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FOUND AT EVENTIDE. |
The Crue Story of a Poung Village Infidel,
REV. CHARLES B, -TAYLER, M.A.,
Author of â€œ Memorials of the English Martyrs,â€ â€œ The Bar of Iron,â€ ete.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER Row ; 65, St. PauLâ€™s CHURCHYARD ;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
Right of Translation reserved.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS,
STAMFOLD STREET AND CHARING CROSS,
* Mucu of the value of the following brief sketch
depends upon its truthfulness. This can be fully
attested. The facts narrated, and the persons de-
scribed were well known to the writer. Names alone
have been changed. Most of the circumstances are
â€˜indeed detailed with that minute accuracy which no
one but an eye-witness could have related.
May our Heavenly Father bless to the souls of the
readers this simple and unpretending narrative of
what His grace has wrought. Should it fall into the
hands of any who are tempted to despair, feeling that
their sins are too heinous and aggravated to be
forgiven, let them remember that the same Saviour
by whom Francis Morton was found at eventide is
willing and able to save them ; â€œfor the same Lord
over all is rich unto all that call upon him; and
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall
How few are aware, when they pass the cottage
homes of their poorer neighbours, how much may be |
occurring of deeply affecting and even thrilling interest
under many a lowly roof! The following narrative
may afford an instance that such is the fact.
A CONTRAST ; ; . . ; . . . 4 9
CAUSES FOR SORROW. . . : . . . . + 20
THE BRUISED REED AND THE SMOKING FLAX 35
. CHAPTER IV.
Gop Wounns To HEA : : : . : . â€˜ Â» 54
THE CLOSING SCENE . . . 7 . . . 7 Â» 73
PRAYER ANSWERED. : 7 7 7 : . . - 86
SLIGHT delicate-looking youth was sitting
on the trunk of a fallen tree which lay on
a broad belt of green sward by the road
side. It was a calm lovely day, early in autumn.
The thick foliage of the hedgerow trees in that
pleasant lane was already tinted with the rich colour-
ing which tells of approaching decay, and a few flutter-
19 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
ing leaves were dropping from time to time noiselessly
upon the bright green grass. The youth had scarcely.
reached his seventeenth year. There was nothing
remarkable about his appearance. He was poorly
clad, but the turned-down collar of his shirt, and the
linen cuffs at his wrists, were as white and clean as
the whole of his dress was scrupulously neat. His
features were finely shaped, but his face was very pale,
without even a faint glow of healthy colour ; and that
ingenuous expression which imparts a charm to many
a youthful countenance, however plain, was wanting
in his. There was indeed a restless troubled look in
his large grey eyes, and nothing expressive of frank-
ness or openness on the high intellectual forehead.
The sky was intensely blue above his head wherever
there was an open space between the spreading
boughs, heavy with their rich foliage, of the tall elms ;
the balmy breeze, soft as a fan of feathers, waved the
curls of his fair hair; but he heeded neither the biue
beautiful sky, nor the gentle breeze. He sat there as
A CONTRAST. Il
one insensible to all the genial influences which often
make a morning in autumn so delightful.
His eyes were fixed upon an open book which
rested on his knees, and as he turned over the leaves
and folded down a page here and there, his lip curled
with a scornful smile. At times as he did this, he
raised his head and looked with a searching glance
down the lane, and seemed to be listening intently
for the approach of some one yet unseen,
He had not long to wait. A tall man appeared in
the distance coming down the lane. He was an aged
.man, but though his hair was almost white, his thin
figure was erect, and his step firm. He carried a kind
of wallet suspended by a hooked stick over his
shoulder, and on that day for the last few weeks, and
about the same hour, he had passed through that lane
in his way to the town of Market Drayton. Francis
Morton knew this and had often met him. John
Hepworth, for that was the name of the pedlar, was a
man of genuine godliness. He felt a deep interest in
12 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
the slight delicate youth. He had spoken to him
earnestly and with much affection about his immortal
soul, and of that gracious Saviour whom he himself
loved better than his life. But the youth had met all
his gentle persuasive words with a careless laugh, and
avowed himself an unbeliever; and in a spirit of
wicked mischief he had purposely taken his seat in
the lane that morning that he might vex and grieve
the good old man. The youth looked down and
fixed his eyes upon the book, as John Hepworth
stopped on coming to the spot where he was sitting,
â€œStill at your studies, my young friend,â€ he said ;
â€œhave you been reading the book I lent you ?â€
â€œNot I,â€ said the youth, laughing as he locked up ;
â€œthis is more in my way.â€
â€œNot Volney, I trust ?â€ said the man.
â€œNo, not Volney, but a capital book, I can tell you.
Would you like to look at it?â€™ and he handed the
volume to him. â€œI have turned down a few of the
leaves,â€ he added, â€œthat you may see what a free
A CONTRAST. 13
independent thinker the writer was. Did you ever
hear of him ?â€
The old man took the book. He opened it at the
title-page, and as he read the name his eyes filled with
tears. â€œHear of him!â€ he said ; â€œyes, my poor boy,
before you were born ; and when I was a boy, younger
by several years than you are now, I was living in the
same house with Thomas Paine. He was then
apprenticed to a stay-maker at Diss in Norfolk.
Some time afterwards, when I was grown up, and the
name of Tom Paine had become famous, or, I should
say, infamous, I, like a fool, out of curiosity looked
into one of his books. Thank God, thank God, I had
a wise godly father, and when he found me with that
book, he quietly took it out of my hand and put it
into the fire. â€˜My son,â€™ he said, gravely, â€˜when I am
dead and gone, you will perhaps thank me as heartily
for what I have now done as if I had taken away a
cup of poison from your lips; and mind what I say,
I as your father forbid you to read another word of
14 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
that manâ€™s books.â€™ He thought I hesitated, and he
said very solemnly, â€˜John, I must have your sacred
promise. I will not speak to you again till you have
told me, as before God, that you will obey me. I
know,â€™ he added, kindly, â€˜my dear son, that if you.
make that promise you will keep it. I can depend
upon you.â€™ He was the best, the kindest of fathers,
Francis, and he had long won my full confidence and
love, but he had early taught me that he was not one _
to be disobeyed.â€
â€œAnd did you obey him ?â€ asked Francis.
â€œBy the help of God I did obey him. JI have kept
my promise up to this day, when, not knowing what
the book was which you put into my hand, I opened
itâ€”and now I have but read the title and the name
of the miserable author.â€
â€™ â€œMiserable!â€ said the youth; â€œwhat was there to
make him miserable? Who has a right, I should like
to know, to forbid the exercise of free thought Â»â€
â€œMiserable : yes, I repeat that word. That wretched
A CONTRAST. 15
man spent his life in seeking to unsettle the minds,
â€˜and ruin the souls of his fellow-crÃ©atures, and when
he had to meet death, he began to betray those
_ terrors which he had long before laughed at. Often,
for a long time together, he cried out, â€˜O Lord, help
me! O Christ, help me! He could not be left alone
night nor day. On one occasion, he declared, that if
ever the devil had a servant on earth, he had been
one; and when his infidel companions said, â€˜You have
lived like a man, we hope you will die like a man,â€™ he
observed, to a friend near him, â€˜You see, sir, what
miserable comforters I have. The woman whom he
had seduced to leave her husband lamented to her
neighbours, â€˜For this man, I have given up my family
and my friends, my property and my religion; judge
then, of my distress, when he tells me that the prin-
ciples he has taught me will not bear me out.â€™ Was
I wrong, dear Francis, when I called that man miser-
able ?â€ Â»
Francis looked very grave, and for some time he
16 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
did not speak, but sat with his eyes cast down. Then
he raised his eyes, and said, â€œBut is all that you
have told me true ?â€
â€œEvery word is true. I have been anxious to learn
the truth as to the latter portion of his earthly course ;
and what I have told you are well-known facts. As
to his books, it is the opinion of men of first-rateâ€™
talent and education, that he had not the knowledge,
nor had he the habits of perseverance fitted to write
upon such subjects. ' Take iny advice, Francis, as to
that dangerous book. Every time you look into it
you are taking poison into your soul. Give it up to
me, that I may burn it.â€
The old man had sat down beside Francis on the .
fallen tree. He now took the young manâ€™s hand in
his own. â€œIf you grant my request, you may live to
thank me, as I thank my father, though I was not
pleased at the time I gave up the book to him. Dear
Francis, I know not how it is, but I feel as a father to
A CONTRAST. 17
The youth hesitated ; he returned the pressure of
his friendâ€™s hand, but he made no reply.
â€œBut that book, dear Francis, may I take it? I
must be going,â€ he added, after waiting a short timeâ€”
then he rose up. â€œSet my mind at rest, before we
part,â€ he said.
