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MINISTERS are respectfully requested to mention the "Christian Pioneer" from the pulpit, and Sabbath School Teachers, Village Preachers, and Tract Distributors, are earnestly invited to promote its circulation.
PRICE ONE HALFPENNY.
An Immense Stalk of Maize...... 177
THE PENNY POST-
THE CHILDREN'S CORNER—
PRINTED AND SOLD BY JOSEPH FOULKES WINKS.
And may be had of all Booksellers.
PUBLISHED BY SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO., STATIONER'S COURT.
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
WE are thankful that the appeals we have made to our friends have been regarded, and, in many instances, carried into operation. An active agent says
"I hope the circulation of the "Pioneer" is rapidly increasing, as I am glad to be able to say it is with us. My monthly orders now amount to nearly 120 copies. It is a great favourite; and its extreme cheapness induces many to take it who otherwise could not. Between 30 and 40 copies monthly go to a village a few miles from here, which my brother, who has lately gone to reside there, circulates chiefly among Wesleyans."
"I am constantly hearing many pleasing testimonies in favour of the "Pioneer." I sincerely hope it will prove useful as well as entertaining. I should think that in no county is it so widely diffused as in Suffolk, but I am not satisfied yet."
We again urge attention to the following considerations. When it was found that the greater part of the people would read, men, whose only object was to make money, soon set to work and printed books, pamphlets, tracts, magazines, and newspapers, of all kinds, at very low prices, to meet the demand. Some of these publications were bad, others were wicked, others were vile and infamous. Tales, novels, romances, plays, songs, ballads, and we know not what were published in millions. Can we wonder that some who could read became more vicious and wicked?
True, there were some publishers who issued useful worksKnight, and Parker, in London, and the Chambers', in Edinburgh— and in their way they did good, but they were not-they did not profess to be of a decidedly religious character. And nothing can effectually preserve men from vice and wickedness but real religion.
Plenty of room then for such publications as this to be circulated in every cottage in the empire-so cheap that the poorest may buy --so amusing and instructive that all may be interested-so plain that all may understand—and with so much religion every month that no man can take up a copy without finding words by which, under the divine blessing, he may discover the path of life. Jesus Christ is set forth in every number as the way to God.
Spread it then, christian friends, spread it on every hand. Can you who are rich do anything much more likely to do good among the poor than by ordering 50 or 100 copies for gratuitous distribution amongst them every month? Many a poor pious man or woman, who perhaps could do nothing else, not being able to teach in the sabbath school, would delight to be thus employed as the almoner of your bounty. And even where this is not or cannot be done, our poor pious friends, who wish to do some good in their life-time, may do much in this way, by, shewing it to their neighbours, and getting subscribers, for its very low price places it within their reach. A poor bed-ridden man at St. Alban's was the means of circulating many by always recommending it to all who came to see him!
CONVERSION OF A DEIST.
Ir is now about seven years since I first knew the subject of this narrative. About two years afterwards. I overtook him on the road, and we had a long and very interesting conversation. He made no secret of his sentiments, but instantly avowed himself a deist. It was evident that he had read the bible a great deal, and that he had thought much on religious subjects. He spoke warmly in praise of God's goodness, and power, and wisdom, and ridiculed the notion of there being no God; pointing to the star-spangled sky over our heads in proof of God's being and glory. But he utterly rejected the bible as a revelation from God.
I saw no more of him until the early part of last year. He had married since we met, and I heard that he was confined to his house, seriously ill. I also heard that his illness was very generally ascribed to his intemperance. When I visited him, therefore, I spoke very plainly to him about sin and its certain consequences, and earnestly pressed on him the testimony God has given in His Word concerning salvation through the blood of Jesus. I thought him dangerously ill, and told him so; refusing to give much heed to his very sanguine hopes of recovery. He evidently struggled hard to throw off the effect of what was said to him. Sometimes he appeared almost annoyed at not being able to escape importunity which he disliked.
After several visits, he freely spoke out his sentiments. He said that he felt no longer able to deny that the bible was true; but he could not believe in the real divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. From a deist, he had, in fact, become a unitarian.
During many subsequent visits, I sought to lay before him, from the scriptures, the great truth, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. And as he was so ready to admit that "God is love," I especially endeavoured to show him that the cross of Jesus was itself the crowning display of God's love. This appeared to surprise and interest him, for I question whether he had ever once thought of the cross as something provided by God himself on behalf of his enemies.
Sometimes, after speaking to him in this way, I challenged him to show me so attractive, so glorious, a display of God's character, as when he was seen pointing his impotent enemies to the cross of his Son, as his own provision for their pardon and salvation. And often as I dwelt on this wonderful truth, the big tears would roll down the cheek of this resolute and lion-hearted man. He had nothing to reply. A professed admirer of God, he found God set before him in an attitude far more gloriously blessed than he had ever seen him-no shadow cast over his holiness, and yet his love finding its joy in pardoning and enriching his enemies.
