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Thus my encouragements to visit the sick multiply, and bid me "always abound in this work of the Lord.”
CONVERSION OF A MEMBER OF "THE HELL-FIRE CLUB."
Called to preached in LH's chapel,-at the opening-a tradesman heard and lived.
Six years afterwards, he came into the vestry at Bristol Tabernacle, after partaking of the Lord's Supper with five hundred souls, and related the following facts. He began :"Dear Sir, you do not know me, but I know you. Six years since I belonged to the "Hell-fire Club," at Reading, in Berkshire. We always endeavoured to coin a new oath for the evening, and the chairman decided who had the pre-eminence. As I was walking from home, in my way to the club, I was asking myself what sin I had not committed, and I would commit it before I went to bed-what new oath I should swear? Passing on, I saw a light, and heard your voice from the pulpit, in the street. I paused-went on, saying, I would return after the club-meeting. Second thought prevailed, and I went into the chapel, fearing on my return the service might be over, and I should have no sport. I entered; you repeated your text: "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; and whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him but whoso blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor that which is to come." You described the nature of the sin-the reason of its being unpardonable. Secondly, shewed who had not committed it, and proved their sin all pardonable.
Instead of going to the club, Lwent home-entered my bed-room-locked myself in--fell upon my knees-thanked God I was out of hell, and it was possible I might escape it for ever. All my sins were pardonable. This was good news indeed, after a full persuasion that Hell would be my portion, and a frequent wish to die, that I might know the worst. I read, prayed, heard the gospel, looked by faith to Christ, and soon enjoyed pardon, peace and liberty of access to God.
"I now enjoy communion with God and his church-and in me
"Jehovah here resolved to shew
What his Almighty Great can do."-Hallelujah!
It was remarkable, that Mr. who heard me, and afterwards left Reading, and joined our church at Maidenhead, told me, that he felt a prejudice against me, for my vanity in taking such a text; but God convinced him as I proceeded, that " my work was before me, and my reward with me." He was one of the most judicious private Christians I ever knew. God justified his remark: the sermon proved
"the power of God to salvation."
A SUICIDE RESCUED FROM TEMPTATION.
Coming out from a sale this afternoon, a genteel man walked with me in a field, and related the following
"Four years since I heard you preach at the Tabernacle from these words-" They were tempted:" I was deeply impressed with the discourse. Three years after, I was under a temptation to suicide; and suffering from it for months. It was at length suggested, that it was lawful and manly. I had never spoken to you, but recollecting the discourse, I thought, "you knew what sore temptation meant, and must have felt the same."
"I resolved to write to you, and request by return of post your answer, which I solemnly resolved and declared to you should decide my fate. I concealed my name, although in a respectable business in the Strand. You wrote me a very long, sympathizing, and suitable letter. "The snare was
broken and I was delivered."
Thus did divine Providence connect the present hearing a sermon with a future trial and deliverance-dispose the tempted soul to ask, and me to give advice, which proved such a word in season," as to overcome the wicked one.' On reviewing the awful dispensation, the good man was astonished how far the enemy of souls had led him astray, and at the fatal resolution he had formed.
Perhaps the trial was a stripe for some sin; certainly it displayed the malice and power of fallen angels, and the compassion, wisdom, faithfulness and power of God in a
Mediator, who "knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and make a way for his escape." May I learn gratitude for the mercy which preserves my body, my reason, my faith, from the power of Satan!" O, the kindness of that covenant which places believers in the hands of a Mediator, who is "able to succour them that are tempted;" and will not "break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax; but bring forth judgment (that is, his judicial proceedings) to victory!"
AGAINST THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION REMOVED.
Mrs. S., a very intelligent, pious woman, sister to an eminent clergyman of London, heard me yesterday, and was strongly prejudiced against me, because I preached the doctrine of election. I told her I had no choice: the doctrine was not mine; nor did the evidence rest on the word elect, or election. I advised her to read the fifth and sixth chapters. of John, in which the word election did not occur; but which were full of the doctrine itself. Mrs. — followed my advice, and in a few days was confirmed in the belief of this truth. I then advised her to read the 17th chapter of John; and she said it was full of the same truth. I asked her to what conclusion her experience led on the subject? Whether she had chosen Christ as the Saviour of her soul? "Yes!" she exclaimed. "And do you think he has chosen you?" "Yes! I do;" said she. I rejoined, "If you chose him first, you made yourself to differ, and salvation is of works. If divine choice was first, your choice of Christ was the effect of it; and salvation is of grace."
