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“I know that my Redeemer New Year's Prayer, A. 28
81 Passage of the Jordan, The 154
London Cabmen, The
The Lurora Borealis.
ordinary Aurora Borealis, or Northern Light,
time the most brilliant and general that had been seen by any living man. It was not confined, as it usually is, to the northern section of the heavens. The whole horizon was illumined by arches of fiery hue, from which columns and sheaves of light, of the most variegated and beautiful colours, shot up towards the zenith, forming there a fiery coronet of the most transcendent beauty. The agitation of these columns and sheaves was sometimes very great. Of a sudden these agitations would cease, and the light would die away, and the heavens would resume their wonted appearance; but in a moment these columns would shoot up again in increased size, and with greater splendour, giving an appearance of brilliancy and grandeur to the heavens which called forth the loud acclamations of the admiring beholders. For some weeks previous the earth had been covered with a deep snow, which a cold frost had made to sparkle with a peculiar brilliancy; and such was
the effect upon it of the Aurora, that streets, fields, and houses looked as if they were covered with blood. This remarkable phenomenon only disappeared from the sky as the morning light began to dawn.
Not long afterwards I observed, on Sabbath evening, and on the evening of the weekly service, in a corner of my lecture-room, a female who was a stranger to me and, obviously, to the place. Her attention was marked; her attendance became regular. Weeks passed away without my knowing who she was. I received a request to visit a family where was a woman anxious about her soul. As I entered the door I was met by the stranger I had seen in the lecture-room. I was favourably impressed by her subdued and respectful manner, her great frankness and candour, and her deep solicitude to know the way to be saved. Taking my seat by her side, and after hearing her account of her feelings, I asked her if she understood the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Her reply was, “I am afraid I do not."
Then, madam,” said I, “ will you permit me to explain it to you in a brief and simple manner?"
That,” said she, “ is the very thing I want you to do." “Well, then," said I, addressing her personally, and applying every word to herself, you are a sinner in heart and in life. God is angry with you every day. Every sin you have ever committed deserves eternal banishment from God. So that you deserve to die as often as you have sinned. From the guilt and punishment of sin you cannot relieve yourself—nor can man or angel relieve you--nor can baptism or the Lord's Supper, or any other rite, relieve you. And such is the nature of your sin, and of the justice and government of God, that you cannot be saved unless law and justice are satisfied for the many sins you have committed."
I stopped a moment to see the effect of all this upon her mind. Looking at me with a tearful eye, she replied in a subdued tone,
I feel all this in my soul. My fear of the
anger of God, which my sins have kindled, is so great that I cannot sleep or eat. My tears flow day and night.”
“ But,” said I," there is a way of escape from the guilt and the punishment of sin. You are a sinner; and Jesus Christ has died for sinners. He bore the sins of all who ever have, or ever will believe upon Him, in His own body on the tree. The law requires us to be righteous, in order to enter heaven; and Christ Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes upon Him. If you feel yourself to be a sinner, you have nothing to do but to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. If you repent of sin, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ-if you believe what Jesus teaches, if you do as He commands
without a moment's delay, you can trust your soul and its concerns in the hands of Jesus Christ, without waiting until you are either better or worse, He will certainly save you ; for He says, ' Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'”
With her bright and beaming eye fixed upon me, she drank in every word that I uttered; and when I concluded, she promptly replied, “This is just the way that suits my case."
“ Are you willing now," said I, “to believe in Christ, to cast yourself upon the merits of His atonement, to take Him to be your Saviour from all sin ?" “ Yes,” said she, with the eagerness of a drowning man catching hold of the boat sent out to his rescue, "yes, I take Him now to be my Saviour ; I cast myself now upon the merits of His atonement."
I prayed with her. When we arose from our knees her whole expression was changed, and a new song was put into her mouth. I felt there was a new trophy to redeeming grace and love before me.
I was now greatly desirous to know something about her history, the leading incidents of which she gave me with great frankness. She was born and educated a Roman Catholic. Though well educated, she was on the subject of religion extremely ignorant. Although now in mid-life, and
the mother of children, all the attention she ever gave to her soul was to go to mass and to confession ; and even that she had given up for years, convinced of their utter worthlessness. And up to the evening of the Aurora Borealis she never had a conviction of her sinfulness. With thousands of others she gazed upon the brilliant heavens and the apparently crimsoned earth. The thought of the final conflagration, and of her utter unfitness to meet that dreadful scene, seized her mind, and she retired to her room deeply impressed with the greatness of God and her own :sinfulness and ingratitude. Then was made the first of those impressions which resulted in her conversion.
· Her husband was a Frenchman, of Protestant parentage, but utterly regardless of religion. When he returned home, on the evening of the day of my visit, she told him of my conversation with her, and its effects upon her mind and heart. She read to him from the Bible, and prayed with him. With his consent she erected the family altar. Her fidelity to him, and her deep anxiety for his salvation, created some restiveness, and he refused to hear her. In the deepest distress she sought my advice. I told her to increase her supplications for him in private, but to do nothing that would fret his mind, as that would be to defeat her great object. She retired, resolved to follow my advice.
Some weeks had passed away without my knowing anything of what was going on in this little family. On a Sabbath evening, after a day of peculiar solemnity in the house of the Lord, and when with a dejected spirit I was thinking that I had spent my strength for naught, she appeared in my study with her husband. She narrated her conversation and prayers with him, and he frankly confessed his opposition of heart to her change of mind, and especially to her conduct towards him in pressing religion upon him on all occasions. “ But,” said he, “her prayers and tears have broke my heart.”
"I told John," said she," that if you would tell him what