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brief history of Alcimus affords an affecting confirmation of this truth. He was well known in the place were he resided; but was known only as an object of pity and detest. ation. He had now passed the bounds of threescore years and ten, and was rapidly descending to the grave, an infi. del of the highest order; an infidel struggling for the mis. erable consolations of atheism. Although become utterly incapable of enjoying the world, and just going to leave it for ever, he clave to it with undiminished solicitude, and, with an exultation too evidently feigned to deceive, declared his disbelief of future retribution. The blasphemous epi. thets he applied to the character and work of the Savior, and the unbounded contempt in which he held his disci. ples, most strikingly exemplified the wretchedness of a man grown grey under the hardening influences of sin,
In all his conversations he betrayed the most complete subjection to the basest passions of our fallen nature; and affected to laugh away the feeble remains of life,till forced to think he was actually dying. In that critical and awful moment, a religious neighbor, who knew his character, obtained permission to see him; when, taking the old dying infidel by the hand, he abruptly proposed the following questions to him; “Are you still sure there is no God? Are you now as fully satisfied, as you have often professed to be, that there is indeed no hell? That there is no heav. en? Will you now tell me that there is no such thing as sin in the world? And that the blood of Christ is of no more account than the blood of any common animal?" Here a long and solemn pause ensued, which Alcimus himself at last interrupted by exclaiming, “Oh! What folly! What madness!”
The visitor was at a loss to know whether these terms were intended to characterize the Christian or the deist; till one of the ignorant attendants whisperingly said, “Poor man, his mind has been wandering in this way most of the night; and but a little while before you came in, talking to himself, and saying, 'All is wrong! I see it will not do! Almost eighty years gone, and not to be recalled! Millions to come, not to be endured!' and many oth. er such things, just as foolish.” Upon this the good ınan resumed, and said, “Bit yet there is mercy; yet there is hope.” “Ah!” rejoined Alcimus, “but I am too guilty! And now it is too late! Last night, for the first time, I felt the horrors of my situation; and now I see there are only a few moments between me and the infinite torments I have made the subject of ridicule. Wretched man! I have lived the life of a beast, and go to meet the final doom of a sinner justly abandoned of God!"
Under these affecting circumstances, his compassionate neighbor, an "interpreter, one of a thousand," earnestly directed his attention to the gospel of Jesus, as an all sufficient and immutable ground of hope to the chief of perish. ing sinners. “Here, Alcimus," said he, "the jastifying righteousness of God our Savior is brought nigh to the guilty; and here you will find that, in the work of salva. tion, nothing can be impossible with him. He has power to forgive; unconditionally to forgive all manner of sins and blasphemies upto men, even in the last period of life. Believe then on him, and “thou shalt not perish, bat hare cverlasting life.” Look from the borders of the pit to his recovering grace; and this day if he call thee from earth, thou shalt be with him in paradise.”
The prescribed bounds of this essay forbid a more mia
nute detail of particulars. We will only further observe, that the word of truth came with such efficacy to the mind of Alcimus, that when his friend came to visit him next morning, he was joyfully surprised by a complete revolu. tion in his sentiments and language. "Yes," said he, (the Son of Man hath power to forgive all manner of sios and blasphemies unconditionally. This is the report of the gospel; this is the faithful saying that is worthy of all acceptation; and here I will rest." In the evening of this day he died, repeating the prayer of the publican, with an addition that proved the depth of his humility, "God be inerciful to me, the greatest of sinners.”
When the set time of Jehovah is come to discriminate the vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory, all places are consecrated to the sovereignty of his decrees; all events and circumstances combine to celebrate the sovereiga efficacy of his grace; which, like the wind, not only bloweth where it listeth, but when, and as it listeth. Sometimes, amidst scenes of confused gaiety and noisy dissipation, that drown the voice of reason, there the voice of God has been heard, awakening the guilty mind to reflection. That Spirit, whose power is so glorious in the sanctuary of God, has been known invincibly to triumph in the synagogue of satan. How many have been subdued to the wisdom of the just, while in the act of gratifying some foolish and criminal passion! And in how many instances has our Lord Jesus made the very sins of men* subservient to their conversion! The curiosity of Zaccheus, the persecuting spirit of Saul, and the dishonesty of Oncsimus, are among
But will any say, let us do evil then that good may
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. The wrath of me worketh not the righteousness of God. Editor.
the most striking instances of the overruling providence and wonderful grace of Jesus recorded in scripture.
He, as the God of grace and Governor of the world, or. dains and manages whatsoever comes to pass, so as to pro. mote the increase, and secure the final and eternal perfection of his purchased possession; and all the most minute circumstances and casual incidents of life, thus co-oper. ate in advancing the glory of his mediatorial character, by magnifying the depth of his condescension, and the majesty of his power. To accomplish his design of converting the eunuch, he gave directions concerning the journey of Phil. ip; and permitted the imprisonment of Paul and Silas, with an immediate view to the conversion of the jailor. By means which our pride might despise as unworthy of God because of their meanness; which our ignorance and un. belief, as in the case of Naaman the Syrian, would angrily reject as inadequate, on account of their insignificance; and which, by reason of their variety and novelty, our foresight could never have anticipated; by such means does he often display the efficacy, and maintain the hon. ors of his grace. But, whatever be the mode, or the me. dium of Divine operation, the invariable tendency, and the infallible consequence of it is, to appihilate the haughtiness of man, and to perpetuate the undivided praise of finished redemption.
Finally, let us contemplate the triumphant efficacy of the grace of Jesus, in the great and extraordinary consequences that are immediately produced by some conversions. All who are themselves brought near to God by the blood of the cross, will be earnestly concerned for the sal. vation of others, especially their own kindred; and they will estimate the success of their labors, for the accom
plishment of this object, as their highest joy in time, and their crown of rejoicing in that day when the Lord of hosts shall make up his jewels. No sooner did our Immanuel manifest himself to the woman of Samaria, than she went into the city to proclaim the glory of his name; and many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him through her testimony, Salvation to one of a family, to one of a city, is often but the prelude of salvation to the whole house, and to hundreds in that city. When the streams of mercy be. gin to flow through such channels, who can say how many different directions they may take, and how far they may ultimately extend? Upon the important result of one conversion, no man is able to calculate; and therefore it is said, and said, we have no doubt, with some reference to the truth of this remark, that "there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth."
Of the wonders of grace, after all that we have felt, witpessed, or heard, .we know only in part; but when our Lord Jesus shall appear in his glory, to gather his elect from the four winds of beaven, then the whole mystery of his love, from the beginning of time, will be laid open to our view. On that day, ten thousand important, but now secret circumstances, more nearly or remotely connected with our own conversion, will become the subjects of our perfect knowledge; and the reservation of such discoveries till the glorious morning of our resurrection to everlasting day, will greatly increase our obligations and our grati. tude to his covenant wisdom. Scripturally satisfied that we are made the happy partakers of his grace, our final en. joyment of his glory can be no question of doubt. It is ir. revocably fixed, that no unbeliever can be saved; that no believer can be lost. As the work of conversion is not car