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How God works in the economy of grace.
sinner before God." He lay all that night in agony. For days he went bowed down with distress, seeking rest and finding none. At length a ray of comfort dawned upon his darkened soul. He became a converted man, and took the same stand that Mr. J. J. had done, in testifying his allegiance to Christ.
Here we see that the silent witnessing of a work of grace accomplished what the most powerful preaching could not. And this is not all. Mr. A- having been brought to feel the power of inward religion, and to know in some degree the preciousness of Christ, felt deeply anxious to extend the blessing to others. Among the efforts that he put forth to accomplish this object, was the instruction of a class of coloured adults. The Lord blessed his labours. One of the class became decidedly changed. She resided in a very gay and thoughtless family. Her altered conduct and consistent Christian deportment arrested the attention of a young lady, an inmate of the family, who before this had been one of the most thoughtless among the pleasure-taking tribe. But now her gayety was all gone. 'Daily did she bow before the mercy-seat, pleading for the transforming power of divine grace. Her prayer was heard. She became a devoted Christian. She said nothing to the family in which she resided, but her silent example pleaded most eloquently. The heads of that family became impressed. They resolved to seek the Lord —they were soon able to bear testimony, that he had not said, “ Seek ye my face in vain." That family became enrolled with “ the sacramental host of God's elect," and were among the most active and zealous to promote the glory of God and the salvation of sinners.
Now let us look back, and see how God works. The truth which awakened Mr. J. J. was heard by all these individuals, but it did not move one of their hearts, except his. And yet when it came to be known that he was a trophy of God's converting power, when he stood before the world to confess Christ, the fact planted an arrow of
The Holy Spirit the agent in man's conversion.
conviction in the flinty bosom of Mr. A- This resulted in his conversion. In carrying out the principles of the gospel into action, Mr. A- became the instrument of bringing salvation to an African woman. The change wrought in her arrested one of the daughters of gayety in her career of folly, and led her to consecrate herself to Christ. And this happy change spoke forth such a volume of argument, in the midst of a gay family, that all that family were brought under the abiding power of godliness. This was not the result of accident. It furnishes a specimen of the mode in which the great purposes of grace are carried on. It is in this way that God makes every thing he does in the kingdom of grace, tributary to the accomplishment of other and future achievements
Hence we see the striking analogy there exists between the economy of nature and of grace, especially in this great principle of gathering up the fragments, that nothing be lost. While it is a well attested fact, that “ The Dairyman's Daughter," " The Young Cottager," and works of this stamp, have been instrumental in bringing more souls to Christ, than the most elaborate treatises and powerful argumentation on the truth and doctrines of Christianity ; it is also true that those narratives do not derive their principal moral power from any enchantment thrown around them by the hand of Legh Richmond, but from the simple fact, that they unfold in a plain and perspicuous manner the workings of divine grace upon the soul.
It will not be inferred from the preceding train of remarks, that the idea is cherished, that a single instance of conversion ever occurred without the direct agency of the Holy Spirit. Neither must the inference be deduced, that we suppose that any soul was ever brought from darkness to light,” independently of the instrumentality of truth. We believe that the Spirit operates in all cases, in quickening the dead soul into life, by means of the truth. The character of God, the obligations of his law, and the means of rescue, must be before the mind. But the truth
The young convert that was not ashamed of Christ.
may be before the mind without being efficacious, and the very means which the Holy Spirit will employ to give it efficacy, may be the witnessing or the contemplation of " what God hath wrought.”
An intelligent, but reckless young man, in the circle of my acquaintance, some few years since, became a decided Christian. A short time after this change oecu
curred, one of his former gay companions, with whom he had spent many a night of dissipation, met him, and jocosely remarked, Well, Mat D
they tell me you have turned Christian-how is it?"
M— replied, with undisturbed tranquillity and solemn emphasis, “I hope that through the mercy of God I have been brought to a knowledge of the truth.”
“ Tell me,” responded his friend, in rather a sneering tone, " what this means. Why have you been acting so ridiculously ?"
“ Come to my house to-morrow at such an hour," he replied, " and I will tell you.”
This was agreed upon, and at the appointed hour the young man called. M— received him with his usual affectionate manner, but the moment they were by themselves, fixing his eyes upon him, with bursting emotion, he said,
• My dear sir, I believe all the change that is wrought in me has been effected by the power of God. Now, before I attempt to tell you what he has done for me, I wish you to allow me to kneel down, and pray that he may change your heart." This proposition was so unexpected, that had a thunderbolt fallen at that young man's feet at that moment he could not have been more astonished. He started back as though amazed, and made no reply.
M- however showed him that he was acting upon solemn convictions of duty, for he immediately fell upon his knees, and poured out such a fervent strain of supplication, that when he rose, this young scoffer's eyes were filled with tears. From that moment he became thoughtful, and in a few months he stood enrolled with the pro
Hopes cherished in relation to this volume.
fessed people of God. He has ever since maintained a consistent character for piety. In adverting to his first serious impressions, he has often mentioned the above incident, accompanying it with the remark,
" When I heard Mat D- pray, I felt that there was a divine reality in religion."
Now the Holy Spirit was the grand agent in this work —the truth, which had long been before that impenitent mind, was the instrument that brought conviction to the soul, but the proximate cause which the Spirit employed, to give divine efficacy to the truth, was, the manifestation of God's transforming grace in the case of M
The hope is cherished, that the pieces which compose this volume, founded, as they are, upon incidents gathered from real life, will not be without some use.
So far as they are illustrative of the great principles of the gospel-of the power of transforming grace-of the influence of godliness in sustaining the believer under trials and conflicts—of the joys that are experienced by the renewed soul—and of the sweet aspirations of faith and hope, under the bright beamings of God's glorious and reconciled countenance, the tendency of these pieces, it is believed, will be to commend the gospel, to endear to the reader the cross of Christ, and constrain him to feel, with increasing conviction, the importance of practical and heartfelt religion. If the exhibitions of truth contained in this volume shall either remotely or directly contribute to the rescue of one undying spirit from the iron fetters of sin, and the pangs of the second death, there will be a witness at the right hand of God to attest through all eternity, that the leisure moments were not spent in vain, that were devoted to this volume of GATHERED FRAGMENTS. Reader, if thy name is not in the book of life--if thou hast not yet submitted thy heart to God, may these pages prevail upon thee to be that witness, and to take thy stand among the blood-washed throng that surround the throne of God and the Lamb.
THE PIOUS MOTHER.
“These I distinctly hold in memory still.
Nor strange, that recollection there should dwell,
THERE are some passages written down upon the page of memory that we love to read again and again. It is not impossible that even in heaven we may retain this feeling; and that our devotions even there may be enlivened by the reminiscences of earth. It is quite within the range of possibility, that even in the eternal world, and amid the bright fields of celestial glory, the recollections of time will wake the harps of the redeemed to louder notes of praise. In reference to one event, we know it will be so. That event constitutes the burden of the new song, which will be for ever sung, and for ever new.. - Thou art worthy to take the book, and open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests." Certainly, during our earthly pilgrimage, it is profitable to recall and meditate upon some scenes and events that are past-scenes and events which are calculated to lift up the soul in loftier adoration to God—to render more pre