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scornfully, and began to swear ; the other paused and pondered : he was evidently struck with the nature of the invitation, and probably also with the earnestness and simplicity with which it was delivered. His companion again swore, and was about to drag him away; but he still paused. I repeated the invitation, and in a few seconds he looked in my face, and said, “When I was a boy like you, I went to church every Sunday. I have not been inside of a church for three years. I don't feel right. I believe I will go with you.” I seized his hand, and led him back to the house of God, in spite of the oaths and remonstrances of his comparion. The doors were now open, and the church was filling rapidly; we entered, and I conducted him to the pew where my mother was already seated. A most excellent sermon was preached from Eccles. xi. 1, “ Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.” The young man was attentive, but seemed abashed and downcast.
At the conclusion of the service, he hastened out of the church, but he was closely followed, and soon overtaken by my mother, who kindly said to him, “Have you a Bible, young man ?” “No, ma'am; but I can get one,” was his reply. “You can read, of course ?" said she. “Yes ma'am.” “Well, take my son's Bible, until you procure one of your own. Read it attentively during the week, and come to meeting again next Lord's day. I will always be happy to accommodate you with a seat.”
He put the Bible into his pocket, and hurried away. At family worship that evening, my mother prayed fervently for the conversion of that young man.
Next Sunday came, and the next, but the stranger did not appear. My mother frequently spoke of him, and appeared grieved at his 'absence. He had doubtless been the subject of her closet devotions. On the third Sabbath morning, while the congregation were singing the first psalm, the young man again entered our pew. He was now dressed genteelly, and appeared thin and pale, as if from recent sickness. My mother looked at him with great earnestness, and a gleam of satisfaction and thankfulness overspread her pale, intellectual features. Immediately after the benediction, the stranger laid my Bible on the desk and left the place, without giving my mother an opportunity she much desired, of conversing with him. On one of the blank leaves of the Bible we found some writing in pencil, signed“ W.C.” The writer stated that he had been confined to his room by sickness, for the previous two weeks. He declared his inability to express the gratitude he felttowards my mother, for the interest she had manifested in his spiritual welfare: he asked to be remembered in her prayers, and concluded by stating that he was an Englishman, and would return to his native land in about ten days.
Years rolled on; my mother passed to her heavenly rest; I grew up to manhood, and the stranger was forgotten.
In the autumn of 18—, the ship St. George, of which I was the medical officer, anchored in Table Bay. Between us and Penguin Island, I observed a man-of-war, which I had seen before, and knew well; it was Her Majesty's brigChanticleer, of ten guns, Commander Forbes, on a surveying expedition. The surgeon of the brig, Dr. F-, had been my preceptor, and I resolved to pay him a visit. He received me with his usual warmth and kindness. After dining with the gun-room officers, he proposed that on the following day, which was the Sabbath, we should attend meeting in Cape Town. “It will remind us,” he said, “ of old times, when we used to go arm in arm to church in Union-street."
Next day, in company with my friend, I attended morning service at the Wesleyan chapel. At the conclusion of worship, a gentleman seated behind me, asked to look at my Bible. In a few minutes he returned it, and I walked into the street. We had arranged to dine at the “George,” was mounting the steps in front of that hotel, when the gentleman who had examined my Bible, laid his hand on my shoulder, and begged to have a few minutes' conversation. We were shown into a private apartment. As soon as we were seated, he examined my countenance with great attention, and then began to sob; tears rolled down his cheeks; he was evidently labouring under intense emotion. He appeared to be about thirty-five years of age, was tall and slender, and neatly dressed, but apparently in had health. He asked me several questions—my name, age, occupation, birth-place, &c. He then inquired if I had not, when á boy, many years ago, invited a drunken Sabbath-breaker to a seat in Dr. B's church. I was astonished—the subject of my mother's anxiety and prayers was before me. Mutual explanations and congratulations followed, after which Mr. C. gave me a short history of his life, from the time he left Scotland to the day on which we met so unexpectedly in a foreign land.
He was born in Leeds, of highly respectable and religious parents, who had given him a good education, and trained him up in the way of righteousness. When he was fifteen years of age, his father died, and his mother's impaired circumstances obliged her to take him from school, and put him to learn a trade. In his new situation he imbibed all manner of evil, became incorrigibly vicious, and broke his mother's heart. Freed now from all parental restraint, he left his employers, and travelled to Scotland. In the city of Glasgow he had lived and sinned for two years, when he was arrested in his career through my mother's instrumentality. On the first Sabbath of our strange interview in Union-street, he confessed that after he left the church, he was seized with pangs of unutterable remorse.
The sight of a mother and her son worshipping God together, recalled the happy days of his own boyhood, when he went to church and Sunday-school, and when he also had a mother-a mother whose latter days he had embittered, and whose gray hairs he had brought with sorrow to the grave. His mental suffering threw him on a bed of sickness, from which he arose a changed man. He returned to England, cast himself at the feet of his maternal uncle, and asked and obtained forgiveness. His conviction of sin-his battlings with temptation-his repentance-his victory over the world—the growth of his faith in the great atonement-and, finally, his peace in believing, formed a deeply-interesting and instructive narrative. With his uncle's consent, he studied for the ministry, and on being ordained, he entered the Missionary field, and had been labouring for several years in Southern Africa.