â€œJT will think of all you have said to me,â€ replied
the youth, â€œand when we meet next week
â€œWho can tell if we may ever meet again ?â€ said the
old man. â€œI may be here next week, but afterwards
I have a journey to make into Wales. I wish you
would now give me that book. Promise me, however,
one thingâ€”that you will not â€˜look into it again till we
â€œWell, as you wish it,â€ said Francis, with a sudden
burst of feeling, â€œI give you my promise that I will
not open the book till then.â€
And so they parted ; but before the old man turned
to go, he again took the hand of the youth, and stood
for a little while looking at him, earnestly and
18 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
tenderly. He marked the hectic colour that flushed
the death-like paleness of his face, and his slight,
fragile form ; and as he looked at him the tears fell
from his eyes. â€œMay the Lord, in his tender mercy,
draw you to himself,â€ he said, with a voice that
trembled with deep inward emotion. â€œMay He
watch over you, and send his Holy Spirit to guide
you, and make you a lamb of his -flock, and lead you
to the fountain of living water. He only knows how
deeply I feel for you, how dearly I love you. Oh, my
poor boy, I am sure you are not happy ; but mark my
words, even as if they were my last words to youâ€”
Christ will have you ; this I believe, this I feel assured,
of. Read His word, and do not resist his voice when
He speaks by his Holy Spirit to your soul, and you
will love Him, and he will make you his for ever.â€
He said no more, but with a wistful look in his
eyes, and with silent prayer in his heart, he took up
his wallet and went on his way, praying as he went.
Francis stood deep in thought, looking after his
A CONTRAST, 19
aged friend. â€œShall I follow him and give him the
book ?â€ he said to himselfâ€”â€œI will ;â€™ but when he had
taken but a few steps, he stopped: â€œhe is walking
faster than I can,â€ he said, glad to have an excuse.
â€œWell, I shall see him next week, and then I certainly
will give it â€˜to him.â€
How often did he wish afterwards that he had
obeyed. his first right impulse, and how bitterly did
he grieve that he had not done so!
Causes for Sorrotv.
pu are late, Francis; I have been expecting
you for the last three hours. What have
you been doing, and where have you been
loitering ? Why, it is past five oâ€™clock.â€
â€œOh, mother dear,:donâ€™t scold, but come and help
me; I am ready to sink.â€
His mother had heard the click of the garden gate
as the latch was lifted, and at the well-known step of
her son upon the narrow path she had raised her
eyes to the clock ; but, when she heard the piteous
tone of his voice, she threw down her work, and
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 23
hastened to meet him. She caught his outstretched
hand, then drew~him closer to her, and supported
his tall slight frame, for she saw that he was scarcely
able to stand. His head drooped upon her shoulder ;
he was gasping for breath. He looked up in his
motherâ€™s face, but he did not speakâ€”the could not.
His countenance was paler than usual, even to ghast-
Tenderly the mother spoke to him, as she wiped
the heavy sweat-drops from his forehead ;_ tenderly
she soothed him, as she said, â€œYou will soon feel
better now; the walk has been too much for you, my
darling boy. Let me get you into the house, and you
shall lie down upon the sofa, and a cup of tea will
soon revive.you. The tea-things are on the table, and
I was only waiting for you.â€
â€œA drink of cold water first, mother,â€ said the
youth, as he raised his head from the pillow of the sofa.
She brought him a glass of clear sparkling water,
and he drank it eagerly. â€œYes, I am better now,â€ he
24. FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
said, in reply to her anxious inquiries. He got up
from the sofa and took his usual seat by the fireside.
His mother made some remark from time to time, as
she employed herself in arranging the tea-things, and
stirring up the fire to a cheerful blaze ; but Francis
was silent. He sat with his eyes cast down, and a
look of deepest sadness in his face. Then, without
raising his eyes, he said, â€œMother, I shall have to leave
â€œLeave me!â€ she repeated, turning at once to him.
â€œHave to leave me, my dear boy! what do you
â€œT mean that I must dic. There is no hope. The
doctor told me I am near death. You wished me to
go to. him, and I went ; but I wish I had not gone.â€
â€œWhy not gone?â€ said his mother.
â€œ Because, if I am to die, I did not want to know it,
and because Dr: Burton says he can do me no good.
He gave me a bottle of stuff to ease my cough; and
he was kind enough. He sounded me with a kind of
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 25
pipe all over my chest and back, but then he shook
his head, and I asked him what he thought of me. I
wish I had not, for I felt ready to faint, when he told
me I was in a consumption. He is one of your pious
men; so he thought it right, I suppose,â€ he added,
fretfully, â€œto talk to me of making use of the time I
still have to prepare to meet God. I did not like it,
â€œBut it was right, and I thank him. He â€˜is a good
man, and you must not take on.so, and: say such bad
â€œYou are right, mother, and I am wrong; and
I am sorry, really very sorry! But, oh, dear mother,
I am so unhappy, so very unhappyâ€”what am I
The poor boy wept bitterly, and buried his face in
the cushion of the sofa, against which he was leaning,
and sobbed aloud. His motherâ€™s tears fell fast, as she
bent over him, and tried to soothe and comfort him.
Suddenly he lifted up his head, and cried out:
26 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€œMother, I have heard more bad news to-day, and
that has helped to upset me.â€
â€œDear! dear!â€ said his mother, â€œwhat can it be?â€
â€œTI have often. spoken:to you of Mr. Hepworth.
The kindest, â€˜dearest friend I ever had. Well, he is
deadâ€”I used to meet him often in the lane to Dray-
ton, and the last time I saw him, he said he would see
me again the next week. I went, but he did not
come, and it is now two months-since that week. I
have never heard of him till to-day. He was sent for
into Wales to go to his sister, who was dying they
thought of a bad fever ; but he took the fever, and as
she was getting wellâ€˜he died. He lent me that book,
which you called a beautiful bookâ€”the â€˜Pilgrimâ€™s
Progress,â€™â€”but I would not read it. And, mother, just
before he died, he called his niece to him, made her
promise to send his Bible to me, and write to me, and
beg me to read it and to keep it as his keepsake to
me, and told her to say that he knew Christ would
have me, and that we should meet in heaven. I have
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 27
the letter of his niece in my pocket, and she has sent
the Bible by the carrier to Whitchurch. .I. shall go
and get it in a day or two.â€
* * * * *
Francis had suffered a great shock, and was very
ill for several days. -His-mother was â€˜filled with alarm,
fearing that she should even then lose him. But he
gradually rallied, and was much in the same state as
he had been before his visit to Drayton. The mother,
however, was fully aroused to the fact that her sonâ€™s
time on earth was drawing to its close. She said
nothing to him, but she went quietly to the curate of
the parish, Mr. Charlton, and begged him to lose no
time in coming to her son. On that same evening,
though it was a cold dark night at the end of
November, and the walk was long,a gentle knock
was heard at the door of Mrs. Mortonâ€™s cottage.
â€œTt is Mr. Charlton the curate come to see you,
dear Francis,â€ said his mother, as she opened the
28 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
Partly sad, partly out of temper, Fraritis offered not
a word of greeting, and when the curate went up to
him, looking kindly and speaking kindly, and was
about to take his hand, the youth quickly withdrew it ;
then he covered his face with both his hands, and sat
silent, as if determined not to speak. His mother
went to him, but her whisperedâ€˜ remonstrances had no
effect upom him: He only murmured, â€œI donâ€™t want
any one to come to me.â€
The curate took no notice of the petulant temper
of the poor youth. He spoke only the more kindly
to him, with a tender sympathy for his weakness
and suffering. He had prayed secretly that he might
be enabled: by Divine grace to win the confiderice of
poor Francis. He knelt down near him and offered
up a prayerâ€”a very simple one; but he poured out his
â€˜heart in earnest and loving supplications for those who
were â€œout of the way,â€ and who were unhappy ; and
he dwelt upon the tender love of that gracious Saviour
whose compassions fail not, and who, while we were
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 29
yet without strength, while we were yet sinners, died
for the ungodly, died for us, and died in unspeakable
While he was praying, the large tears began to
trickle through the fingers of the young sufferer, whose
hands still covered his face: then â€˜the hands came
down from that pallid countenance,.and he wept aloud.
