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Grace Abounding :

OR, PRAYER ANSWERED IN THE CONVERSION OF SIX CHILDREN

BY A FATHER.

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child your own offspring! I retired to my closet with feelings of joy and gratitude which I had never known before; and as I was on my knees, offering up the overflowing gratitude of my heart to God for his great grace in the salvation of my daughter, an inward voice said to me, Send for R- from London.” After a moment's hesitation, I resolved to do so. Immediately afterwards the same inaudible voice said, “Send also for T-—.” Now I had strong special reasons for not wishing to do this, and I resisted it; a hundred reasons seemed to flash across my mind why I should not. I argued, as it were, the point with my secret monitor; then tried to forget it, and pass on to something else in my converse with God; but I was held fast; I could go no further; I found that I was resisting the Holy Spirit; and I rose from my knees, and wrote to my two sons, telling them of the conversion of their sister, and requesting them to come home that they might hear dear Mr. Smith, in the hope that a similar blessing might be brought home to their own souls. At first I intended simply to invite them home for a few days; but I afterwards felt that I must candidly state why I wished them to come.

They responded to the invitation on the following day-Saturday. They attended Mr. Smith's services on Sunday; and the elder one returned to London on Monday morning with every appearance of the most perfect indifference to what he had heard, stating that his engagements did not admit of his remaining longer. His brother remained until after the conclusion of the series of meetings on the Wednesday evening-a blessed, glorious assemblage of about a thousand Christians around the table of their Lord and Redeemer! My daughter was one of them. I thought I observed indications of my son being considerably affected under the powerful addresses of Mr. Smith, and I asked him if he could, as a believer, join us at the Lord's table, but he sorrowfully replied, “No, I wish I could.”

After the conclusion of the service, Mr. Smith came with another minister of the gospel to my house. As we sat at the supper-table, in the midst of a somewhat animated conversation on a subject I had broached irrelevant to the scene we had just left, I observed my son sitting with his elbows on the table, and his hands covering his face; and I regretted to see him in what I considered an unbecoming posture. Little did I imagine what was passing in that excited brain. Engaged in the conversation, I had ceased to notice him, when the attention of all present was drawn to him by his suddenly exclaiming, in the midst of a flood of tears, “ Oh Mr. Smith, pray for me, I am the only unconverted person present.” I need hardly say that his request was immediately responded to. Others also offered prayer on his behalf. Dear Mr. Smith afterwards spent a considerable time alone with him, until past midnight; but all was yet darkness and agony under the heavy

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burden of sin. At length all retired for the night. I was about to do so, but on falling on my knees alone to offer up one more earnest prayer for him, I felt that I could not go to bed, but that I must remain and wrestle with God on his behalf. I could not rise, my knees seemed fastened to the floor, and my soul was poured forth before God in agonizing prayer that he would give my dear boy peace, in showing him that Jesus the slain Lamb of God bore his load of guilt, and completely atoned for it on the cross on his behalf.

I thus spent about an hour and a half, when in the midst of my sapplications the still, small voice of God said to me, “Why do you thus continue to ask me for that which I have already done?" I felt immediately confident that my prayer was answered; and I could not rise from my knees until I had offered up the warmest praise and gratitude of my heart to God for his astonishing grace! I then went to my son's room, and finding him awake, told him what had passed. He replied, “Yes, God has heard your prayers; go to bed now; I feel quite differently now.”

The following morning he called on Mr. Smith, and told him of his confident faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and on his journey back to London he afterwards said he could do nothing but sing

Happy day, happy day,

When Jesus washed my sins away!”
His own account of this glorious change is as follows :-

“One Saturday morning I received a note from my father, asking me to go home, that I might have an opportunity of attending the services held by the Rev. J. Denham Smith, who was then preaching in my native town. The note also told me that my sister had been converted at those meetings. I was deeply impressed by this intelligence, and could not help falling on my knees to thank God for my sister's conversion, and to pray that I also might be brought to a knowledge of him-little thinking then that all I had to do was to believe, and that thus my salvation, under God, depended on my faith.

“I went home, and on the following morning heard Mr. Smith preach from the text, While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.'

"I was deeply impressed, and could only with difficulty keep the tears from rolling down my face. After the service I again féll on my knees

I and prayed that I might be converted. I thought my heart was harder

but I did not know that the Spirit of God was working in me, and that, already, I was a quickened soul.

