From Death Unto Life

I WAS in my 21st year—was ambitious, self-seeking—my heart and mind being so wholly engrossed by this world that I was indifferent to nearly all which did not promise me temporal advancement.
My prospects were good, and I had just secured a berth as passenger on board of a vessel about to sail from New York to Texas. The same evening, I saw Forrest, the popular American tragedian, act, in one of his famed pieces, in which he personated, with applause, a renowned Indian chief and warrior.
I bore a high moral character, nevertheless was I utterly destitute of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and although admitted as a communicant in the Church of— , I was, in God's sight, dead in trespasses and, sins. That night, I retired late to bed, and, as was my wont, without eating or drinking. I found it impossible to fall asleep, my thoughts being busy with my approaching separation from my loving parents, whom I was not likely to see afterward in this life. My mind pictured to itself their future lonely path, at a distance from all their children. With feelings of deep gratitude, mingled with poignant remorse, I recalled their tender care of me, their unceasing devotion, while I reproached myself with many failures of duty towards them! At length sleep came to my relief, and then it was that God, in love and mercy, laid His hand upon me to bar my path, and to turn me in the opposite direction.
The following morning I awoke later than usual, and suffering from a severe headache. Later in the day I learned that, for several months, I must relinquish my cherished hopes, plans, and visions, in order to recruit my seriously threatened health, and that instead of embarking for Texas, I ought to proceed to England for rest. I consented to do so, and there it was that the Lord in His grace met me, for the saving of my soul.
For weeks after the above defeat of my projects, I was as an imprisoned animal, 'vainly struggling against the power which held it in captivity. Neither by day nor by night did I cease to fret and worry myself, thereby adding to the excitement of my overdone brain, and depriving myself of needed rest and sleep. Truly was I like the troubled sea, tossing to and fro. My over-anxiety betrayed itself in my careworn looks. It made me thoroughly miserable. With cause I apprehended an attack of brain fever, and lest I should become delirious and commit self-destruction, I took the precaution of placing my razors, &c., where they could not be readily got at by me during the night.
At last, one Sunday evening in London, I was pacing the room, my mind busy as usual, desiring rest, while utterly unable to find it. The blessed institution of one day in seven divinely set apart passed before me. With regret I pondered that I was excluded from the rest of mind which others had, and that even refreshing rest in sleep was denied me. It occurred to me that the tumult incessantly raging within me must soon drive me mad.
Almost in despair and in bitterness of heart, I said aloud, but with constrained calmness “It has been remarked that without rest on one day in seven, man cannot long continue to work without sustaining serious injury to health.” “Yes," was the instant reply of the only other person in the room, “and you have much need to bear it in mind—Don't you forget what you have just said." These words were such a home-thrust to me that I immediately left the room, went to my bedroom, there fell upon my knees, and with a broken heart entreated. God to give me the rest I so much needed, but which I was helpless to procure for myself. He did so at once, and I left that room with a weight removed from my mind, and slept soundly the following night. Within one week thence, He brought me under deep conviction of sin, and taught me to look to the Saviour of sinners for salvation.
Some months more elapsed ere I learned in measure what a full, free, complete salvation had been wrought out for me upon the cross. Meantime, my own ignorance and legality kept me in slavish bondage, although even then a believer in the Lord. Jesus Christ.
It was in a town, upon the banks of the River Seine, that the Lord sent me light and dispelled the thick darkness which kept me looking to self and my own doings. I was dismayed at the discovery that all my repentance could avail me nothing, that my motives tainted it; and that in God's sight it was even sin—instead of, as I had fancied, entitling me to God's favor. Must I then begin again, and do all from other motives. It is done, Jesus Christ Himself hath done it, I have but to believe, shot athwart my mind with divine power, for He said upon the cross. "It is finished." This brought joy and liberty to me—the liberty of a child of God, redeemed and adopted as a son. Previously to the above I had been some time in Paris. The attractions it presented had become in my eyes but worthless husks, unworthy of regard, and I turned my back upon them with disdain and utter disrelish.
I never returned to America, the Lord had another path for me to follow. Both my parents remained with me, and expired under my roof, confessing the Lord Jesus Christ Well on to forty years have elapsed since I was brought as above from darkness to light, from spiritual death to be a partaker of eternal life—and what a God. of grace, compassion, tenderness, and love has He ever since shown Himself to me I What peace and rest has He given me, aye, what joy instead of the harassing unrest, the unceasing disquiet and the weary tossings to and fro which I brought upon myself, and which He in grace removed from me, when they had well-nigh sunk me to despair.
Reader, do you know God? If not, “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.”
F. D. U. L.