The pastor, on rising from his knees, at once opened
the word of God; it was the Bible which had been the
dying gift of John Hepworth, and it lay.on the table
â€œÂ© Lord,â€ he said, reverently, â€œbe gracious to us, and
make this word a living word â€˜by thy Holy Spirit, to
quicken our souls, for Jesus Christâ€™s sake.â€ He read
only a few verses from the eleventh chapter of
St. Matthewâ€™s Gospel: â€œCome unto me all ye that
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am
meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto
your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is
32 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
light.â€ - He closed the book, and for some moments
there was silence in the:room.. Then Mr. Charlton
said, â€œIt is the Lord Jesus, even God the Son, who
speaks: to us-in these words of love. It is He, who
shed His -own blood: fot the vilest sinner, who so
tenderly calls us to come to Him, with the burden of
all our sins, and all our sorrows,~â€”a sore and heavy
burden. I found it so; dear Francis, till I acceptedâ€”
oh how thankfullyâ€”His most loving invitation, and
went to Him, and laid my sins on Him, and found rest
unto my very soul:. Will you;:my. poor young friend,
come unto Him? He will not reject you, for he has
also said, â€˜Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out.â€™ â€
The pastor dÃ©emed itâ€™ wisest toâ€™ say no more at that
â€˜time. He rose to take his leave; but before he
departed, he turned to Francis,â€˜and took the thin
hand, now held out to him, affectionately in his, and
said, â€œ Shall I come to you again ?â€
The youth raised his large eyes with an expression
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 31
of the deepest sadness, but with a wistful look : â€œOh,
sir,â€ he said, meekly, â€œif you would come! I am so
very unhappy! I shall think it long till I see you
On the next day the curate came again; Francis
was alone. When he saw who his visitor was, his
face brightened ; it was, however, but for a moment;
the look of extreme wretchedness settled down upon
him once more.
For several days the anxious pastor sought in vain
to win his confidence. Francis listened with quiet
attention to every word: addressed to him, but no
efforts could draw him into conversation ; yet always
on the minister going away, Francis earnestly entreated
him to come again, and not to forsake him. As he
afterwards told his friend and pastor, he was at that
time quite hopeless. Young as he was, he had a mind
of extraordinary intelligence, and he had been caught
in the snare of the bold assertions and specious
sophistries of Paine and other writers of the same
32 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
school. He had become indeed so entangled in them
that escape and deliverance seemed impossible to
him. These opinions had, like noxious weeds, rooted
themselves in an uncultivated soil; and it was, alas,
the congenial soil of the natural heart, which is, we
know, at enmity against God* until changed by Divine
grace. All that he knew of the Holy Bible had been
gained from the attacks of the enemies of its glorious
truthsâ€”even of the blasphemous infidels whose books
he had read. ;
It might seem â€˜improbable that a mere youth, in a
secluded hamlet, should have met with such books.
But he had an only brother, to whom he was de-
votedly attached,â€”a tall handsome young man, a e
soldier in the Guards. He was unprincipled and
profligate, but good-tempered, and fond of the delicate
boy, who was so fragile and so unlike himself, and
who looked up to him with undisguised admiration.
On his last visit, about a year before, Philip had taken
* Rom, viii. 7.
CAUSES FOR SORROW. 33
more than usual notice of his young brother. He had
found it convenient to avail himself of the services of
the affectionate boy, who was never tired of waiting
â€˜upon him, as he lounged away his time, during his
leave of absence, in careless idleness,â€”sometimes
dressing himself with care in his handsome uniform,
and strolling about the lanes and streets of the neigh-
bouring villages, and visiting at the cottages and
houses where he was known, but usually wasting his
time in reading some foolish novel that he had brought
with him. He had however several other volumes
which he thought furnished some excuse, by their
blasphemous denial of the God of truth and holiness,
for his own unprincipled and profligate course of life ;
they were left lying about the room where he and his
â€œWhat are you reading, youngster ?â€ he said, when,
on going up to their chamber, he saw Francis intently
occupied with one of those books, and he took it out
of the boyâ€™s hand, laughing however as he did so,
34 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€œTf you read it,â€ said Francis, â€œwhy may not I ?â€
â€œOh read it, if you will,â€ said Philip ; â€œ but you canâ€™t
understand it. It is above you.â€
â€œTam quite taken with it,â€ said the boy; â€œand I
can understand it.â€
â€œWell, well, it will open your eyes to the truth, you
young dog, as it has mine: only hide it from mother.â€
The days passed rapidly by, and the young soldier's
leave of absence expired. â€œ Will you take your books
with you,â€ said his young brother on the morning of
Philipâ€™s departure to his regiment.
â€œNot J,â€ was the careless reply; â€œburn them, or
keep them as you will.â€
Thus it was that the evil seed had been sown, and
had rooted itself in the heart of the unhappy youth.
Che bruised reed and smoking flax.
R. CHARLTON had at last won the youthâ€™s
confidence and love; and he felt an in-
creased interest in him. The servant of
God knew, however, that the change he so anxiously
desired and prayed to witness was beyond his power
to effect. All that he cow/d do, he endeavoured to do.
He brought before his young friend the real character
of the word of the living God, by reading to him
those portions of the inspired volume which were
calculated to make known to him its: divine truths ;
and he wep constantly on his knees beside his young
36 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
charge, endeavouring to lead his thoughts, by simple
and. fervent words of prayer, to that gracious Lord
who has said to his sinful creatures, â€œHim that
cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.â€ As long
as Francis had strength to kneel, he knelt with his
anxious pastor. He now knew well, and felt deeply,
the affectionate interest with which Mr. Charlton
There was but one thing to be done after humbly
and diligently using the means appointed by Godâ€”
to wait upon the Lord. This Mr. Charlton did, in
faith and humble prayer ; and he soon found that the
poor youth was becoming an anxious seeker after
About this time Francis began to open his whole
heart to his visitor ; and fearful indeed was the spec-
tacle disclosed, of errors in principle, and their usual
consequencesâ€”â€”sins in practice.
â€œAnd now, pr,â€ said the youth, mournfully, â€œnow
that you know me as Tam, can you think there is any
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 37
forgiveness for me? I have beena blasphemer, I have
denied that Holy Saviour who paid the price of His
own blood for guilty souls.â€
â€œ And whose blood cleanseth us from all sin,â€ said
his pastor, gently clasping the hand of the youth, who
wept as if his heart was breaking. Mr. Charlton said
nothing till the grief of Francis had somewhat subsi-
. ded; then he turned to the first Epistle of the disciple
whom Jesus loved, and read in a low but distinct
voice these well-known words, â€œIf we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.â€
â€œDear Francis,â€ said the earnest pastor, â€œlay
to heart this great assurance, and trust without a
doubt or a fear that your faith will find acceptance,
and the promise be fulfilled to you. He whose pro-
. Mise it is, never broke the bruised reed, nor quenched
the smoking flax ; and you, my poor broken-hearted
Francis, are but a bruised reed, and your faith is like
the smoking flax ; but His promise is sure, and if he
38 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
whom you now seek has begun his work in your
heart, as I believe He has, his work will stand.
Therefore take comfort from the only source from
which true comfort flows ; you have sinned grievously
and awfully, but there is DE gi Ces with Him and
forgiveness for you. Do not, my dear Francis, add
the guilt of distrust and unbelief to your past sins.
I trust they are forgiven, as they are forsaken. You
do not speak, Francis,â€ he added. â€œDid you not
hear? do you not agree with what I have told you ?â€
Francis had sat with face cast down, apparently
deep in thought. He, now raised his head, and said,
â€œOh, sir, how kind you are! I heard every word you
said, and every word went to my heart ; I must not, I
will not distrust the word of the Lord God. As you
have often told me, it is a precious word, and a living
word, and I must and do believe it.â€
In his heart, the minister thanked God that for the
first time he had seen the dawn of divine light in the
mind of the young infidel, gradually clearing away
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 39
the dark clouds of unbelief and misery. But though
the light had come, it was for some days scarcely
more than a faint twilight ; but it was not the twilight
that dies away into the darkness of night, but that
which brightens into the clear shining of full daylight ;
and as the light increased, there came with it. a
genial warmth into the cold, trembling heart of the
desponding youth. Thus it was with Francis as it
is written in the word of our Lord, that God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
had begun to shine in his heart â€œto give the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ.â€ * He did not pass from confusion
and wretchedness to ungrounded hope and joy. If
he was at length enabled to believe that his sins
were forgiven and blotted out in the blood of our
adorable Redeemer, he could never forget how awfully
he had offended.
One thing Mr. Charlton remarked during all his
* 2 Cor. iv. 6,
40 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
intercourse with Francis, from the first day that they
met, to his last hour,â€”that he never attempted, in any
way, to excuse or justify himself. His conviction of
his sin and of his entire unworthiness was deep and
abiding. After leaving him one day apparently calm,
and almost peaceful, Mr. Charlton would find him
with his countenance fallen, and bathed in tears. But
always, after his pastor had drawn his attention to any
passage of Holy Scripture, and explained and pointed
out the instruction or consolation to be derived from
it, the passage was marked and carefully studied with
prayer when Mr. Charlton had left him.
