My Brother Charlie

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Many years ago I sat by the fireside with my widowed mother, waiting for the homecoming of my only brother. He was a medical student in E., and was expected home that night, on his usual vacation. There were no railways in those days, so Charlie had to come by the mail coach which took the greater part of the day to make the journey. I was looking forward to his homecoming with great delight, and had a long program of “events” drawn up for the following day, in which was included a supper and ball. My mother was very indulgent, and allowed us to do very much what we liked in these matters, and of course Charlie and I took full advantage of her liberality, and went into the thing in grand style. The hours passed on, and still there was no coach. It was late in the afternoon. I fretted at this, and feared that all my plans for the morrow might be upset.
“What if he should not come?” I said, “that will spoil the whole thing.”
Just then the “horn” sounded, and the big mail coach rolled into the village amid clouds of dust, crowded with passengers, and with Charlie among the rest. I clapped my hands in glee as I saw his well-known form, on the driver’s seat, beside the man in red, and in a few minutes more he stood in the old parlor, where he and I had together as children spent so many happy days. He was taller and thinner, but the old happy smile dimpled his cheek, and I never felt so proud of my brother as I did that day. I was so eager to inform him of all my plans, that I accompanied him up to his room, and began at once to tell him who were invited, and what was to be the program for the following day. He listened to my story patiently, but without the manifest interest I had expected. When I had finished, he gave a pleasant laugh, threw his arm around my neck, and, kissing me affectionately, said, “Maggie, my dear, you will not be offended if I tell you, these things are no longer any enjoyment to me. I have something infinitely better.”
I looked at him in amazement, and thought he was joking, for no one had enjoyed a dance more heartily than Charlie. He saw I was puzzled, so drawing me to his side, he said: “Do not be alarmed, Maggie, I have not turned a monk, but I have Christ as my own Lord and Master, and He is more to me now than all these follies use to be; but come on, mother will be waiting, I will tell you all about it again.”
That night by the parlor fireside, Charlie told Our mother and me the story of his conversion, while listening to the preaching of Brownlow North, in Edinburgh, and how he had longed to get back to his native town to tell his old associates the story of redeeming love.
“What shall we do about tomorrow?” asked my mother. “Our preparations are all made, and there are about twenty invited.” Charlie laughed heartily and said: “Let them come by all means, mother, I shall be delighted to meet them, and it’s just possible that we may have some music and dancing after all before the night passes away.”
A goodly company had gathered at Rosemount the following night, and after supper, the company called for Charlie, as was their wont, to entertain them with a song. He was a splendid singer, and never was his voice in better trim than it was that evening. A moment’s pause, and Charlie rose, not without a quiver passing through his manly frame, and in a voice of thrilling sweetness, sang—
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
These ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend,
He bled; He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life,
But His own self He gave me,
Naught that I have, mine own I’ll call,
I’ll hold it for the Giver;
My heart, my strength, my life, my all,
Are His and His forever.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend,
So kind, and true and tender,
So wise a counselor and guide,
So mighty a defender.
From Him who loves me now so well,
What power my soul can sever?
Shall life or death, shall earth or hell?
No; I am His forever.
A look of blank amazement settled on the faces of the company as the words fell on their ears. Every eye was fixed on the singer, spellbound. Tears were seen in the eyes of most, and as the singer reached the last verse, his voice increasing in power and sweetness, he sang the thrilling words with great effect
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend,
All power to Him is given,
To guard me on my onward course
And bring me safe to heaven.
The eternal glories gleam afar,
To nerve my faint endeavor;
So now to watch, to work, to war,
And then to rest forever.
Some of the company rose and left without uttering one word, but the greater part remained, and to them Charlie in his winning, hearty manner told the simple story of his conversion, ending up with, “You won’t be angry at me for telling you, will you? The truth is, I could not keep it, my heart is full of it, and I thought the least I could do was to tell you of my newfound treasure.”
That simple testimony to the saving power of Christ, the beaming face of the speaker, so well known to all the company; the genuineness of the change, the absence of all affectation, and the earnest closing appeal to accept the gift of God, His own beloved Son, to be your Saviour and know true happiness for time and eternity, was owned of God to the conversion of at least five of the company that night.
Charlie spoke in the schoolroom on Sunday evening to it crowded congregation, and several others were won for Christ. A great ingathering followed. And among those who were saved and who sang the new song, were my mother, and me.
Part of that happy company after witnessing a good confession have gone to heaven; others of us are still on earth, singing still of Jesus, and were Charlie by my side, as I write, he would join me in saying to all who read my story what he said that night long ago, “Accept the gift of God, His own beloved Son, to be your Saviour.”