"This," added Mrs. —" is the fact." "Then," I concluded, "fact, matter of fact, establishes the doctrine of election."
She never more cavilled at the election of grace; but read the Scriptures, and prayed for divine teaching, and with a blessing "made her calling and election sure," that is, evident to her own soul, as it was certain in itself. Drawn to Christ, by divine teaching, she learned of the Father, that he had given her to Christ," to redeem and save her. Her" peace now flowed like a river," bearing all objections before it; and her "blessedness was as the waves of the sea;" and "all
thy children shall be TAUGHT of the Lord; and great shall be the PEACE of thy children." Let me still learn to read and hear the Word with simplicity, and implore "the spirit of truth," until I can "set my seal to it."
OF A PROFLIGATE YOUNG MAN.
W-S-in his youth, had regularly attended my ministry; but left his parents, and enlisted for a soldier.
He returned home burdened with a mortal disease, and accumulated guilt. He sent for me; but my visits were apparently lost on him. At length he told me, that not any thing that I had said to him in conversation, nor my prayers to God for him, made the least impression on his mind. He had sinned with a high hand against convictions and advantages, and sunk into gloomy despair. Never did I feel the importance of prayer for others more deeply. This poor distressed creature said his heart was as hard and as cold as a stone;-not with regard to his disease, his death, and future misery-but he could not feel his sin,-nor any disposition to look to Christ for salvation-not the least inclination to pray for mercy. It was too late, he had sinned away his day of grace, he was left to reflect, that "he had destroyed himself." I pleaded the promise of God-" I will take away the heart of stone, and give a heart of flesh; but for this I will be INQUIRED of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." I perceived it was the prerogative of God to work this change; and that prayer was the ordained means of obtaining it. He could not pray for himself; but "the house of Israel," the church of God could pray for it. "Send for the elders of the church; and they shall pray for him." I prayed in faith in the power and mercy of God,-and as an act of obedience to his command. It was "the obedience of faith." I requested the church to pray for him, believing that "the inward fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
One morning he sent for me, and informed me that he had no sleep the preceding night. "God held his eyes waking;" and "POURED upon him the spirit of grace and supplication." His heart was melted into godly sorrow for sin,-he
"confessed his transgressions to the Lord,"-cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner." He trusted in, and pleaded the sufferings and death of the Redeemer. God heard his prayer, gave him power to believe in Christ for pardon, holiness, strength, and comfort; and to his dying hour, this was his language:-" O Lord, I will praise thee: for though thou was angry with me; thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold! God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid, for the Lord is my strength and my song; and is become my salvation."
"What shall I say to these things?"-I will take fresh courage in prayer,-I will never despair of the salvation of any sinner, on this side of hell-I will use means and trust in the promises of God,-I will adore the grace, that honours such an unworthy instrument. I will preach "the unsearchable riches of Christ," and the sovereignty, freeness, fullness, extent, and efficacy of that grace which brings salvation. I will go to "the house of mourning;" and mourn over, and pray for poor suffering sinners, dead in sin,-hoping, that "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God," by my feeble voice; and live!"
"A brand plucked out of the fire!" once more, Hallelujah!
WITH A YOUNG LADY IN AFFLICTION.
Miss W. never evinced any signs of religion, under every advantage of a religious education, and the ministry of the Word; but in her affliction, her mind was awakened, taught of God, and established in the truth. On my reading to her a few verses of the 119th Psalm, when I had finished" the law, or word of thy mouth is dearer to me than thousands of gold and silver." She requested me to stop, and then addressed me as follows:
"Gold and silver are dearer to most persons; and thousands of gold and silver especially. To obtain it, they spare no labour nor suffering. But if I now possessed them, what could they do for me? They could not cure my disease,nor relieve me from guilt,-nor give my conscience peace,nor render me patient and resigned,-nor conquer my fears of