“During the next four days I attended seven of these happy meetings. I saw souls finding Christ; I longed for him myself, but could not find him. I spent many hours in prayer and in tears before God's throne, and I had a firm conviction that before the services were over my soul would be saved. The last service, however, came and terminated—the desired effect had not taken place--and I walked home in a despairing state;

but when I arrived I found that Mr. Denham Smith had come to take supper with us.

“I shall never forget that meal. I endeavoured to join in the conversation, but I was uneasy and could not. I endeavoured to appear

than ever;

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my Saviour.

me, and

merry, and could not; and, at last, being no longer able to restrain my feelings, with tears I implored Mr. Smith to pray for me, and after we had all knelt down around the table, three earnest prayers were offered up for me by Mr. Smith, another minister, and my father.

“ After this I felt relieved, but I was not yet happy, and in this state I went to bed; but I could not sleep, my soul's eternal welfare was on my mind, and nothing could efface it. I prayed and I wept on for about two hours, and then I felt I was not what I used to be; some change had taken place in me; indeed I realized that Christ was

Directly after this feeling came over me, my father came into my room; he told me that ever since we had left the supper-table he had been on his knees imploring God to reveal himself to me through his Holy Spirit; but he had been no longer able to entreat God for me, because he felt confident the great change had taken place, and he had been obliged to praise God for it. God's Spirit had revealed Christ to my father's

prayer was answered. “ Since that night I have been a new creature; and although, at first, some doubts and fears entered into my mind, and although the devil endeavoured to shake my faith, I thank God that He only looks at me as in Christ; and, being a member of my Saviour's body, I am confident that I shall never perish, but inherit eternal life, and have presented to me a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”.

Thus was a faithful God fulfilling his promise, and pouring down his blessing upon the offspring of her who was now with him! What shall I render to the Lord for these his benefits towards me? Is it not meet that I should publish his praise abroad? If I held my peace, would not the stones cry out?

I now come to the third case, which quickly followed. The next week I was called from home; and being within easy access of my third son, in a distant part of the kingdom, I embraced the opportunity of spending one evening with him. I did not fail to tell him of the blessed change which, by the grace of God, had taken place in his dear sister and brother; and I left with him one or two copies of Mr. Smith's addresses in Freemasons' Hall. What followed is so well related in an account which at my request he has drawn up, that I need only transcribe it, and leave it to speak for itself.

“ About the end of Dec. 1861, I left my home to reside in B From the fact of my parents being godly, I had never mixed in worldly society, though I had long looked at its intoxicating pleasures with a longing eye, and only wanted the opportunity to launch out into them.

soon afforded me one; and the taste increased my appetite tenfold. Two or three nights a week were now devoted to the dance, and I began to spend an evening at the theatre. I well knew that my father was strongly opposed to these so-called recreations, and I can now see how the devil was steadily and surely hurrying me into an utterly godless course of life.

“ Towards the end of March, my father paid me a hurried visit. I was then suffering from a severe cough and cold, most likely brought on, or to say the least, aggravated by my newly contracted habits. His affectionate inquiries after my health, and his kind, tender manner cut me to the heart; for I knew how it would grieve him to know what my

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conduct had been. As I walked with him from the neighbourhood of the station, he told me that a gentleman of the name of Denham Smith had been to our native town, and had held some wonderful services there, which had been blessed to many souls;' and then told me the astonishing news_that J- and R, had been brought to Christ as little children. I was literally amazed, and a feeling of dread came over me. My father expressed himself in terms of heartfelt gratitude to God, and ascribed the praise to him. I thought I ought to congratulate him, but could not, dared not speak, until he changed the topic of conversation. My sister J— had written to me a few days previously, and told me that some Christian friends had been spending the evening at our house, and amongst them a Mr. Denham Smith, who had told them such beautiful things about the revival in Ireland.' Little did I think that those beautiful things' were sinking into her heart, and under God's blessing bringing her to the knowledge of Jesus as her Saviour; still less did I dream of my brother R— ever troubling about the state of his soul.

