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The workings of the Holy Spirit.
first visited them, and warned them of their danger while impenitent, and in a pointed manner set before them their duty. That first conversation, sir, you are best acquainted with. I know nothing of it except from its results. He became from that time more serious and thoughtful. He began to read his Bible and to pray. Previous to this he had met with a hymn beginning,
• And must this body die ?' which took a hold on his mind, and occasioned him some anxious thoughts. This paved the way for his ready reception of your advice. He seemed to feel that he was laid by from work, and had this time allowed him, that he might have opportunity to seek the salvation of his soul. As soon as he was made sensible of this, he set about the work in good earnest. Aided by the enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit, he soon was made sensible of his lost condition as a sinner. The more he searched the Scriptures to discover the will of God, the more he saw he had broken his law. Thus a deep conviction of guilt fastened upon his mind. He saw himself justly exposed to eternal punishment: and not understanding the glorious plan of salvation through free grace, he almost gave up all hope of heaven. For nine months he remained in this wretched state. Gradually his attention was turned to the sufferings and death of Christ, as an atonement for sin. This Saviour was now the desire of his heart. To him his longing eyes were turned, and he gave himself up to an eager pursuit of him.
“ And, said he, subsequently speaking of the divine dealings with him at this time—“The Lord gave me such a view of the all-sufficiency of his sacrifice, that I thought if I could only have one drop of that precious blood applied to me, it would wash away all my sin, and I should then be happy.'
“ As he continued diligently to read the word of God with earnest prayer for divine illumination and guidance,
his knowledge increased, his faith was strengthened, and a light shone upon the path that led him to the Lamb. The gloom and darkness which had overshadowed him, vanished. Hope sprung up, and he began to lean more and more upon the divine promises, till one day, in reading the tract, “ Do you want a friend ?" he was enabled to embrace the Lord Jesus fully as the friend of his soul, as his advocate with the Father; and venturing upon his faithfulness, confiding in his promises, he cast himself, as one guilty and perishing, at his feet, and was filled with joy and peace in believing.
“Great indeed was the change now wrought. His very countenance indicated the emotions of his soul, for it was peaceful and happy, glowing with gratitude and love, while deep humility marked his whole deportment, and devout thanksgiving dwelt upon his tongue. Praised be the Lord,' said he, for his great goodness. O, I am not worthy of this mercy. But he hath not dealt with me according to my sins. No. He has remembered mercy. Though he was angry with me, his anger is turned away. And through the blessed Saviour I am now enabled to look up to him, as my reconciled Father. O! I will always speak well of his name.'
“Some days after this he remarked, • Now I see how it was--I have been wandering in the paths that lead to eternal death. In the time of my prosperity I forgot the Lord. While I could attend to my business, I gave my whole attention to it. While I could enjoy the world, I endeavoured to satisfy myself with it. And I should have gone on in this course, and perished for ever, heavenly Father in great love sent this heavy affliction. O! I regard this sickness, and the destitution and wretchedness consequent upon it, as the greatest blessings of my life. For they have been the means of bringing me to the knowledge of myself. And, like the prodigal, I have now come back, and instead of seeking the riches of earth, my only aim henceforth shall be to lay up treasure in heaven.'”
had not my
When the Spirit of God has brought a sinner to a knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, that individual cannot be at ease or inactive. He will continually present himself before the divine throne, with the inquiry, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and whatever path of duty is indicated, he will cheerfully enter upon it.
Shortly after this decided change wrought in Mr. Lewson, a tract on the subject of baptism was put into his hands. As he had not received baptism in infancy, this tract suggested matter for serious consideration. He determined to examine the subject by the light of God's word. His earnest desire was to know and follow the will of the Lord in this and every other matter. In communicating his views, after this examination, to a friend one morning, he said, “I have no farther doubts on this point. In the Scriptures of truth, I read, that the Lord Jesus, in sending out the first preachers of the gospel, said, “Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them. When the apostles began to preach, they that heard the word, and believed, were baptized.' And O, how interesting is the eunuch's
baptism by Philip! I see plainly it is my duty to confess Christ in this holy ordinance, and I shall account it a great privilege to be thus admitted into Christ's visible church. And most gladly will I dedicate my children to him in this holy rite."
From the time of his forming this resolution, he applied himself to the work of self-examination. He faithfully searched the ground of his heart, and earnestly prayed that the grace of God might accompany this sacrament : for he wished not only to receive the washing of water, but also “ the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
About this time I again visited him. He appeared like another man, so marked and manifest was the change, in the whole train of his thinking, and the whole style of his conversation.
There was now one striking feature in his character, which I have often observed in cases of genuine conversion. He had become like a little child. His ear was open to instruction, and he was willing to do every thing which God required.
The duty and privilege of baptism having been explained, a day was appointed for the administration of that holy ordinance.
I have witnessed so many such scenes, that when I undertook to recall this, there were no vivid impressions of it upon my mind, save the appearance of the unsteady, shaking frame of the poor paralytic, as he attempted to kneel down to receive the baptismal waters. There was something inexpressibly tender and touching in that appearance. At the time it reminded me of those who had the palsy, that came to the feet of Jesus, and were healed. This quaking, unsteady movement of the kneeling paralytic was all I could remember. I therefore applied to the friend whose pen has already furnished several of the preceding sketches in relation to this family, for her recollections of the scene. And I shall finish this account of the baptism by the insertion of the answer that I received.
Preparations for baptism.
6. DEAR SIR, I will endeavour to comply with your request, in relation to the baptism of Mr. Las to recall, by the mention of a circumstance or two, the scene to your mind.
“ You will recollect that the day appointed for the administration of this ordinance proved to be cloudy and wet, on which account the family, not expecting us, were scattered. Upon our arrival the eldest boy was sent after his little sister. She came home crying from disappointment, that her visit at some neighbouring house should have been so suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted. You called the child to you, and asked her,
“ • Is it not better, my dear, for you to receive a blessing from heaven, and be dedicated to God, who alone can make you truly happy, than to have spent the whole day in play?'
“ This soothed her instantly. You then said,
"• Do you not want to be a good girl, and be made the child of God, and learn to love him ?'
“She softly answered, • Yes, sir,' then quietly took her seat. By this time the babe had been washed and dressed, the water prepared, and Miss H- had arrived.
During these preparations Mr. L sat very silent, apparently engaged in deep inward reflection and prayer. Indeed his whole behaviour throughout was marked with an air of great solemnity, as though he really felt that he was engaged in a transaction with the Most High.
“ All things being arranged, the door was closed, and we waited for the solemn service to begin. Methinks I have it all before me as clearly as then, and my heart even now thrills with emotion, as I view the scene. There, secluded from the world--retired from the busy pursuits of men, the soul was made to come closely in contact with religion, and to feel its solemn reality. While in view of the holy ordinance about to be administered, I could not but adore that matchless wisdom which devised the mighty plan of inan's · recovery; and the exceeding riches of that grace, which had thus provided a way for the return of the wanderer,