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off towards a hill, whither he was accustomed to resort, when disposed for a lounge or a quiet smoke. Jim Noble, perceiving that his company was not desired, quietly took the hint, and walked off in another direction. Harry Baynham went away to think.
That journey apart to think was the commencement of better days with the young man.
Conviction of sin had taken hold upon him, and as he sat alone on the hill-top, all unconscious of the dew and night-damp, he pondered this vital question within his soul : “What must I do to be saved ?” The earnest wayside sower of Gospel seed had taken hold of his soul, and he saw himself guilty before God. Yet he could not see the way of pardon. And he sat and ruminated, until the last shadows of twilight had disappeared, when, with his heavy burden still resting on his soul, he returned to his home.
Widow Baynham was not long in discovering that something unusual ailed her son. His new sobriety and quietness of demeanour, his fits of abstractedness, and his evident disinclination to go with Jim Noble, and others of that class, to the Brown Cow, told the tale. Yet he kept his thoughts secret. It seemed as if he could not break down the barrier of reserve and silence, and tell another of the conflict which was going on in his own soul between light and darkness.
Just about this time, in God's good providence, better employment was offered to Harry Baynham in Devonshire. With an earnest desire to get away from the temptations of Combe Hadley, he accepted it, only stipulating that his mother should keep her old home, and promising that he would faithfully remit part of his wages regularly toward her support. Widow Baynham was very sorry to part with her son, but recognising in the step a probability of spiritual and temporal good, consented at last, with many prayers and tears, on Harry's behalf.
So to Devonshire Harry went, and ere long began to prosper exceedingly in his temporal affairs. His willingness, bodily strength, and handiness in work, soon made him a favourite with the principals of the firm for which he laboured. But, better than all, he found Christ. Immediately on setting foot in his new home he made inquiries for a place of worship, and on hearing of an evangelical preacher, bent his steps on the first night of service towards the church. And ere long the seeking sinner found the seeking Saviour.
Harry Baynham could rejoice in the knowledge that he was saved. From that day a serener light fell upon his path, and his conscience rejoiced in the possession of that sweet peace which is the fruit of justifying faith.
But his lack of education promised to be a great stumbling-block in his way. With the first dawning of grace came the desire to be able to read the Bible for himself, and the hope that he might, at some time or other, be made the instrument of usefulness to others. But he had no education. He could spell out a few easy words, it was true, but not quickly or easily enough to make the reading of a chapter in the Bible other than a tremendous task. It was this, partly, which caused his long conflict with error, doubt, and darkness of soul. Could he have read for himself the precious promises and invitations of God to poor sinners, repenting and seeking for pardon, he would have perceived the way of salvation much sooner, most probably. As it was, the ministrations of the preacher under whom he sat were simple and full of gospel truth, so that, as I said, he was led, before long, into the fulness of the liberty of the gospel of Christ.
But now, evening after evening, Harry studied his Testament, and a well-worn school reading-book which he bought at a secondhand bookstall. It was wearisome work without a teacher, but still the young man managed to improve in his reading sufficiently to follow the public reading of God's Word, and that in itself was a great gain to him, as well as a great help to his growth in grace.
Ever industrious and frugal, he saved money. Regularly, too, month by month, he remitted a portion of his wages home to his mother, according to his promise, and then all beyond the cost of bare necessaries was saved-saved, in order to lift himself in the social scale, and so acquire means of usefulness.
In course of time he had saved enough to carry him to America, and having heard that land spoken of as a land of Goshen for industrious, sober young men, he determined to seek his fortune there. It was an effort to break loose from home ties in Combe Hadley, and his mother clung to him with all the greater fondness, because of the increased thoughtfulness and kindness manifested by him, but nothing could change his purpose. Leaving a sister to watch over and reside with his mother, and undertaking to send regularly a certain sum towards her support, he sailed for America.
Harry reached America in safety, and obtained employment in a store in New York before long. Here his business qualities displayed themselves, although he was only filling the humble capacity of porter, and the proprietor of the store recommended him to seek education for himself. Harry Baynham's own wishes coincided with this advice, so in the first winter of his residence in New York he entered himself as a student at some evening classes opened there for young men.
And where there is a strong determination and a willing mind, as in this case, what wonders may not be achieved! In course of time, with the aid of tuition and private study, Harry Baynham was advanced from this post to one of greater importance under the firm. But, best of all, he was united with the Lord's people connected with the Church of Christ, and laboured zealously as a Sunday-school teacher all the time that he was endeavouring to better his temporal lot. And no temptations inducements ere sufficient to draw him away from what he considered his noblest avocation—the labour in the Sunday-school.
From this time, Harry Baynhan's career was a steadily brightening one. “ Excelsior” seemed to have been his
brought with Him life and light, and joy, because of the carelessness of the owner of the heart?
Christ says of Himself, “ Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He is ready to come in; He is waiting to gain admittance and to fill the heart, now heavy and sad because of sin, with peace and happiness. But, if we would have Him enter, if we would taste His love, there is something for us to do. Oh yes; we must open the door. He will not break it down. Christ never forces Himself into the heart that is closed against Him. He invites us to admit Him; He appeals to us; He even pleads with us to receive Him ; but we must open the door before He will enter.
Think of this, dear reader, if you have not yet admitted Christ. He is waiting for you to do so. He is knocking at the door of your heart; how long will you let Him stand without? Why not open your heart and admit Him at once?
“ Admit Him, for the human breast
Ne'er entertained so kind a guest ;
With whom He condescends to dwell." Is your heart stained and tainted by sin ? Admit the Saviour. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin. Are you longing to find the way to God? Are you deploring the deceitfulness of your heart? Do you feel that your soul is dead and cold towards God: dead in trespasses and sins ? Open the door of your heart to Jesus, and He who has said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” will enter in, and give you life and peace and joy. And oh! remember this, that as surely as you cannot by any means save yourself from the punishment that your sins deserve, so sure it is that, without an effort on your part, you never will be saved. Christ has died to save you, but it remains with you to accept the salvation offered. Pray, then, that the Holy Spirit may be given to you to enable you to lay hold on the hope set before you, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
G. H. S.
sower knows not which shall prosper? And in the day when God's jewels are numbered up, it will doubtless be seen that many a stray word, many a forgotten tract, has been the means of leading some soul, or souls, to Jesus. And this small service is in the power of every Christian. We all may render it, if we will. It only needs the constant prayerful looking for opportunities, combined with the faithful improvement of those opportunities, in order that many more, like Harry Baynham, may be rescued from the paths of sin and shame, to bless the world.
E. R. P.
'Tis always so: the sharpest pain,