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The impressions of Robert M‘Ellen.

upon my heart. But I knew that I wanted comfort; and as I had seen my mother derive a peace of mind from the devotions of the Prayer Book, I betook myself to the use and examination of it in secret. In the use of all its prayers, I found that I had address myself to God in the acknowledged character of a sinner. I began to feel the truth of this designation. I began to discover that the mysterious burden under which I was labouring was the burden of unforgiven sin. As soon as I had made this discovery, I anxiously looked around to find some way by which I could remove this burden. Here again I had recourse to my Prayer Book. It told me I never could remove that burden, but Jesus Christ must take it off. I went to the Bible, and that told me the same thing.

• My mind during the two following weeks underwent various exercises. I had revealed my feelings to no one. My mother continued to read the service on Sunday, and to assemble us for family prayer every night and morning. It was during morning prayer on the third Sunday after my father's death, when in the Litany, my mother uttered this invocation, 0 Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,' that in repeating the response Grant us thy peace, I first felt the meaning of this petition ; and as I uttered it, I felt a peace, more than earthly, gently stealing over my soul. And when the same maternal voice repeated the invocation, “0 Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,' my heart was filled with gratitude, and my eyes with tears, as I joined the response,

· Have

mercy upon us.' “ I continued to conceal my feelings. Still I was conscious that I was changed. My heart was filled with divine love. As I walked into the field I could see the goodness of God inscribed upon every plant and flower. These were discoveries that never before arrested my attention. My Bible began to appear more and more precious to me, and I was constantly longing for the return of the hallowed day of rest.


Religious exercises disclosed.

“One evening as I sat reading to my mother, all the family at this time being out of the room, when I came to this

passage, • Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature,' I stopped, and asked her how she understood this passage ? My parents had often explained to me the meaning of various parts of Scripture, but I had never before presumed to solicit an exposition, and upon a moment's reflection I felt almost astonished at myself for having done so at this time. Nothing, however, could have more delighted my mother. She immediately gave me a clear and succinct account of the fall and depravity of our race, the atonement of Christ, the agency of the Spirit, and the new création effected by that agency. She then described the views, feelings, and affections of a man while in a state of nature, and compared them with the views, feelings, and affections of that same man after having been renewed by divine grace.

“My attention was riveted, and my heart filled with trepidation. She had described my case exactly. I had disclosed my feelings tó no one, yet she had delineated them with the utmost precision. She concluded her remarks by saying, “No one, unless he is in Christ, and therefore a new creature, can expect to be saved. It was

his, the hope gathered from the blood of sprinkling, that sustained and comforted your father in his last agony.'

My mother,' said I, • I believe I am in Christ Jesus, for I am conscious that I am a new creature.' I then related to her the history of my exercises, and told her how the prayers of the service, and her reading of them, had by the blessing of God been made the instrument both of my conviction and of my conversion.

“ Never shall I forget the delight of this moment. My mother threw her arms around me, and exclaimed, “Robert, when I first pressed thy infant form, my first-born child, to my heart, my bosom thrilled with ecstasy ; but the delight I then felt was nothing compared with that I feel in hold

Reluctance in speaking to friends on personal religion.

ing thee in my embrace, now that thou art indeed a child of God."

“Having revealed my feelings to one human being, I no longer felt that it would be sacrilege to disclose them to others. I began to think it was my duty to speak to my younger -brother about the momentous concerns of eternity.

“For several days I made frequent resolutions to do it, but as often as an opportunity presented, my heart failed me, and I could not bring myself up to the effort.

"I know not how it is, but I have often observed, that we feel much more reluctance in speaking to our family friends on the subject of religion, than we do in speaking to others.

“Several days had elapsed since I had communicated my feelings to my mother. My brother and myself were working together in the same field. In my morning devotions I had fervently implored divine direction in relation to the communication I had determined to make that day to him. A short suspension of our labours brought the desired opportunity. I will not attempt to describe my feelings, nor his agitation. I soon found that his feelings and views had undergone the same change that mine had, and that he ascribed his first serious impressions to the religious exercises of the interesting Sabbath that followed my

father's death. This intelligence in relation to my brother was of course delightful tidings to my mother. She saw new evidence that God does all things well, and that he can make the most afflictive dispensations immediately subservient to his

purposes “She proposed that I should now act as the chaplain to the family. I accordingly acceded to her request, and performed divine service regularly on Sundays from that time to the organization of an Episcopal church in this community, a period of almost twenty years. As the land around us began to be taken up, and settlers came in, seve

of mercy.

Results of a regular performance of the liturgy.

ral of our neighbours repaired to our house regularly on Sundays. They at first came out of curiosity, but in time they became attached to the liturgy, and substantially pious. And several of these individuals ascribed their first religious impressions to the solemn and sublime devotions of the Prayer Book. Thus a regular performance of the liturgy in a private family was the means not only of laying the foundation of a church, but of awakening numbers to seriousness."

Continued affliction.



« Sweet awful hour !-the only sound,

One gentle footstep gliding round,
Offering by turns, on Jesus' part,
The cross to every hand and heart."


I was anxious that the reader should have presented to him the scene which was acted in Joseph M.Ellen's house, the Sunday after his death, in the language of one that was present, and upon whom that solemn scene made a deep and lasting impression; and I accordingly gave the statements in Robert M‘Ellen's own words, from a manuscript sketch which I obtained from him. The history of the M.Ellen family will be continued through the present chapter by copying from the same manuscript. Robert M•Ellen remarks,

“Divine Providence continued to send afflictions along with our comforts. In about six weeks after my father's death, three of the youngest members of our family, a brother and two sisters, were, within a few days of each other, called from time to eternity. My mother had scarcely recovered from the fatigue occasioned by attendance upon my father during his last illness, when she was again called to spend wakeful nights by the bedside of her sick and dying children. The fatigue she had to endure, was increased by the circumstances of our situation. The country was then so new, and thinly inhabited, that we could scarcely be said to have neighbours. Around us, on all sides, spread the dense and lengthening forest. When

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