as we deserved,
might be exalted to heaven? Is it too much for him, who has manifested such love for us, to expect that when he is heard knocking at the door of our hearts, and calling to us, we will, the very moment we hear his voice, run with delighted eagerness to open the door, and receive with grateful adoration our celestial Guest?
THE CALL REJECTED,
Earth affords another sight, yet more calculated to fill heaven with astonishment. It is a man refusing to listen to God; it is the creature turning a deaf ear to the Creator; it is the sinner leaving the Saviour knocking at the door, and not merely neglecting to open it, but keeping it fast closed, and with cold contempt, or scornful pride, refusing to receive him. And how this insult is aggravated by the readiness with which the door of the heart is opened to every other guest! First, the objects of our earthly love; all that have a just claim on our affections, knock at the door of the heart, and it is at once opened, and they enter and dwell there. Then the world knocks, and the door is at once opened, and the world comes, with its train of lying vanities, and cheating promises, and disappointing hopes, and unsatisfying joys, and they enter and dwell there. And then sin knocks, and the door is opened, and sin comes with its train of polluting thoughts, and vile affections, and unhallowed tempers, and abominable lusts, and they all enter into the heart, and dwell there. And then Satan knocks, and the door is opened to him, and he comes with his train of impure and accursed spirits, and they all enter into the heart, and dwell there. And then Jesus comes, attended by a train of holy and heavenly tempers and affections—hopes and joys: he comes in his own glory, and his Father's glory, and his holy angels with him, bearing in one hand a divinely wrought robe of righteousness, and, in the other, a blood-bought crown of glory; and he stands at the door and knocks, but the door is not opened to him, and he stands there, day after day, waiting and knocking, but still the door is not opened: that door which was opened at once to every other guest from earth or hell, is kept closed, barred as with bars of iron, against him; and he is left standing and knocking, and knocking in vain! How justly has the human heart, in its natural state, been compared to the inn of Bethlehem, where every guest could find room, and every guest was welcome, except the Saviour of mankind!
THE CALL OF TRUTH.
Have you never heard him knocking at the door of your heart ? Can you remember no occasion on which the ambassador of Christ solemnly pressed on you the Saviour's claim, dwelt on his love and preciousness, exhibited him as wounded for your transgressions, crowned with thorns, and crucified for the salvation of your soul? Heard
you then no knocking at your heart? Was there no voice within that echoed the voice of the preacher upbraiding you for having so slighted the love and spurned the salvation of the Son of God? Or, in that hour, amidst the stillness and darkness of the night, before deep sleep falleth upon men, have you never felt as if there was one looking on you, on whom you feared to look? an eye before whose glance you quailed? a voice, at whose sound you trembled, while it cried, ‘Ungrateful sinner, why slightest thou me?"
THE CALL OF AFFLICTION.
Have your earthly hopes been blighted-your earthly prospects clouded? Have riches fled, or friends for
Has health declined, strength failed, and spirits drooped? Have days of weakness and weariness, and nights of suffering and sleeplessness been appointed unto you? And have you heard no voice, amidst the ruins of your earthly happiness, or beside your bed of pain, calling on you in solemn, tender accents—“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: I have sent these trials, as messengers to prepare the way before me: open thy heart, and I will come in, and thou shalt find rest for thy soul in my love, on earth, and eternal rest with me in heaven”?