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but you did not today." "No, my dear," said the parent, "I did not.” “But, Pa, you ought; Why did you not?" In short, the father had not a word to reply, and the child's rebuke was as appropriate and effectual, as if it had been administered by the most able minister in the land; and, it may be added, had as permanent an influence.
A PLEASING DREAM. On a summer's evening, as Corylus was looking on the descending sun, he was led to reflect on the termination of his own life; “O! That I could sink into my grave with the same com posure as the light of the world has left my country!” He sat down, and reclined his head on his hands; fatigued by the labors of the day, he fell asleep, and dreamed that he met with his deceased brother in his father's house, who announced to him his speedy departure from time to eternity. "I have obtained,” said he, "per. mission from God to make your bed in your sickness; to assuage the anguish of death; to lead you through the dark valley, and introduce you into the presence of God; for I have often heard you say, there is no one returned to tell the sad tale, what dying is.” Corylus then asked his brother what dying was. "I am not authorized to say,” he replied, what it is; but I am commissioned to be your guide and comfort in your affliction. Remember that I am your brother; you never doubted ту
affection towards you; I remain the same; have full power from God to minister to you every possible comfort that wisdom can dictate or kindness perform; I have suffered, and can, therefore, sympathize; I have died, and know what dying means,"
Corylus was comforted; he waited for the sum
mons; but, looking round on his family, his affections were wounded, and the tumult of his heart awoke him from his slumbers; he arose, and wished his dream realized; when, putting his hand into his pocket, and taking out his Bible, he read, “For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.'” Yes, he said, my brother has died in. deed, and is alive again. I have trust in the merits of his cross; I have hoped in the prevalence of his intercession; and I will rely on the veracity of his promises, and the per. petuiiy of his affection. Who can separate me from the love of Christ? Not even death. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” &c.
THE EFFICACY OF GRACE DISPLAYED IN EXTRAOR
Some general remarks having been made in a former essay, on the efficacy of grace, it is the design of this paper to investigate that important subject, as it is illustrated in extraordinary conversions. Conversion is a figurative term; and in its generally acknowledged acceptation, supposes an essential change in the state and character of its subjects; it is, therefore, adopted, on the present occasion, as synonymous with believing, regeneration, and effectual calling. Conversion is the work of God; of God alone; and this work he often accomplishes in extraordinary ways. It is accomplished under such circumstances as are pre. eminently calculated to excite attention, admiration, sur.
prise, and astonishment. As in the government of the world he is sometimes pleased to dispense with the established laws of nature, so in the dispensations of grace, he displays the sovereignty of his good pleasure, by sometimes departing from the usual course of his procedure in the salvation of souls.
To confirm the truth of this remark, let us in the first place, attend to local circumstances. Let us go, in the spirit of meditation, to the dark places of the earth, where vice and violence long defied and baffled every attempt to introduce the means of salvation; and which seemed as if wholly abandoned of God to perish by the tyranny of the destroyer. In such places we have seen the prey taken from the mighty; we have beheld the glorious triumphs of God our Redeemer, in the deliverance of captive sinners from their galling yoke, and in bringing them to enjoy the transcendent blessedness of spiritual liberty. By some great and unexpected event, or by some peculiar conjunc. tion of circumstances, a wide and effectual door has been opened for the preaching of the truth; and, by that truth, the strongest holds of sin have surrendered to his victorious arm, who was manifested to destroy the works of darkness. The earlier days of the gospel dispensation, and every subsequent period of it, afford some illustrative evidence of the omnipotence of Jesus over all that is hostile to his me. diatorial government; and the innumerable trophies al. ready erected by his omnipotent hand, will be contem. plated, with joyful anticipation of his universal reign, by all who are devoted to the promulgation of his gospel.
When the gospel thus makes its way to those parts of a country where the God of this world has maintained an undisturbed authority, we are generally presented with some singular instances of the power of grace in the conversion of notorious sinners. Then does it please God to reveal his Son in those who have taken the lead in rebellion against his tbrone; and often to make them preachers of the faith they once destroyed. Men enslaved by the most diabolical errors, abandoned to the most hateful vices, and who were as obdurate as they were wicked; men, whose lives were the grief and disgrace of their families, the plague of their neighborhoods, and a curse in civil society; men studied in the arts of sensual gratification, inventive in profanity, daring in blasphemy, and seemingly ripe for destruction; in a word, men who were literally the chief, the most des. perate of sioners, have been brought into the kingdom of God by discriminating grace, while the self righteous, trusting in their morality and good works, have perished in their guilt.
Glory to God in the highest! We have seen all this mercy exemplified in our churches! The mighty power of Jesus, displayed in his own ministry, and in the first preaching of the gospel by his apostles; that mighty power still triumphs in the word of truth. There are many who now have an honorable name, and who now occupy sta. tions of usefulness in our Zion, who once ranked with the most degraded and injurious of fallen meo. Yes, we have many with us, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in their right mind,” who are suspected, and feared, and des. pised, on account of their former eminence in the paths of guilt. Like the elder brother in the parable of the prodi. gal, inflated with the pride of his comparative goodness and worthiness, some will be angry, and refuse to partake of the feast prepared to celebrate the wandering singer's
return to God. But, whatever be the thoughts of the vain and presumptuous pharisee, this sball still be the confi. dence and joy of the believing penitent, that there is no character, no condition, no crime, to which the salvation of Jesus does not apply, and that there are none now pros. trate at his feet, though before the most infamous of wretches, who shall not finally realize all the free blessings of that salvation before his throne.
The extraordinary efficacy of grace appears in the conversion of sinners, when, independent of all the peculiar aggravations of their guilt, their exterior circumstances are such as tend to fill the minds of surrounding observers with desponding thoughts of so desirable an event. The circumstances of one of the malefactors, who was crucified with the Son of Man, were of this description. They were such as tended to discourage the hope of his salvation. Not that we consider the case of any sinner on this side eternity as hopeless; or that we believe there was any thing so extraordinary in the condition of the dying thief, as to preclude the expectation of the same mercy under similar circumstances of ignominy and approaching disso. lution; and we rejoice in the persuasion, that our Lord intended this event, as a pledge to every future age, of his ability to save the greatest criminals in their utmost extremity.
The maladies of the soul gather strength with time. Every day they become more obstinate and malignant. But the remedy, the precious blood of Christ, is infallible; and, in various instances, we have seen the efficacy of that remedy glorified on the very verge of eternity. There is no case beyond its reach; it is adequate to the salvation of man in the most desperate of all possible conditions. The