“The moment I saw your Bible this morning,” he said, “I recognised it; and the examination of the writing, which is still legible on the blank leaf, assured me that I was not mistaken. And now, do you know who was my companion on the memorable Sabbath you invited me to church ? He was the notorious Jack Hill, who was hanged about a year afterwards for highway robbery. You can now see and appreciate the terrible fate from which I was rescued by the unfathomable love and boundless grace of God, through your own and your mother's instrumentality. I was dragged from the very brink of infamy and destruction, and saved as a brand from the burning. You remember Dr. B's text on the day of my salvation : Cast thy bread upon the waters ; for thou shalt find it after many days. The proud, hardened, scoffing sinner is found, after thirteen years
, a humble minister of salvation to the benighted heathen ; and your sainted mother is doubtless enjoying the reward of those who turn many. to righteousness--shining as the stars for ever and ever.- Sunday-school Union Magazine,
OLIVE LEAVES, FROM RICHARD WATSON.
1. THE IMPOTENCE OF CIVILIZATION, OF SCIENCE, AND POLITICAL
ENFRANCHISEMENT, AS MEANS OF HUMAN RECOVERY.
The Gospel is the grand means appointed for the recovery of man. This is a truth which cannot be too deeply impressed upon our minds. We live in an age of bold speculation ; and the speculations of too many on this subject have been conducted with too little regard for the authority of God. If, however, we have a plain and full direction from Him who is wisdom itself, what need we more? Why stop to question, when it is our duty to obey ? But opinions have conflicted on a subject to which revelation has given certainty, and the recorded judgment of heaven has been neglected in the passion for theory amongst men. Some have demurred to Missionary efforts, because in their opinion, heathen nations ought first to be civilized. But where are the apostles of civilization to be found? Who will cross seas and traverse continents, to teach them arts, and laws, and science ? they to be left in their wretchedness till the boundaries of the civilized world, pushed out by the slow process of commerce or conquest, shall at length reach them? But the argument, if good for anything, is only very partially applicable, for there are but few, very few, perhaps none of the Heathen so completely savage as not to be able to comprehend the main doctrines and duties of Christianity, when once their language is understood by their teachers. When Christianity is introduced, civilization follows of course ; and the desired end is reached by the direct instead of the circuitous road. Religion is the most efficient instrument of civilization. It is that which marks the distinctions between right and wrong with certainty, and therefore gives birth to good laws; it adds to human hopes, and fears, the solemn sanction of eternity, and by giving force to conscience, ensures their better observance ; and it is the parent of morality, industry, and public spirit, the foundation and the top-stone, the strength and the sinew of all well-ordered society.
Others have looked for the amelioration of the human race from the progress of science. But they forget that science affords no cure for moral evil; and that when unallied with true religion, it must prove a curse and not a blessing. Knowledge is power, and like all other great powers, it is injurious and destructive when misdirected. It is only by the influenee of moral principles that it can receive its proper direction. Without this, the enlarged capabilities of the mind become solely the instruments of yngoverned passions. This is not presumption; it is the dictate of experience. Greece and Rome give it their joint testimony. “The world by wisdom knew not God ;” and in proportion to the advance of refinement and the cultivation of science, both Greece and Rome sunk the deeper into the pollution of superstition and vice.
Another class of speculatists, would wait until wars and revolutions have broken
up old systems of despotism, and introduced political liberty before any measures are taken to spread the Gospel. Here is another attempt to build the pyramid on its point. In vain do men expect liberty without virtue ; and where that exists, largely diffused through a people, oppression will be no more. It is in the religion of Christ, which ascertains all the relations of man, fixes the duties of all ranks, and enforces them by the highest motives, that we are to look for the principles of good government, as well as of civilization and science. It is "godliness which is profitable for all things; having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
2. CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE AS A MORAL POWER.
The principle which no other religion has laid down, and which every other is too weak to enforce, even if it could have conceived it, -—“No man liveth to himself,” will save the world. We see it already largely operating in charities which respect the wants of the body, and the higher charities which respect the interests of the immortal mind. It is this which founds schools, upholds the public exercise of the ministry at home, which translates the Holy Scriptures into the tongue of the whole earth, and spreads them before all nations; which organises the Societies that collect aid for Missionary enterprize, and sends forth the messengers of the churches to proclaim, in the seats of Pagan darkness, the religion of light and mercy; and it will carry the message of God's mercy to a fallen world far as the habitations of man are extended, and peace and joy attend its steps. In every place it proclaims “liberty to the captive," it “ binds up the broken-hearted ;” it comforts them that mourn.”
