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“ In His blest life
May the Holy Spirit breathe this knowledge on every unbelieving soul!
The argument in proof of Christianity derived from the Jews, is, if properly studied, capable of silencing where other arguments fail.
I had on one occasion been arguing with an Atheist, a Socialist Lecturer, who has since, I am informed, become a Mormon elder-and I well recollect the effect produced upon him by a detail of the Jewish argument, as I have noticed in very many cases. His reply was perfectly absurd, and I think he felt it to be so. “I can recognise,” said he, “in the preservation of the Jews as a distinct people, no greater marvel than the preservation of the Egyptians; therefore, I cannot accept that preservation as a proof of what you are pleased to term the truth of prophecy.” On the whole case, however, being brought forward, he was compelled to admit that the case of the Jews was dissimilar to any known case of national preservation. On being pressed with the consequences of this admission, he evaded them by shirking the question, and turning to some presumed objections to avoid the subject. The argument in favour of the Divine records, to be deduced from the prophecies respecting the Jews, from the Pentateuch to the Gospels, and the fulfilment of those prophecies as matter of history, is, if properly studied, one of
which the infidel especially dislikes the introduction.*
The present chapter will now conclude with some details of a very interesting case of the hopeful conversion of another infidel upon my district.
was, when first I visited him, a very strong professor of infidelity, and his wife also. They were formerly attendants at the Rotunda, in the Blackfriars Road, where an infidel lecturer, the Rev. Robert Taylor, formerly a clergyman of the Church of England, made himself ridiculous in attempting to ridicule the Christian religion, styling himself the devil's chaplain, and enacting 'blasphemies to which it does not seem necessary further to allude in this place. My instructions to these people did not appear to be productive of any immediate effect, and I have repeatedly been much discouraged respecting them ; but as afterwards transpired, my endeavours to enlighten their minds were producing a much more pleasing effect than appeared upon the surface. Whilst he was at his work, and Mrs. also, (they were skin dressers,) I would take up some line of Scriptural evidence, prophecy, internal evidence, etc., and lecture perhaps for an hour, meeting any objections brought forward. After the lapse of some considerable
* I do not remember to have seen this argument more lucidly presented anywhere than in Dr. Keith’s “Evidence of Prophecy.” The shilling abridgment of the larger work, by the Religious Tract Society, is a very admirable condensation.
period of time, the family removed away from my district, and I lost sight of them for several years. They then returned again to the neighbourhood, and I recommenced visiting them. Mr. Bbecame seriously ill, the effect it is believed of his unhealthy occupation, so much dust, and dirt, and hair find their way down the throat. His lungs became affected. He suffered exceedingly mentally, and did not find infidelity capable of supporting his mind in affliction--this he owned.
“ The men of Grace have found,
Glory begun below;
But it is not so with the infidel. Affliction with him has no rainbow painted on the cloud ; it is, indeed, " a day of darkness and of gloominess.”
His sentiments underwent a great change, and whilst I was praying for him, he would frequently be affected even to tears, pressing my hand earnestly, and thanking me. He found a consolation in prayer that he never found in infidelity, and became
anxious to be visited frequently, sending for me if I was absent longer than usual. When in health, he would not even permit his children to attend a school where Scriptural instruction was imparted—now they were regularly sent. Mr. B. died in a very hopeful condition of mind. There is reason to believe a deep work was wrought in his soul-a work of dependence on Christ. Previous to his death, he exhorted his wife very solemnly to renounce infidelity, to attend Divine worship, and take care his children were instructed in the principles of the Christian religion, exacting from her a promise she would do so, which promise she bas faithfully kept.
It is well for the Christian instructor to be long-suffering and patient. There is a promise-“My speech shall distil as the dew.” We must await the process, and await in faith, believing that “God is able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
Reverting to another subject, in the early portion of this chapter, painful reference has been made to the infidelizing effects produced upon working people by godlessness on the part of employers.
I might readily multiply such painful details. Was the vast influence possessed by employers to further the Gospel properly exerted, most blessed results would follow.
Happily, we are not without proofs of this, in the Metropolis and in the world. Honourable instances of solicitude for the spiritual welfare of those employed are to be found. It would be pleasing to allude further to such cases, and to show what has been effected ; and
it is more than humiliating that such instances should constitute honourable exceptions to the rule, instead of being the rule itself, which is,the fact cannot be concealed, - anything but attention on the part of employers to the spiritual condition of those whose sinews and energies minister to their wealth.
In blessing Abraham, the Almighty said, in commendation, “All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him; for I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him," Gen. xviii. 18, 19.
Happy nation, then, whose employers are imitators of faithful Abraham !--happy labourers who are in such a case !
“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay."