The Infidel and the Shadow of Death

A MAN I well knew, who had lived in different manufacturing towns, and who had attended "Halls of Science," where he had imbibed infidel teaching, came to our town, and settled there. He soon became a leader and a man of mark among a God-hating crew, and was well known as an avowed Atheist. He was a man of extraordinary strength, and often would he stand up among his comrades, and, smiting his breast, call on God to strike him, if God there was At last, after years of patience with this infidel's outspoken blasphemy, God took him at his word, and struck him with a horrible and fatal disease. Brought down to poverty and misery, the wise man after the flesh, the mighty man among his fellows, lay in a garret—left to die. His companions had forsaken him; he was left alone—with God!
A terrible struggle ensued in the infidel's soul—into it we cannot enter; of it we know little—but God broke down the pride and enmity of that dying man; God brought to naught in his soul the wisdom of this world, the reasonings of Halls of Science, and made him feel not only what his sins were, but that "God is." Having thus prepared His way in the man's soul, God sent a messenger to tell this poor sinner, who had blasphemed, hated Him, and denied Him, that He is love. How wonderful in mercy—how great in love is God! The former Atheist bowed down before the love of God: he was amazed at such love, which reached to him in his sins.
Summoning his former "Hall of Science" friends, the dying man testified to them of God. He told them of Jesus, and His love to hell-deserving sinners, and of the blood He had shed to cleanse away our sins. "My friends, I used to say there is neither heaven nor hell, God nor devil, but I lied. I said it in my health, with the shadow beneath my feet, but now the shadow has risen, slowly risen, till it reaches my throat; that shadow's name is death.”
He told them that he was face to face with eternity. "God," said he, "has conquered me; Jesus has become my Saviour, even mine.
When all my infidel friends deserted me the Lord took me up in His love and goodness." Then he told his old friends how that the God he had denied held out full salvation to the vilest on account of the Saviour's finished work, and begged them to give up their infidelity, and to call on God for mercy.
“It was awful to hear him," said one of the old friends of the former Atheist; "it fairly made my hair stand on end"—yet that very man who so feared, is still a rejector of Christ, and is still living a life of open sin, with the full sense in his soul that there is a God, and a judgment to come. God have mercy on such poor souls! To others the dying testimony sped home—their consciences were stricken, and they turned from their evil ways, and abandoned forever the wisdom of this world, which is folly before God.
F.