It pleased God to restore him to a sufficient degree of health to enable him to resume his usual occupation. For a time he went
CONVERSION OF A DEIST.
on most steadily, but after a few months he again relapsed into his former courses. Again he drank down iniquity like water. While he was living in this way, I occasionally met him in the street, but he would stop but for a moment, and always seemed glad to escape from me.
When I heard that he was again laid on his sick-bed, and very ill, I visited him. But I was, on the whole, less satisfied with him than ever. He would listen to anything I pleased to say; contradicting me in nothing, whether I spoke of God, or of himself, or of the Lord Jesus; but it always seemed like a tale told to a man who knew it all beforehand. He would rouse himself when I spoke of his body-or of any remedy for its diseases or of his beloved wife and children—and he always manifested the strongest possible anxiety to live. Indeed, he would never allow the idea of his not recovering to be entertained. The last time I saw him in this state was on Wednesday afternoon, the 4th March. When I left him then, I was exceedingly depressed about him. I thought him very much worse, and told him so. Had he died then, I could not have had hope in his death.
About half-past three o'clock that very night, I was summoned to his bed-side, and there I found a scene of terror such as I never before witnessed. His whole appearance was expressive of extreme agony. He looked like a man who felt he was seized by some power hitherto unknown to him-a power alike irresistible and terrible! And yet, fearful as his appearance then was, those in the room told me that the groans he was then uttering were not to be compared to his cries about half an hour before!
When I entered his room, the terrible storm was subsiding, and he then appeared to be quickly settling down into death; but to our astonishment, he continued in this state for nearly seven hours; till, at about ten o'clock in the morning, a most remarkable change took place. I was then alone in the room with him. The others who had been watching by him had gone down stairs; for the scene had become almost too much for us all. While thus alone by his side, I thought I heard his beloved brother's step below, and I went to the door of the room to listen if it was so. Just as I reached the door, I turned and looked on him who lay like a corpse on the bed, when he suddenly raised his arm, and beckoned to me with his finger! This was as startling a movement to me as if it had been made by one actually dead. Seeing, however, that he was looking very calmly at me, and that his consciousness was evidently restored, I instantly returned to his side, when he detailed to me the anguish of mind and body he had just passed through, adding, amongst other expressions of assurance and delight, that he was now as happy as an angel.
My first thought, on hearing this, was, naturally enough, "Is he wandering ?-is he in his senses ?" And the following mode of putting this to the proof occurred to me. When I saw him the
CONVERSION OF A DEIST.
previous afternoon, it was agreed between us that he should get a certain account, and show it to me on the following day. I now asked where it was, and he told me it was tied in the corner of his handkerchief under the pillow, where I found it. His mind was as clear, and his manner as prompt and as self-possessed as ever I saw it in my life.
Satisfied as to this, I said, "Well, now, tell me what you mean by saying that you are happy-and that you are going to heaven ?"
"Oh," said he, with striking emphasis, "it's all through Christ -through his blood-it's this that has washed away my sins!"
"This is a most solemn and important moment," said I; "I have been standing over you for hours, watching for your last breath; but God has been pleased to give you back your senses again; for how long I cannot tell; do let me, then, again ask you, as a dying man, and in the presence of God, what you mean by telling me that you have peace in your soul, and that you are going to heaven? For you know what a sinner you have been."
He replied, with peculiar solemnity and earnestness of manner, "I know I have but a very short time in this world; perhaps not five minutes; but I believe in Jesus, the Son of the living God; and my trust is entirely in His merits and in His blood; and -(this he said as if very anxious to impress on me the reality as well as the blessedness of it)—my sins are all forgiven; I have peace with God."
I was too much overcome by this astonishing scene to say anything for a few moments. I was drinking in the blessed fact that he was plucked, by God's most precious mercy, as a fire-brand out of the burning!
He presently asked me to pray with him at once, as he thought his time here was very short, and his senses might not be continued to him. It will not be wondered, that when I responded to this request, I found myself rather pouring out thanksgivings than presenting supplications. After this, he wished to see his beloved wife and children. About the same time also his brother arrived. And to all these dear relatives he again and again professed his faith in the precious blood of Jesus, and his peace and happiness in the prospect of immediate death. He then requested that several of the men, over whom for years he had acted as foreman, might be sent for, in order that he might tell them that he was dying a believer in Jesus. I was not present when he saw them, but those who were present tell me that he spoke most impressively to them; urging on them the sufficiency of the Saviour and his blood, and telling them of his own peace and hope.
During the night, he spoke to me several times, in the sweetest and happiest manner, of the preciousness of the blood of Jesus, and of his wonderful conversion. Once, when he had lain for some time with his eyes closed, though evidently not asleep, he