Sometimes Francis spoke of his aged friend, John
Hepworth, the pedlar, and of their interviews, deplor-
ing his own wicked perverseness, describing the
tender anxiety of the good old man, and repeated his
wise counsels and gentle admonitions. He dwelt
especially on their last meeting, and on the bitter
grief and remorse he felt when the tidings of the old
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 41
manâ€™s death reached him, on the shock it had been
to him, and the joy he felt when he received the
old manâ€™s message, and the Bible of the dying pedlar.
â€œHe foresaw,â€ said Francis, as he fixed his eyes
upon the page of the open Bible, which lay upon the
table before him, whilst a few large tears dropped
from his downcast eyesâ€”and the poor youth spoke
in a voice trembling with agitationâ€”â€œhe foresaw that
his prayers for the wretched boy he pitied and loved,
notwithstanding all my wickedness and ingratitude,
would be answered. Truly, sir,â€ he added, â€œthey
were the prayers of faith, as you have often told me
every prayer should be.â€
Francis was very weak one evening when Mr. Charl-
ton came to him; he was growing weaker every day.
â€œ Dear sir,â€ said the youth, in a faint voice, â€œI have a
duty to perform ; it ought to have been attended to
before, but if I put it off any longer it may be too
late, for I feel that I shall soon be gone. I must burn
42 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
those dreadful books so full of blasphemy and ini-
quity. Thank God, I cannot bear the sight of them
now ; but I must take care that no other eyes shall
read them. He who left them with me said I might
keep them or burn them, as I pleased; but if he had
not told me that I might burn them, I would do so
now. Oh, sir, what would have been my feelings at
this time, when I must soon have to die, and to meet
my God! How should I dare to meet Him as an
unpardoned blaspheming sinner! I who have denied
the Lord that bought me with His own bloodâ€”I, a
wilful, impious, wicked fool !â€
â€œFrancis,â€ said his pastor, â€œdo not you remember
the words of that most gracious Saviour, the prayer
for his murderers upon the cross when they had cru-
cified him, â€˜ Father, forgive them, for they know not
what they do.â€™ My poor boy, might He not say of
you, he knew not what he did? not from anything
good in yourself, but from his own infinite love, and
his own thorough knowledge of your ignorance and
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 43
weakness, might He not say this of you also? I would
not excuse you, I would not help you to find a single
excuse for your past wickedness. I am thankful to
know that you have never excused yourself.â€
â€œT excuse myself! oh, sir, I can never condemn
myself enough. But now that I know something of
that love, that wondrous love, which, as you have
shown tne from His word, passeth knowledge, I have
dared to hope, and to do more than hopeâ€”to believe
that He who came to seek and to save those that were
lost has sought and saved me with his blood.â€
The impious books of which Francis had spoken
were burnt that night.
â€œThere is one other duty for me to do before I die,â€
said Francis, on the following day, to his pastor, now
unspeakably beloved by him ; â€œthere is one duty yet
to be done, dearest, kindest, most respected friend, if
I may call you my friend.â€
â€œWhat is it, dear Francis? for you are very dear to
44 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
me,â€ said Mr. Charlton. â€œTell me, can I help
you? perhaps I can, in what you have to do; what
is it ?â€
â€œT have a letter to write, and I am sure you will
help me, for I shall need your help. I am becoming
so weak, so much weaker than I was even yesterday,
and the thought of that letter which I must write
has troubled me and kept me awake and feverish
all night; and I am so afraid that I may not live to
â€œTell me, dear Francis, to whom you wish to
â€œTo him who put those dreadful books in my way,
who gave them to meâ€”to my brother. He is very dear
to me, but he gave me poison, and I drank it, willingly
drank it, and the fatal effects soon followed ; it began
to circulate through every part of me, and to taint
with its deadly leaven my whole heart and mind.â€
â€œBut you have taken the antidote, my dear
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 45
â€œT have indeed, sir, and you brought it to me ; and
when in my wicked perverseness I tried to reject it,
with what patient gentleness, with what sweet persua-
sion, you induced me to take that precious antidote
from your kind hand.â€ .
â€œWhile He who provided it, and taught me to know
its divine efficacy,â€ said Mr. Charlton, â€œand to offer
it to you, my poor Francis, was the Good Physician ;
and, blessed be His name, you have experienced its
healing purifying power; He has also made it health
and life to your soul.â€
â€œThere is one of the psalms, sir,â€ said Francis, â€œa
. very grand and beautiful psalmâ€”I was reading it not
long ago, but I forget which of the psalms it isâ€”which
I might humbly and thankfully employ as my prayer
in blessing and praising the Lord for his mercy to me,
in saving me from the dreadful effects of those
poisonous books. I think it begins with, â€˜Bless the
Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His
46 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€œTt is the 103rd psalm, Francis; I will read it to
you; and then we will ask the Lord to teach and
help you to write the letter to your brother; for I
agree with you it is right to make no delay, while you
have strength and time, to write to him.â€
Mr. Charlton then read: â€œBless the Lord, O
my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy
â€œBless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his
â€œWho forgiveth all thine iniquities ; who healeth all
thy diseases ;
â€œWho redeemeth thy life from destruction, who
crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender
He read the whole of that magnificent psalm to his
young companion, dwelling particularly upon many of
the verses, and pointing out how remarkably they
applied to the gracious dealings of the Lord with
those who had been brought to feel the need of a great
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 47
forgiveness, as Mr. Charlton humbly and thankfully
declared he himself had been brought to feel.
The tears fell fast from the eyes of the deeply
penitent and deeply thankful youth. â€œI must learn
that psalm by heart,â€ he said, as he wiped his tears
â€œAnd feed upon it, my Francis,â€ added the pastor,
â€œas the prophet has said ;* and you may truly say as
he did, â€˜Thy words were found, and I did eat them,
and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of
They prayed, and then Francis began his letter to
his brother, as follows :-â€”
â€œMy OWN AND ONLY BROTHER,
â€œT love you very much, and I now write to tell
you that I shall never see you again in this world. It
is, I see, the will of God to take me away ; and I now
believe that he will take me to be for ever with the
* Jer. xv. 16,
48 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
Lord Jesus. I trust He has forgiven me, His poor
wicked child, for the sake of His blessed Son. It
almost breaks my heart to think that you and I may
never meet in that better country. If God has for-
given me, He will assuredly forgive you; and if we
confess our sins, He will forgive us our sins, and cleanse
us from all unrighteousness. I was long without hope,
but I have now dared to hope; for I am enabled to
believe with a trusting faith in the word of the living
â€œOh, my brother, how fervently do I pray that
you may be brought to know what a God we have,
and to know and love Him as I now do, or rather to
believe that He loves me, vile and unworthy as I am ;
and what a Father, what a Saviour, what a comforter
I have found in Him! He has answered many of my
prayers in a wonderful way, and I cannot but believe
that He will answer my prayers for you. You and I,
dearest Philip, are great sinners; but the blood of
Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and the Holy
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 49
Spirit will be given to all who ask for Him to apply
that precious blood to the conscience, ,
â€œDo not destroy this letterâ€”do not throw it asideâ€”
but keep, and sometimes read these, the last words of
"your young brother to you, whom I love as my own
â€œDear Philip, those books which you brought with
you, and left with me last yearâ€”I mean those vile,
pernicious books written by wretched and blasphem-
ing infidelsâ€”have been like deadly poison to me. I
was bad enough before ; a wicked, ungodly boy ; but
those books made me a scoffing, daring unbeliever,
and brought my soul to the very brink of hell. But
the Lord God had compassion on me, and sent His
messenger to meâ€”my dearest friend as he now isâ€”my
kind, loving pastor, the Rev. Mr. Charlton. At first
I felt angry and displeased at his coming, and I
wanted him to go away, and I let him see that I dis-
liked his coming to me. But I felt so ill and so un-
50 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
happy, that I did not get up and go upstairs to avoid
him, as I thought at first I would do. He bore with
me, however, and was so gentle and patient, and he
did not find fault with me and rebuke meâ€”as I sup-
posed he would do, afid as I deserved. But he read
such gracious words from Godâ€™s own word; and he
knelt down by me and prayedâ€”such a prayer, so
humble, so full of love, so tender about me, that
my cold, hard heart seemed to melt within me,
and I could only weep and feel that I really loved
â€œAnd now, my Philip, I can bless God and tell you
that Mr. Charlton has brought me the antidote for
the poison of those hateful booksâ€”the one and only
antidoteâ€”and the effects have passed away. You may
find the same antidote in Godâ€™s holy wordâ€”there it is
for you as it was for me; and Mr. Charlton would be
as ready to help you as he has been to help me.