The world can only be made happy by the diffusion of moral principles ; and the ministration of the Gospel only can effectually diffuse them. Go then, system of mercy ; take to thyself the wings of our beneficence, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth ; go on thy errand of love, sped by our bounty and our prayers; confront the misleading errors of false religion, and banish them from human minds! Go testify to every fallen child of Adam that “God is love ;” bear thy message of mercy everywhere, and say, soerer will, let him come and take of the waters of life freely !" Go, breathe thy soft and peaceful spirit into men's hearts ; teach kings moderation, and their subjects order; destroy the causes of war in their fountain—the human heart, and bring "the desolations of the world to a perpetual end." Go, from conquest to conquest; and may thy triumphs never end, while there is a nation on the globe to bless, or a soul among its countless myriads to save!
3. CARISTIANITY God's PROVISION FOR Man's HAPPINESS. To say that man is miserable is to repeat a great but a most obvious truth. It cannot be otherwise. Between sin and misery there is a necessary connection, because that connection is established by the decree of God himself. “ There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” A diseased state of the vital organs might as well be supposed to exist without producing pain, as sin without sorrow. All the irregular appetites of sense, all the malignant and irascible passions, destroy the peace of the soul, and create hostile elements in society, fatal to its peace. Nor can ein be committed without inducing punishments, varied in degree, and frequently mitigated by mercy, but yet widely diffused, weighty and terrible. There is often a " lighting down of the arm” of God in judgment, which proves to all that he is wise in heart, and mighty in strength, and that none ever hardened himself against God and prospered.
In this state of things, where is the cure for human wretchedness ? What system but the Gospel can make even a plausible pretence to give happiness to the world ? Many experiments indeed have been tried in ancient and in modern times, to build up happy and peaceful societies ; but all have failed. Arts, science, legislation, are held up, it is true, as having a natural tendency to mitigate the evils of society, and to increase the sum of social happiness. But ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and modern China, have not been destitute of these, and yet, it may be doubted whether a thousand of their inhabitants, taken promiscuously, were not even less happy than an equal number of Hottentots, or any other totally uncivilized people. In modern times, and in Christian nations, we indeed see these external advantages connected with a milder, and generally speaking, a happier state of society. But then we see them operating in connection with those moralising effects, which, more or less, in all nations accompany Christianity. If arts, if sciences, if legislation, could restrain or cure the vices of the heart of man, they would in themselves promote his happiness ; but since we see them not only disconnected in fact, but
aving no relation at all to man's internal moral state, and respecting his external condition only, the remedy for the miseries of the world cannot lie in them; and Christianity is that remedy, provided by the benevolence of God, only because it is sanctifying. Its wisdom, then, is illustrated by this—that as human vice is the true source of human misery, it effects our happiness by the destruction of our vices. Pardon of sin is one of its great blessings, and yet with all its value, but one. It is, indeed, one of the first and earliest; it stands at the head of its gifts to man; but it is placed there only to head and lead up a long and joyful train of principles and emotions, which all flow from sanctity. Christianity would not have been wisdom, had it not provided for man's happiness; and it could only provide for it by effecting his regeneration. Had it surrounded him with the most favourable external conditions, and changed everything but the moral man, and restored Paradise itself, the breath of a polluted heart would have withered its bloom, and darkened its glory : if the whole earth had been at peace, a torn and distracted heart, a guilty and foreboding conscience, could have known no peace.
But the true remedy is provided. “ The kindness of God towards man has appeared,” not “in word,” but “in power.” Ours is not a religion of ordinances, but a religion of the heart; it is not merely a palliative, but
It tracks the stream of human misery to its source in our fallen nature, and purifies the fountain itself. Its sanative influence follows the moral disease through every vein it has envenomed, and neutralizes the poison, and restores the vigour of the moral constitution.
SUNDAY SCHOOL CORNER.
TAKE THEM BY THE HAND."
(A Thought for Sabbath-school Teachers.) These words were uttered, a few weeks ago, by the chairman of one of our social Teachers' Tea-meetings. Sometimes an old idea comes with new force to the mind ; so I felt in this instance, and the words again and again presented themselves to me. They seem to indicate the mode of discipline and instruction to be pursued by the Christian teacher ; they imply authority and yet love; guardianship, yet kindness ; superiority, knowledge, power, and yet humble simplicity.
Do we, as teachers take the children by the hand'? Perhaps we attend the class regularly and punctually; we keep our scholars in moderate order ; we contribute to their improvement in reading, writing, and possibly, to the increase of their knowledge; sometimes we may succeed in inducing them to think seriously; we visit the absentees, &c.—what lack we yet? Ah! children are discerning; they judge our actions; they read our countenances; and there is some influence ;-call it reason, or human sympathy, or what you will ;-there is an inward whisper which tells them when our hearts beat true for their welfare ; and we fear they are too seldom conscious that their teacher is anxiously endeavouring to take them by the hand” and lead them on to knowledge, to wisdom, to happiness, to heaven.