The Happy Sunday Afternoon

SOME years since, in one of the larger towns of the West of England, a faithful servant of the Lord labored earnestly to win souls to Christ, and his efforts were much blessed, especially among those belonging to one of the Sunday-schools of that town. Among the scholars was E., the son of Christian parents, whose brothers and sisters were also the Lord's. E. was often very anxious to be a Christian, and when his parents' friends were speaking to each other of the things of God he sometimes felt as though he would do anything if he could but partake in their joys, but he was very careful, through pride of heart, to hide his anxiety from those around him.
Many in the school, and also some of the boys in E.'s class, were brought by God to rejoice in the knowledge of the forgiveness of their sins, but E. remained unsaved and unhappy. One Sunday he left home for school, feeling utterly wretched. He had been very naughty that day, and had been punished, and was feeling the service of the devil to be hard, and was longing to know what real happiness and peace were! While waiting for the address—for there was to be an address in the school that afternoon—
E. thought, "The Bible says God answers prayer: why not ask Him to send some word to me this very afternoon?”
Acting upon the thought, he leant forward and prayed earnestly for salvation that afternoon. He sat during the address anxiously waiting for and expecting some word which would bring peace to his troubled heart, but none came! Now, instead of believing what God says of all the work for salvation being done by Christ, he was looking for something which should change his heart and give him rest.
The address was finished, and E. remained very wretched. Some of the school remained to pray, and then any who really desired salvation were asked to signify that they wished to be prayed for. E. longed to do so then, but the fear of what those around him might say prevented him.
The meeting was over, and the Tempter began to fill E.'s mind with hard thoughts of God, saying to him, "You will never be saved. You asked God to save you this afternoon, and He says He answers prayer, but He hasn't answered yours, so you may just as well give up all thoughts of it!”
While these thoughts were passing through his mind Mr. M, who had addressed the school, came up, and said to E., You are Christ's, are you not? "E.'s only answer could be" No." Mr. M. then drew him aside to a seat, saying," I thought you were a Christian. Tell me, do you believe you are a sinner, and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down here on earth and died for sinners? "All this poor E. did believe, and then Mr. M. said to him," What is to prevent your being saved NOW?”
At once the light from God flashed in on E.'s soul; the Holy Spirit opened his heart to receive what God says, and he saw there was indeed no reason why he should not be saved. Christ had done everything: he had only to accept Christ and to thank God. He knew that Jesus was his Saviour, who once was dead, but is now alive again-that there was nothing left for him to do but to thank and praise the Lord who had died for him.
Some time has passed by since that happy Sunday afternoon, and since that time E. has only found how faithful Jesus is.
Dear reader, listen to this simple story of that happy Sunday afternoon when God brought to Himself the writer of this story.
E—r. H.