Perhaps you will not seek him now. You, my dearest
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 51
brother, may have to be brought down by sorrow and
sickness as I-have been. But do not forget what I
say. The time may comeâ€”I think it will comeâ€”the
days of darkness may come to you; then think of
my Jast words to you, and go to your brotherâ€™s dearest
friend, his pastor and teacher, and open your heart, as
I have done to him.
â€œYours, with deep heart love,
â€œ My own dearest brother,
â€˜ â€œ FRANCIS MORTON.â€
The exertion of writing this letter had been almost
too great for the failing strength of Francis. It had
taken him two days to write it, and his pastor had
come to him on the following day after remaining with
him on the day when he began writing ; on the second
day he had paused more than once, and Mr. Charlton,
seeing how exhausted he was, had begged him to put
off concluding the letter to still another day. But
52 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
with a pleading look in his large melancholy eyes,
Francis gently entreated to be allowed to finish the
letter, and roused himself to another effort, writing
steadily on till he had signed his name. Then the
pen dropped from his hand, his face became deadly
pale, his eyes closed, and he sank down on his chair.
He would have fallen, but his mother, who had been
anxiously watching him, sprang forward and caught
him, and with the assistance of Mr. Charlton, Francis
was laid, almost insensible, on the old sofa. But he
was not insensible. He opened his eyes as they laid
his head on the pillow of the sofa.
â€œMother,â€ he said, faintly, as she bent over him,
â€œmother, beg Mr. Charlton to stay a little longer with
Mr. Charlton came to him, and took his hand.
Francis warmly clasped his pastorâ€™s hand. â€œ Dear sir,â€
he said, â€œI wanted to ask you to pray with me before
you leave me. I am better nowâ€”much better. It was
THE BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX. 53
but a passing faintness; but, thank God, the letter is
written, and I feel so peaceful, so thankful! I shall
join in your prayer, dear sir. I shall hear that name
from your lips, which is above every name. It is to me
dearer and sweeter than any other on earth. His name,
as you have often reminded me, was called Yesus, that
He might save His people from their sins,â€
God wounds to heal. |
HE next day Francis did not rise from his
bed ; but Mr. Charlton found him very calm.
He looked up with his usual smile when
his pastor entered, but he did not speak, except
to answer the few affectionate inquiries addressed to
him. His.voice was weaker than it had been, but he
listened with intense interest to the glorious words of
Holy Scripture which Mr. Charlton read to him:
â€œThe word of God is. quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to
GOD WOUNDS. TO HEAL. 55
the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the
joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts
and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature
that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are
naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom
we have to do.
â€œSeeing then that we have a great High Priest, that
_ is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let
us hold fast our profession. For we have not a High
Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities ; but was in all points tempted like as we
are, yet without sin.
â€œLet us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need.â€*
â€œMay I ask you to grant me a great favour, dear
sir?â€ said Francis,
â€œWhatever you may ask, and whatever I can do, I
will do, Francis,â€ replied his pastor.
* Heb. iv. 12-16.
56 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€œIt is to put this letter into my brotherâ€™s hands.
You told me you might be going to London soon.
You will find him in the Barracks, at Knightsbridge.
Will you,â€ added he, â€œsee my poor ungodly brother,
and speak to him? And I pray God that the words,
which have brought life to my soul, may by His
grace bring life also to his.â€
â€œWe will hope and pray,â€ said Mr. Charlton, â€œthat
your words may come true.â€
â€œTI feel that my time is very short,â€ said Francis,
when Mr. Charlton rose on this occasion to leave him.
â€œI cannot mistake the inward sinking I have lately
felt. What a comfort your coming to me has been!
Let me thank you now, though no words can express
what I feel for your goodness to me. Let me, how-
ever, thank you now, for I may not be here to do so
when you come again.â€
â€œT will not fail to be with you to-morrow, if it please
God, my dear young friend. I should wish to be with
you at the last ; but you now need rest, and I trust
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 87
that quiet and sleep may restore you to some strength
before we next meet.â€
â€œT do not lean on man,â€ said Francis; â€œyou have
taught me, sir, to lean on Him who is the Rock. â€˜I
will both lay me down and sleep,â€™â€ he added, to
himself, after his pastor had left him, â€œâ€˜for Thou,
Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.â€™ â€
On the following day, when Mr. Charlton came,
Francis seemed to have revived. â€œ How very kind of
you to come,â€ he said; â€œand how thankful I feel
that I am permitted to see you once more. I felt
very sad after you left me, and I began to doubt and
to fear, as I have done so often, but I kept on crying Â°
for mercy, and I am sure my prayer was answered ;
for while I was praying, your words came back to me
which I had forgottenâ€”that I must not look to my
own feelings, or my own frame of mind, but trust
simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ.â€
Mr. Charlton opened the Bible, and read a few
verses : â€œ Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth
58 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
my word, and believeth on Him that sent mie, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation,
but is passed from death unto life.â€
â€œThese are our Lordâ€™s own words, Francis; you
have heard, you now hear His word. You believe
in the eternal Father, who hath sent Him his own
co-equal co-eternal Son to redeem your soul, at the
price of his precious blood. I need not ask you if
you believe this, my dear Francis ?â€
â€œNo, indeed,â€ he replied; â€œyet I am glad that you
do ask me, that I may answer, â€˜I do believe in Him,
with all my heart, and all my soul, and I do believe
that in his wonderful love he has sent his Son to
â€˜save my soul alive.â€™ â€
â€œ And this is what you want, my Francis,â€”a simple
faith and trust in Him who has done everything for
you, and a distrust of yourself, and of all mere frames
and feelings ; which might shake your trust in him.â€
There was a pause: Francis was deep in thought ;
then he saidâ€™:
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 59
â€œThank you, thank you for what you have said to
me, dear sir; it has set me right, and cleared away my
doubts and fears. By God's grace I will never doubt
again. But one thing distresses me more than I can
express,â€ and his eyes filled with tears. â€œOh, sir,â€ he
added, as his tears trickled down his pale face, â€œI
cannot, I do not sufficiently love Him, I do not
love that gracious Lord, who died for me, as I ought.â€
â€œMy poor child,â€ said his pastor, â€œwho is there
that might not join with you in your complaint? I,
alas! for one. Who is there: that does love Him as
we know and feel we ought to love him? But,
Francis, let the thought which has often brought
comfort to my heart, when I have deplored my dead-
ness and my coldness, comfort you. He has loved
youâ€”you cannot doubt His love for you.â€
The face of Francis brightened. â€œYes,â€ he said ; â€œI
do believe that, worthless, sinful as I am, the Lord
Jesus does love me ; what peace, what joy there is in
believing in His love for me!â€
60 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€œT rejoice, and thank God to hear you say this.
May the Lord shed a deep and lasting sense of his
love in your heart, by his Holy Spirit ; for the deeper
sense you have of his love, the higher your love will
rise to him. Think on those words of our Lord
which I have just read to you; ponder them in your
heart, seeking and praying to realise that present
salvation of which they spe:k; the assurance that
you have passed from death unto life. This is the
very heart of religion, and those who do not receive
these divine words, and seek to realise them, have not
yet entered into the full apprehension of the gospel of
grace. Think of His love, which passeth knowledge,
while you think of those words; and you will find
your love to Him increased and strengthened. â€˜We
love Him,â€™ said the disciple whom Jesus loved,
â€˜because He first loved us.
Mr. Charlton would not now let a day pass without
seeing Francis; and on his next visit he found the
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 61
dying youth still apparently better ; dying he certainly
was, but the seeming revival was only the fitful flame
of an expiring lamp, flashing up for a little while,
before its light went out.
â€œMy father,â€ said the youth, fixing his eyes with a
wistful look on his pastor, as he drew nearâ€”â€œmore
than father to me ; it is such a joy to me to see you
once more. Last night I thought I was going;
perhaps it was owing to the excitement and agitation
which overcame me, from my conversation with you.
I had not known till then that our most gracious
Lord permits, nay, invites us, to believe that we have
now everlasting life ; now, while still in this body of
death. It seemed to me that the fear of death and
the sting of death had been taken away. I had
always felt, till then, a great dread of death ; but as I
prayed, a wonderful peace came over me, till I fell
asleep and dreamed. It seemed to me that I was in
the pleasant green lane where I had so often met my
â€˜dear old friend, Mr. Hepworth, and he was there.
62 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
He came to me where I was sitting on a fallen tree,
which lay on the grass by the wayside, and the Bible
he had sent me before he died was on my knees. He
stood before me, and asked me what the book was.
When he saw the Bible, he smiled, and said, â€˜My
prayer is heard, my words have proved true, that
Christ would have you.â€™ Then he took my hand, and
said, â€˜Rise up. Come thou with me.â€™ He drew me
forward, and I saw that we were standing before a
folding-door, all of gold. I turned to ask where he
was leading me; but my astonishment increased.
