“A correspondent of the American Baptist Chronicle furnishes the following interesting narrative:–
“It is of no use,’ said Frank B______ impatiently throwing down a book. ‘I have gone through a whole pile of books: have listened to arguments enough to satisfy a whole regiment of lawyers, but it all remains a mystery to me. I wonder whether, after all, there is such a thing in the world as a religion that will satisfy all these restless longings?’ As he paused a moment in his walk the sound of singing reached his ear; he opened the door and listened. It was the children’s nurse just putting her young charge to bed. Clear and distinct came the tone to Frank’s ear, –
“Jesus! Lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the raging billows roll,
While the tempest still is high.”
“Ah!” Thought the listener, ‘that is just what I need. I would give the world to be able to sing that from my soul.’
“Still the sweet restful music came floating down “–
“Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee!”
“He could stand no more, but going back into the room, he muttered:– ‘Other refuge, indeed! I have not even that; and none of these books that I have so patiently read have given it to me. All the money that I have given away has brought me no peace. I have tried good works and miserably failed.’
“Thou, O Christ, art all I want.”
“I am not so sure of that” murmured he. “It would be like a beggar in his filthy garments, associating with a king in his royal robes.” As though it were the echo of his thought he heard again,–
“I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am,
“I wonder whether that girl sings those words from her heart,” thought he some time afterwards as he was preparing to go out. As he was passing the kitchen door, it was ajar, and he saw Mary sitting by the table, holding a book so that the dim rays of the candle should fall upon it; and so intently engaged in reading, that, except for a low murmur you might have thought her a statue. “What can she be reading?” thought he: “some novel, I supposed, nothing else would so fascinate a young girl like her; then all that singing amounts to nothing after all!” And stealing behind her, he peeped over her shoulder. It was a well-used Bible, and she was reading in an undertone,–“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
“That’s me!” said Frank, unconsciously out loud.
“Mary dropped her book, and started, but Frank said earnestly, “do you really think, Mary, that Jesus can love sinners? What a love that must be!”
“Mary’s eyes grew moist, as she said,–“the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”
“Here at the feet of this humble disciple of her Saviour, did the proud Frank B_______ drink in the truth as it is in Jesus. Here was his heart filled with that peace which he had failed to find in his good works; which he had sought for in vain in learned essays. It was not long before, in the fullness of his joy, he could exclaim,– “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, -------to him be glory and dominion for ever. Amen!”
The above passage is from the "Illustrated History of Hymns and Their Authors," published in 1875, pages 456-458.
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