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and all my children are dead : and when I told her how it was with me, that I had nothing to live upon but the rent I got for the rooms of my house, and she found out (I did not tell of it) that her husband did not pay the rent any longer, she sold her rings and some of her clothes and brought me the money, poor thing, and told me to take it. I did not know, at first, that she sold her rings and her clothes to get it, and when I asked her how she got it, and she told me, I said to her I would not have it, it would burn my fingers if I took it, and the rust of it would eat my flesh as it were fire, and be a canker in my heart, and be a swift witness against me in the day of the great God, our Saviour. So I gave it back to her, but she would not take it: she
I laid it down there "-(pointing to it with her finger)
on the mantelpiece,—it is five weeks yesterday,—and there it has been ever since. I cannot touch it. I never will touch it, unless I am forced to take it to buy her a coffin.
Christ Jesus would not have taken the price of a lady's rings and clothes in such a case, and it is not for the like of me to do it. Poor thing! she will soon die, and then she will want rings and clothes no longer ! Oh, sir, if I could only think she would wear robes of glory in heaven I would not weep so.
But I am afraid it is all too late for her now! Religion is a hard business for a poor, sick sinner! And her husband would
you, week before last, nor last week. He never went till this morning, when I told him, as I was a living woman, he never should enter the house tonight,—he should sleep in the street, if he did not bring you here before the clock struck twelve. I want you to
There is no telling what God may do. May be he will send suddenly. But I cannot tell her the way. I have tried. I tried hard; but, poor thing, she said she could not understand me. And then I could do nothing but come to my own room and weep for her, and go to prayer, and then weep again. I am glad you have come. And now don't leave her till
you have prayed and got a blessing, --if it is not too late.
pray for her.
I have seldom heard eloquence surpassing that of “the old lady.” Some of her expressions were singular, but they seemed to have in them the majesty and tenderness of both nature and religion.
I borrowed the old lady's ” Bible, and returned to the sick woman's room. Seating myself by the side of her bed, I told her I did not wish her to talk, for it wearied her. But I wanted she should listen to me without saying a word, only if she did not understand me she might say so, and I would explain myself.
“ Can I understand ?" said she (with a look of mingled earnestness and despair).
“ Certainly you can. Religion is all simple and easy if one desires to know it; and if you do not understand me, it is my fault, not yours.
“And now, my dear child, listen to me a little while. I will not be long. But first allow me to pray with you for a single minute.” After
prayer I took the Bible, and told her it was God's word, given to us to teach us the way to eternal life and happiness beyond the grave—that it taught all I knew, or needed to know about salvation—that though it was a large book and contained many things which might be profitable to her under other circumstances, yet all that she needed to think of just now was embraced in a few ideas, which were easy to be understood,—and I wanted her to listen to them and try to understand them. “I will-sir,” said she," as well as I can.”
Hear what God says then,” said I. “ The first thing is—that we are sinners.” I explained sin. I explained the law which it transgressed, how it is holy, just, and good; and we have broken it because we have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves.
“No, I have never loved-him," said she.
I dwelt upon our sin as guilt and alienation from God; explained how sinners are worldly, proud, selfish, and read the texts as proofs and explanations--" by the
deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified—the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God.” In short, that man is, in himself, a lost sinner; God is angry with him, and he has a wicked heart.
Said she, “That seems-strange-to me; I wish–I had known it before.”
“ The second thing is—that just such sinners may be saved, because Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost. I read from the Bible, 'God so loved the world that he
gave his own Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement of our peace was
The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.' You see, therefore, that sinners can be saved. Christ died for them.” 6 Will he-save me ?” said she.
I hope he will—but listen to me. The third thing is, that lost sinners will be saved by Christ, if they repent of sin and believe in him.” I continued to select texts and read them to her. “God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. As many as received him, to them gave he
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
As I read such passages, turning over the leaves of the book as I stood by her bed-side, her eyes
followed the turning leaves and she gazed upon the book in astonishment. At times, when repeating a peculiar text, my eyes rested on her face instead of the book, and then she would ask, “Is that in God's word ?" I found it best, therefore, just to look on the book and read slowly and deliberately,
“The fourth thing is, that we need the aid of the Call ye upon
Holy Spirit to renew our hearts, and bring us to faith and repentance. 'Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. No man can come unto me, except the
Father which sent me draw hin. In me is thy help. Let him take hold on my strength, that he may
with me, and he shall make peace with me.' Man is helpless without the Holy Spirit.
“The last thing is, that all this salvation is freely offered to us, now, to-day, and it is our duty and interest to accept it on the spot, and just as we are, undone sinners. 'Hear and your soul shall live. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.
him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The Spirit and the bride say, come; and let him that is athirst come; and let him that heareth
say, come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.'
“Now, my dear child, this is all : only these five things. I will now leave you for an hour to rest, and then I will be back to see you."
In an hour I returned, determined to go over the same things, and explain them, if needful, more fully. As I entered the room she looked at me with a gladsome smile, and yet with an intense earnestness, which for an instant I feared was insanity. Said she, “ I am so glad you
have come;—I have been—thinking—of what you read-to me. These things—must be true ; but—I don't know-as I should-believe them if they were not-in the word-of God. I understand some of them I know I am-a sinner-I feel it. I never knew it-so before. I have not-loved God. I have been-wicked and foolish. I am—undone. And now —when I know it, my heart—is so bad, that instead of -loving God-it shrinks from-him, and I am afraid -it is too-late-for me !" “Yes," said I, “ your heart is worse than you
think. You can make it no better. Give it to God. Trust Christ to pardon all. He died for just such lost sinners."
“ Yes, sir,—I remember—that; but—what is it—to believe? I do not-understand that—thing.—You said I must repent of sin, and must believe-in Jesus Christ. -I think that I understand one-of these things. To repent is to be sorry for my sin,—and to leave it. Butwhat is it to believe ?-I cannot understand that. What is believing-in Jesus Christ ?"
“It is trusting him to save you. It is receiving him as your own offered Saviour, and giving yourself to him as a helpless sinner to be saved by his mercy. He died to atone for sinners."
“I believe that,-for God's word-says so. Is this -all the faith-that I must have ?"
“No, not at all. You must have more. You must trust him. You must receive him as your own Saviour and give yourself to him. You may remember the passage I read to you. Here it is in God's word: 'As many as received him, to them
to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' You see that here, 'believing' and 'receiving'express the same thing. You are to take Christ as God offers him to you, and you are to rely on him to save you. That is faith.”
“Sir,—I am afraid—I can never—understand it," said she, the tears coursing over her pale cheek.
“Yes, you can ; it is very simple. There are only two things about it. Take Christ for your own, and give yourself to him to be his. Sometimes these two things are put together in the Bible, as when a happy believer