Could it be my aged friend whom I saw?â€™ it was he,
and no other, for my hand was still locked in his;
but he was no longer aged. I cannot describe the
wonderful change that had come over him. But I
thought as I looked upon him, of what we read of the
holy martyr, Stephen, that. his face was as the face of
an angel. He pointed to the words, which I then saw
written in letters of light above the door, â€˜Knock,
and it shall be opened unto you ;â€™ then he brought
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 63
me up to the door, and bade me knock. I did as I
was told, joyfully, but with a trembling hand: In-
stantly the golden doors opened, and a flood of light,
so bright that it almost blinded me, streamed forth.
â€œTt was only a dream,â€ added Francis; â€œbut it
seemed so real, that when I awoke I hardly knew
where I was. I could not recover myself, and I
thought that the blaze of light which filled this little
room was the morning sunshine. I lay thinking
quietly of that dream, and I felt so thankful as I
remembered the gracious words of â€˜the Lord Jesus,
â€˜Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.â€™ Oh, sir,
what love there is in that promise! how could we do
otherwise than knock ?â€
â€œDear Francis,â€ said Mr. Charlton, â€œthere is no
love like His. Wonderful as it is that He should
invite us to come to Him, and knock, it is still more
wonderful that He should come to us, even to the
door of our hearts, and knock there for admission.
Let me read to you what he has said,â€ and opening
64 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
the Bible, the pastor turned to the third chapter of
the book of the Revelation, and read at the twentieth
verse : â€œâ€˜Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come unto him, and sup with him, and he with me,â€™
He came to the door of your heart, He came first, and
gave you grace to open it to Him, or you would never
have gone to Him, and knocked at the door, which
he alone can open, and which he has opened to you.â€
â€œAnd you and Mr. Hepworth have led me to the
door, and told me to knock there,â€ said Francis,
And then with a look of deep affection, he raised his
â€œeyes, and fixed them on his pastorâ€™s hand, which lay
upon the open Bible. Mr. Charlton had noticed several
times before that the dying youth seemed to be looking
at his hand, and had withdrawn it, supposing that he
was remarking the contrast between the strong healthy .
hand of his pastor and his own thin delicate fingers.
â€œDear Francis,â€ he said, â€œwhy do you often look
so earnestly upon my hand ?â€
De Pp A
LIGHT AT EVENTIDE.
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 67
â€œ Because,â€ he replied, raising his eyes for a moment
with a wistful look to the face of his pastor, â€œ because
I do so love it,â€ and he suddenly bent down and kissed
the hand which lay on the Bible. â€œOh, my father,â€ he
said, â€œI cannot find words to express the love which I
feel in my heart for you. I can never pay the debt of
gratitude I owe to you; I can only love you and pray
with my whole heart that our blessed Lord will enrich
you with His choicest blessings for all that you have .
been to me, and done for your poor unworthy and
once miserable child. I may call you my father, may
I not ? you will not think it a liberty, or any want of
respect in me, will you, sir?â€
â€œT will not think it a liberty, my â€˜Francis ; I shall
be glad to hear you call me your father, for I love you
as tenderly as if you were my own child. In one
sense, indeed, we must call no man father, that is, in
the highest sense, for the Lord Jesus has told us that
we must call no man our father upon the earth, for one
is our Father, which is in heaven. But on the occa-
68 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
sion when our Lord gave that command, He was
warning his hearers against the exorbitant presump-
tion of the Scribes and Pharisees, who sought to claim
dominion over their faith, and, setting aside the one
and only word of authority, Holy Scripture, demanded
an unquestioning submission to their unscriptural
teaching, and to themselves. as masters and fathers ;
thus in a manner setting aside the teaching of Godâ€™s
word and His supreme authority. But we have no
reason to conclude that the words. then spoken by
the Lord Jesus were intended to forbid the tender
affection toward those true and faithful teachers of his
word which is naturally felt by those who have been
the honoured instruments of bringing them to Christ,
not as claiming dominion over their faith, or their con-
sciences, or as being lords over Godâ€™s: heritage, but
helpers of their joy. We cannot suppose that the
inspired apostle St. Paul was disobeying the com-
mand of the Lord Jesus when, writing to Timothy and
to Titus, he called each of them his own son in the
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL, 69
faith. I think, therefore, my beloved Francis,â€ he
added, with a look of tender affection, smiling as he
spoke, â€œsince I know that you love me, with all the
genuine affection of a child for his father, I must not
forbid you to call me your father. Why, indeed,
should I not respond to your expressions of affection,
my poor suffering child, by telling you how inex-
prÃ©ssibly dear you have become to me? I often recall
to my mind the words of the apostle when I think of
you. Where, indeed, do we find expressions of such
deep and holy affection as in those of the apostle
Paul, when writing out of the abundance of his heart
to the beloved disciples of our Lord at Thessalonica ?
I will read to you that part of his first Epistle to them
in the second chapter. â€˜We were gentle among you
even as a nurse cherisheth her children, so being affec-
tionately desirous of you, we were willing to have im-
parted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also
our own souls, because ye were dear unto us; and
again, â€˜Ye know how we exhorted and comforted and
7O FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
charged every one of you, asa father doth his children,
that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called
you unto His kingdom and glory.â€™â€ *
As Francis listened to those words, with his eyes
fixed upon the mild grave face of the reader, the tears
stole slowly down his pale cheeks. â€œHow kind,â€ he
said, with a trembling voice, â€œto read these beautiful
words to me, and oh what a description! how exact
of yourself in all your tender goodness to me from the
first day that He, the Lord, sent you to me to guide
my feet into the way of peace!â€”sent you to me, so
vile, so wicked as I have been, so egtirely unworthy
of the interest you have taken in me, or even of your
â€œ Shall I see you again to-morrow ?â€ said Francis, as
Mr. Charlton presently rose to take leave of him;
â€œthat is if I am still here. May I hope that you will
come, my father? J have taken up much of your
time, and there may be others whom you may wish to
* 1 Thess, ii. 7, 8, 11, 12.
GOD WOUNDS TO HEAL. 71
visit, though no one could need your coming so much
as I do. But to-morrow may be the last day that I
shall see you on earth. Ishould be quite happy to
go if it were not for the thought of parting with you,
and leaving my dear mother. My poor mother! will
you see her sometimes after I am taken from her?
She will be so very desolate. The neighbours are not
kind to her. They have said cruel things about her,
even to me; but do not believe what you hear, judge
for yourself, and do not forsake her in her grief. She
has always been a good and most tender mother to
me, and now she is almost worn out with nursing me.â€
Mr. Charltonâ€™s hand was clasped in his, and Francis
still held it; he paused for breath a little while, then
he said, â€œ There is only one thing more that I have to
ask you, my father; may I remind you of your
promise to see my dear, dear brother, and to put my
letter yourself into his hands, and will you tell him
how constantly I prayed for him,â€”prayed that I
might meet him, washed in the precious blood of the
72 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
Lord Jesus, and clothed-in the white raimentâ€”prayed
for him to the last.â€
â€œT will do everything that you wish, my dearest
Francis,â€ said his pastor, as, gently and fondly laying
both his hands upon the head of the youthful sufferer,
he commended him to the gracious mercy and _ pro-
tection of the Lord God, and prayed that the Lord
would bless and help him, that the Lord would make
His face to shine upon him, that the Lord would lift
up His countenance upon him, and give him peace
both then and evermore.
Not another word was spoken ; only one last look,
in which their eyes met, was exchanged as Mr.
Charlton pressed the hand of Francis and departed.
â€œDear, dear Francis,â€ he said to himself, as he walked
slowly home. â€œTI feel that we shall not meet again in
this world. But I must not grieve for you.â€
The next morning, however, he rose early, and was
soon after on his way to the chamber of sickness,
though not as yet of death.
he closing Scene.
SAHE morning was more than usually bright
with the genial sunshine of spring, when
Mr. Charlton went forth on his accustomed
walk to the secluded cottage, where he had long
been almost a daily visitor. There was a delight-
ful freshness, almost an elixir of life, in the pure
morning air. In the open fields cowslips were waving
their scented tassels over the springing grass in the
soft western breeze. The hedgerow banks in the
quiet lanes were spread over with the gay embroidery
of violets and anemones and other flowers of the
74. FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
sweet spring season, all hung with dewdrops sparkling
in the slanting sunbeams. Among the branches of
the tall trees the sportive birds were flying in and out,
singing as they flew, as if rejoicing to return to their
green bowers in the renewed foliage. The soft sweet
monotony of the cuckooâ€™s welcome note sounded in
the distance, and high up in the blue unclouded sky
the air was ringing with the exquisite song of the lark.