“During the rest of the evening I carefully avoided the subject of religion, lest the conversation should turn to the state of my own soul, and did my best to appear cheerful and happy, though I was deeply impressed with what I had heard about my brother and sister, and my conscience continually accused me for my past conduct. At last I rose to bid my father "Good night;' but he offered to accompany me, and as we were putting on our coats, he drew out of his pocket what appeared to be a large-sized tract, and said something to this effect: 'Here, my boy, is a little book; will you take it, and read it to please me?' I promised to do so, though I wondered in my own mind whether I should ever open it. Having accompanied me home, he affectionately bade me.Good night.' I retired to my room, and, as I now took a retrospect of my conduct since I had left home, I felt still more how ungrateful it had been, and how cruelly it would wound him to know of it. While thus pondering, I drew out of my pocket the tract he had given me, but thinking it would only make me more unhappy to read a religious book, at first I resolved to lay it aside: I hesitated; I could not throw it aside; I had wronged my father-I should have no love left in me.

I would read it; I could not do less. I looked at it, my curiosity was at once excited. It was Mr. Denham Smith's first address in the Freemasons' Hall, London. I read, and became deeply interested. First came the conversion of the Philippian jailor. It appeared to me much more striking than it ever had before; then the instances of sudden and remarkable conversions in Ireland came home to me with great power. At any other time I should have questioned their genuineness, and raised all sorts of objections in my own mind; now I felt that it was all true, though I had hitherto looked upon conversion as a very long and tedious process, requiring weeks or months to complete. I had, however, for some months past had a conviction that conversion was very desirable, and felt that I must be converted some day when circumstances were more favourable; and my idea was, that I should have to turn over a new leaf, and take to reading the Bible and praying a great deal, until God saw fit to give me some token of approbation, and then, in some undefinable way, I should alter my manner of thinking and acting, and become good; but I now read that it was only to believe in Jesus. Why should not I believe in Jesus ?-I should be lost if I did not. I was deeply impressed; and that night I knelt down and prayed to God that he would show me how to believe in Jesus; and I wept, though I scarce knew why, except that my hard heart was really softened.

“The following morning I awoke with the impression that something unusual had happened, and my thoughts at once reverted to the news I had heard on the previous day, and to the state of my own soul. A night's sleep had not now, as it had on many previous occasions, driven away my impressions and quieted the voice of conscience. If anything, conscience now spoke louder than ever; and I felt an emptiness in my soul that I had never felt before. When I again saw my father before his departure, I would gladly have asked him more about my brother and sister; but I feared that he would mention the state of my own soul, and that had always been an unpleasant subject to me, and since a few hours, had become a very tender one.

“The business and engagements of the day even failed to divert my attention from the state of my own soul. I knew myself to be unsaved, and felt the necessity of a change. My spare moments were devoted to breathing the prayer that God would show me what looking to Jesus' meant, and wható believing' was. The words were familiar to me, but I could not discern their spiritual meaning. I retired earlier at night, and rose earlier in the morning, in order to have more time to spend in prayer; and to a late hour I used to be on my knees imploring God to convert my soul, till, wearied in spirit and in body, I threw myself on to my couch only to rise at early dawn, to ask God to satisfy that indescribable emptiness which for the first time my soul now felt.

“Two or three days had elapsed since my father's visit, and I felt I could no longer delay writing to him, and that my letter must contain something about the conversions of J- and R-. I also felt prompted to tell bim, without reserve, the anxiety I now felt about my own soul, and to ask for his advice and prayers, but Satan told me that these were only passing emotions; that perhaps before I received an answer to my letter, I should again have become indifferent; so I resolved on waiting a little longer. I, however, congratulated him that the dearest wishes of his heart had been realised in two of his children, and I heartily hoped that he might soon have to rejoice in a similar change having taken place in all of them; and God knows I meant it.

“I now discovered that I had brought no Bible with me, and that these two or three months I had not looked at one. I at once procured one: but its glorious truths conveyed no light, no comfort to me they seemed rather to tantalize.

“ By return of post I received a long letter from my father. What I had written to him seemed to have been sufficient to convey to him what the state of my mind was. His letter was full of Gospel; it ran as follows: 'I am much pleased with what you say respecting the blessed change that has taken place, by God's grace, in dear J— and R- You say you heartily wish that my hopes may be speedily realised with regard to each one of you. If you hope so, dear B-,

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