It was nearly forty years ago, yet the scene is all before me now, and the events of that never-to-be-forgotten night are as fresh in my memory as if they had happened yesterday.

I sat by the fireside with my widowed mother, waiting for the home-coming of my only brother. He was a student in a Medical College 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 home-coming with great delight, and had a long program of events drawn up for the following day, in which was included a supper and dance. 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 mailcoach rolled into the village amid clouds of dust, crowded with passengers, and with Charlie among the rest. I clapped my hands with glee as I saw his well-known form, on the driver's box, "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 cheeks, 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 was 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 arms around my neck, and kissing me affectionately said, "Mary, dear, you will not be offended if I tell you these things are no longer any enjoyment for me. I have something infinitely better." I looked at him in amazement, and I 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, Mary; I have not turned monk, but I have Christ as my own Lord and Master, and He is more to me now than all these follies used 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 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 to 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 in our home the following night, and after supper the company called for Charlie, as was his wont, to entertain them with a song. He was a splendid singer, and never was his voice in better form 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."

 

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!

So kind, so true, and tender,

So wise a Counsellor and Guide,

So mighty a Defender!

From Him who loves me now so well,

What power my soul can sever?

Shall life or death, or earth or hell?

No; I am His 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 with 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 new-found 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 Savior, 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 a 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 mother and I.

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 Savior." Then your song shall ever be: "How marvelous, how wonderful, is my Savior's love for me!"

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9. -- The Christian Pub. Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date

 

 

Index