Freshness and fragrance seemed to breathe from
everything around. Life was everywhereâ€”the bright
beautiful life of spring. But the anxious pastor
scarcely noted anything. He could not choose but
feel the soothing influence of that spring morning, the
freshness and the loveliness of the delicious weather ;
but his thoughts were with the dying youth who had
become so endeared to him. Was he still alive, still
waiting to see him once more, to greet him with that
look of yearning affection in his large intelligent eyes,
to speak to him with that low sweet voice, or should
he find only the breathless corpse ?
THE CLOSING SCENE. 75
Francis zwas still alive, the living spirit still lingered
in its fragile tenement. As Mr. Charlton, however,
entered the little upper chamber, he was struck with
the contrast, as it were, almost between life and death,
the freshness and sunshine of life in the open air with-
out, and the aspect of death within; the close atmo-
sphere, the hushed stillness, the gloom of the chamber,
the curtain drawn over the window, the rushlight
which had burnt through the night flickering in its
tarnished candlestick, the phial of medicine and the
cup upon the table near the bed. One cheering sight,
however, met his eyesâ€”the Holy Bible, Mr. Hepworthâ€™s
parting gift, and a small volume of hymns, which he
himself had given to Francis, lay open. He bent
down to see what Francis had been reading, it was
Montgomeryâ€™s beautiful hymn:
â€˜*For ever with the Lord,
Amen, so let it be!
Life from the dead is in that word,
76 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
â€˜*Here, in the body pent,
' Absent-from him I roam,
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent,
A dayâ€™s march nearer home.
â€˜*My fatherâ€™s house on high,
Home of my soul, how near
At times to faithâ€™s foreseeing eye,
Thy golden gates appeat !
â€œâ€˜Ah then my spirit faints
To reach the land I love,
The bright inheritance of saints,
â€œ This is the hymn, then, that he has been last read-
ing,â€ said Mr. Charlton, â€œthese are the thoughts in
which he has learnt to delight,â€ and he turned to look
upon the sleeping youth.
On the old sofa, which had been brought up from
the room below, lay the languid form of Francis. He
had been very restless during the night, and his
mother, at his request, had removed him from his bed
to the sofa, and covered him up with an: old military
cloak that had been his brotherâ€™s. Mr. Charlton had
THE CLOSING SCENE. 7
found the door partly open, as his mother had left it,
when she quitted the room for a short time, after
watching Francis till he slept; and entering with
noiseless footsteps, he now stood there gazing upon
the quiet sleeper, and feeling that he was probably
looking upon him for the last time. His sleep was as
untroubled as: that of an infant in its motherâ€™s arms;
a sweet expression of purity and peace seemed
spread over his whole countenance, over the calm clear
forehead, the closed eyelids, and the delicately-shaped
and partly-opened lips. One slender hand was under
the pale cheek, which was faintly crimsoned with the
â€œSo He giveth His beloved sleep,â€ said the pastor
to himself. As he did so he called to mind all the
mercy and love of his heavenly Father to the once
wayward miserable youth, the. marvellous change
which that gracious God had wrought within him by
His Holy Spirit, and His living word; and how his
sins had been blottedâ€™ out in the blood of the Lord
73 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
Jesusâ€”that precious blood which cleanseth from all
sinâ€”and the once polluted soul clothed in His
spotless righteousness, His thoughts were turned to
prayer and praise. He sank upon his knees and
poured out his heart before God in adoration and
He was still kneeling when Francis awoke, and saw
at a glance who was beside him. His face at once
lighted up with smiles. â€œ How gracious the Lord has
been,â€ he said, softly, â€œto give me that sweet refresh-
ing sleep and to bless my waking eyes with the sight
of you, my father, once more before I am called to
go hence. Though I feel better and stronger now, I
know it is only for a little while; perhaps,â€ he added,
meckly, â€œto cheer my last hour with your presence.
You will not grieve for me when I am gone,â€ he said,
as he saw his beloved pastor turn aside wiping the
tears from his eyes.
â€œ Dearest Francis,â€ said the visitor, â€œmy tears are
not tears of sorrow, though I must grieve to part with
THE CLOSING SCENE. 79
you for a time ; they are tears of thankfulness and joy,
which rise up from my full heart as I think of the love
of Him who has redeemed you by His precious blood,
and prepared you for His glorious presence. I think
with you, my Francis, that He will now come soon
and call for you.â€
â€œFor meâ€”yes even for me, what grace, what mercy
for me, so young in years and yet so old in sin as I
was, when He sent you to me and made you so patient
with me, even when I could not bear to see you, and
looked upon you almost as coming to torment me in
my misery. But, blessed be His name, I can now say,
what I believe from my heart, that this is a faithful
saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am
There was a pause, for Mr. Charlton had begged
him not to speak again for a time, deeming the exer-
tion would be too much for him. Francis, however,
was the first to break the silence. He looked earnestly.
80 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
at Mr. Charlton, and said, â€œYour words just now
reminded me that I fell asleep thinking of those same
promises; and during my last sweet sleep, a soft, clear
voice seemed to speak distinctly in my ear. â€˜The
Master is come, and calleth for thee, it said; and I
thought that I was in the act of rising up to obey the
gracious message and seek His presence when I
awoke; and you; you also, feel as I do,â€ he added,
with a grave gentleness, â€œthat' the call will come very
â€œWhenever it may come, my Francis, I believe it
will be to meet Him whose you now are.â€
Mr. Charlton had withdrawn the curtain from the
window, and the cheering: sunshine lighted up the
â€œMight I not breathe the sweet morning air? I am
sure it would revive me.â€™
â€œYou are faint, my dear Francis, and.the west wind
is so soft this morning, that â€˜think you may safely
breathe it,â€ said Mr. Charlton,.as he threw open the
THE CLOSING SCENE. 81
casement, and gently raised the feeble, languid youth
upon his pillows, drawing the old military cloak more
closely round him. Francis seemed revived by the
soft, refreshing breeze and the warm sunshine. His
face became animated as he looked out, with a yearn-
ing gaze, over the green meadows and the hedge of
hawthorn with its sweet white blossoms, bordering the
â€œHow beautiful it all looks!â€ he said, with almost
the delight of his boyish days; â€œhow charming it all
is! and the birdsâ€”listen, dear fatherâ€”that is the
linnetsâ€™ song : they are singing in the old apple-tree
in the-garden. I never saw it so laden with lovely
blossoms. Oh, how beautiful it allis!â€ But with a
deep sigh he looked down ; the slight flush which had
tinted his face was gone, and with it all the bright
animation had passed away. His head sank drooping
on his chest, and he was falling ; but his pastorâ€™s arm
was instantly round him, tenderly supporting his
slight frame. He gasped for breath, and his eyes
82 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
were closed. After a few minutes, the gasping ceased,
but he was so motionless, that Mr. Charlton thought
that his spirit had departed: again, however, he
revived. He raised his head, and a faint but beautiful
smile brightened his pale face as he looked up at his
pastor. Mr. Charlton laid him gently on the sofa, and
sat down beside him, taking his cold hand in his.
Francis lay with his eyes fixed steadily but affec-
tionately on his friendâ€™s face.
â€œWhat is it, my dearest Francis ?â€
In almost a whisper he said, â€œThe Bibleâ€”would
Mr. Charlton opened the inspired volume, and
remembered the melancholy words of a dying friend
of his, whom he attended a few years before. He
was sitting at an open window, and as he looked out
on his beautiful garden, and saw the trees, and the
flowers in the first glory of their new life, he said,
â€œ?Tis.sad to leave all this at such a season, and to go
down to the dark grave.â€ It was but a temporary
THE CLOSING SCENE. 83
sadness, for his friend departed not long after, his
heart filled with peace and joy, with the bright pro-
spect of eternal life in the presence of his glorious
Redeemer gladdening his last hours. The minister
felt, however, that some such thoughts might have
brought a passing shadow over the mind of Francis
after he had looked out over the bright fresh prospect
on that sweet spring morning.
He was probably mistaken: but under this im-
pression he read of the new heaven, and the new earth,
and a few more verses from the two last chapters of
the book of the Revelation: only a fewâ€”for he saw,
as once or twice he looked up, that a change had
come over the face of the youth, more beloved than
ever by him at that sad hour; a change which he
knew to be the shadow of coming death. He read
fewer verses than he had intended, for he feared that
Francis was becoming too insensible to hear him.
He drew nearer to the dying youth; he bent down
close to him. There was now an abstracted expression
84 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
on the drawn features, and yet a calm sweetness
which told of perfect peace within.
â€œDo you hear me as I read to you, my Francis >â€
No reply was given till the question was again asked,
with a voice as low, but more distinctly clear and
articulate; and then, though his eyes were open, the
dying youth spoke as one who had awoke up to a full
â€œT heard, but not all,â€ he replied. â€œThank you,
thank you, my own dear father! Blessed be the Lord
for His grace and loveâ€”I am so very happy. May I
hold your hand in mine till Iam gone? I shall love
to feel that I am with you to the last.â€ .
There was now no abstracted look on his coun-
tenance, but Francis lay with the full gaze of his mild
intelligent eyes fixed on the face of his pastor. He
evidently heard every word, as Mr. Charlton said,
â€œYou are just about to enter the heavenly country,
the betterâ€”far betterâ€”land. There will be no more
death, neither sorrow; there will be no night there!
THE CLOSING SCENE, &5
you will behold there the pure river of the water of
life; you will behold the tree of life; and you will
But here he paused ; for the dying youth, suddenly
looking upward, interrupted, but continued, the sen-
tence, exclaiming in a distinct and joyful voice,â€”
â€œAnd Christ!â€™ Even as the expiring flame of
a lamp sometimes flashes up with sudden brightness,
just before it goes out in darkness, so the living spirit
of this dying youth, with the last effort of its expiring
breath, sounded forth the name, which, to the redeemed
and pardoned sinner, is above every nameâ€”the name
of Christ !
It was indeed the last word on the now breathless
lips. There had been a gentle pressure of the hand,
which was locked in that of his minister's; but the
fingers relaxed their graspâ€”Francis had fallen asleep
in Jesus !
Rm OT many days after the death of Francis,
Â¥ Mr. Charlton stood at the gates of the
Knightsbridge Barracks, inquiring for Philip
Morton, the brother of his departed friend. The
tall sentinel to whom he spoke told him that he
thought he would be found in one of the rooms which
he named, and to which he directed him. Mr. Charlton
ascended the stairs, and was soon in a large upper
room, where two or three soldiers, then off duty, were
lounging about. On his asking one of them, at an
open window, for Philip Morton, he opened a door
PRAYER ANSWERED. 87
in one side of the room. A large company of
soldiers, fine-looking men, in their not very tidy un-
dress, also off duty at the time, were sitting round
several small tables, playing with packs of very dirty
cards. They looked up, doubtless astonished at the
sight of an unknown clergyman standing in the open
doorway of their common room. Philip Morton, how-
ever, was not there. His name had been called out
in vain. Mr. Charlton went away to seek him else-
where in the barracks. But as he passed down the
stairs a young man in full uniform was coming up,
and seeing the clergyman, stopped on the landing,
and stood there waiting to accost him with the usual
military salute, lifting his hand with the palm outward
to his forehead. He was struck with the appearance
of the young soldier: his easy, graceful carriage, his
handsome face, for he was fair, with large blue eyes,
and light-brown curling hair : very tall, and with a
well-set, manly figure. His manners were pleasing
88 FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
And this was the brother of Francis. This fine-
looking, handsome young fellow, in full, bright health,
formed a striking contrast to the slight, drooping, pallid
youth whom he had watched over till his immortal and
redeemed spirit had been delivered from the bondage
of the corruptible body of death and sin, and entered
into the glorious rest of the children of God. This was
the profligate, wicked young man, whose bad example,
and whose infamous books had been well nigh the
ruin of his youthful brotherâ€™s soul.
Philip had heard of the death of his brother Francis,
and he looked grave and sorrowful. Mr. Charlton
put the letter into his hand, and said a few words to
him about his brotherâ€™s love to him, and his brotherâ€™s
prayers for him. He waited to see if Philip would
open the letter in his presence and read itâ€”and ri
did so. He had not read more than the first page,
when he appeared much. agitated, and the tears filled
his eyes ; but soon after, the colour rose to his face
till it became crimson, then hastily folding the pages,
â€˜ PRAVER ANSWERED. 89
he put the letter, without finishing it, into his breast
pocket. He stood for a little while silent and confused.
Then he looked up, and said in a solemn voice, and
put on a look of astonishment :
â€œ Sir, there must be some mistake. I did not give
those books to Francis. How he got them, Iâ€™m sure
I cannot tell; but I did not give them to him. Ihope
you will believe me, sir.â€
Mr. Charlton did not believe him ; he only wondered
at the cool assurance with which the lie was told.
â€œT fear, sir,â€ added the soldier, â€œI must leave you ;
I am not off duty at present, as you may see from my
uniform. I must be on guard in a few minutes.â€
He raised his hand again respectfully with the
salute. But Mr. Charlton took his hand, as he lowered
it, and said gravely, â€œA time may come, Philip, when
you may wish to see me. Then remember that, for
the sake of Francis, and for your own sake, you will
find in me a true and faithful friend. Keep that
letter. I pray from my heart that you may be
go FOUND AT EVENTIDE.
brought, as he who wrote it was, to seek and find
pardon for all your sins, and peace and salvation to
your soul, at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.â€
That time did come, after many years of sin and
wretchedness, of disgrace and crime. It is a strange
story, and alas! it is all true. But the mercy and
grace of God, who is in Christ reconciling sinners Â°
unto Himself, was marvellously evidenced in his case.
The prayers of the younger brother for the reckless,
worthless prodigal and infidel were at last answered.
Long years passed away, long years after the
death of Francisâ€”years in which the soul of his
wicked brother sank deeper and deeper in iniquityâ€”
before those hopes were realised and those prayers
were answered. His career of crime and disgrace
commenced some months after the disregarded letter
of his brother was given him by Mr. Charlton. After
many years Philip returned to England from trans-
portation. He was no longer the fine handsome
young man he had beenâ€”Mr. Chariton would scarcely
have known himâ€”his face was pale and wrinkled, and
PRAYER ANSWERED. g!I
his once erect figure bent and wasted. He was
broken down in health and spirits; with much
difficulty he had sought out and found his brotherâ€™s
friend ; he had come back, however, a repentant and
reformed man. Mr. Charlton, at his request, called
on a gentleman who had been a magistrate in
Australia, and Mr. W. gave a most satisfactory
account of Philip Morton. He had been in every
respect so well-conducted and trustworthy, that a free
pardon had been granted to him. After seeking to
obtain employment in this country he returned to
Australia, by the advice of his friends. He had been
in the police force there, and he went back, intending
to enter again into the same service. He did not
long survive his return. Theclergyman who attended
him in his last hours wrote, at his urgent request, to
Mr. Charlton, whom he regarded as his dearest friend
on earth, and who had cause to rejoice, from the
information he received, that Philip had become,
before his death, not only a reformed but a converted
man. Some account may be published before long
of the remarkable incidents in the life of the brother
of Francis Morton.
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of the Introduction of Christianity into South Africa. Engravings.
Feap. 8vo. 3s., boards,
FRANCES LESLIE; or, The Prayer Divinely Taught.
By Miss BickersTeTH. Fcap, 8vo. 2s. 6Â¢., boards.
BIBLE SKETCHES AND THEIR TEACHINGS. By
Rey. S. G, GREEN, B.A. First and Second Series. 25. 64, boards.
THE BAND OF CHRISTIAN GRACES. By JosEru
THOMPSON, D.D. Feap. 8vo. 2s. 6Â¢., boards.
RELIGION IN DAILY LIFE. By Rev. E. Garserr,
Feap. 8vo. 2s. 6d., boards,
- SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF
LORD HADDO, late Earl of Aberdeen, By ALEXANDER
DuFF, D.D, Royal r6mo. Is. 6Â¢., boards.
DROPS FROM THE BROOK BY THE WAY. A
Text and Prayer for every Day in the Year. Fcap. 8vo. 2s., boards,
OUR EARTHLY. HOUSE AND ITS BUILDER ; or,
The Wisdom of God displayed in the Body of Man, With Nume-
rous Engravings. Fcap. 8vo. 2s., boards.
THE ReELicious TRacT SOCIEFY, 56 PATERNOSTER Row, AND
164, PICCADILLY. ee
Ae Pet as -
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S84 Arie Spgs amatoone
seeker BA ep mae
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DISSEMINATION IEID 'E20100129_AAAAAM' PACKAGE 'UF00026273_00001' INGEST_TIME '2010-01-28T22:06:03-05:00'
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT 'UF' PROJECT 'UFDC'
DISSEMINATION_REQUEST NAME 'disseminate request placed' TIME '2013-12-09T18:11:19-05:00' NOTE 'request id: 300369; Dissemination from Lois and also Judy Russel see RT# 21871' AGENT 'Stephen'
finished' '2013-12-10T16:57:46-05:00' '' 'SYSTEM'
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MESSAGE_DIGEST ALGORITHM 'MD5' 8d3e9ad73e4100752b5d7f537d1d3576
EVENT '2012-05-18T04:59:16-04:00' OUTCOME 'success'
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