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CONVERSION AND PERSECUTION OF A
The following interesting and affecting narrative was forwarded to the Society, by the Rev. C. W. H. Pauli at different periods of the present year. It illustrates the power of Divine
mercy, both in the conversion of the heart and in supporting it under the heaviest trials. It is not in days of peace that the courage of the soldier is proved; but in conflict and war. It is not in calm and sunshine that the strength of the foundation is tried; but when the storm arises, and the whirlwind raves, and the torrents descend. Then is it seen whether the house be builded on a rock or on the sand.
In a town in Holland, where Mr. Pauli was labouring as a missionary some time back, he had long disputations with a respectable Jew, who was well acquainted with the Old Testament. This Jew has an only son, about twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, to whom he communicated many of the arguments which he had heard respecting our Lord Jesus Christ.
“ His son was thereby excited to read many of the prophecies, and his mind became unsettled. He sought the acquaintance of some pious Christians, who urged him to read the Word of God and to pray. When convictions became at times too strong, his struggling against them became stronger still, till the power of truth, though not changing his heart, overpowered the is accounted for by supposing that the writer of the book of Samuel omitted to reckon the standing army of 288,000 men, also 12,000 men attached to the princes of the tribes.
scruples of his understanding, and he felt compelled to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah. But, for fear of his father, he carefully concealed his convictions.
“But mark the providence of our blessed Saviour," writes Mr. Pauli. “ In the same place lived a near relation of that young man, who has three children, the eldest of whom is a young weakly girl, apparently of the age of fourteen, but, in fact, she is eighteen years old. This girl, Sarah by name, oftentimes visited a neighbour, a pious Christian woman. One day, Sarah found a letter upon the table, in which a friend of that Christian woman communicated the death of a pious Christian. Two expressions in that letter, eternity, and everlasting condemnation, or ever. lasting felicity in the sight of God, sunk deeply into the mind of Sarah. Coming home, she tried all in her power, but in vain, to get rid of the thought, if she should be lost to all eternity! It haunted her night and day, she could not close her eyes night after night. Her mind was filled with thinking of what she had read in that letter. She became greatly distressed. Shall I tell my neighbour what so much distresses me? she thought. But how can she help me ? she replied to herself. At last she told the neighbour what was going on within her. O, said that pious woman, my dear Sarah, all people feel at first more or less so, when they are setting out heavenward. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, and you must apply in earnest prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, and you will become happy to all eternity, for he has borne your sins, and he has saved you, as he has saved me, from death, hell, and condemnation,
“ Sarah became exceedingly alarmed at the thought of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. In haste she left her neighbour's house, and ran home. Her father had all along noticed the deep dejection of his daughter, and had oftentimes prohibited her from going to this Christian woman; but now he gave her a strict injunction by no means to go again to this Christian,' who would ensnare her soul, he said, into hell. Sarah felt, however, an irresistible temptation to transgress this injunction; and to the neighbour she went again. The New Testament, with the Old, was brought out. Sarah began to read the New Testament, and the more she read in it, the more her soul became enraptured with its contents. For some time she remained ignorant that her soul was filled with love to the blessed Jesus, who first loved her, and drew her with the cords of his mercy
to the atoning fountain of his precious blood; but a slight sign of an approaching storm soon drew her out of her ignorance.
“Her father, hearing that she had again transgressed his orders, became very austere towards her. However, it now became a matter utterly impossible for her to withstand the spending every moment she could spare with the neighbour.' This pious and devoted woman prayed with Sarah ardently to the blessed Jesus, and his life was poured out in streams into her soul. She began to wrestle, as once her father Jacob did, with the angel of the everlasting covenant; and through his grace she prevailed. Jesus blessed this daughter of Abraham with saving faith, yea, which was more, with the assurance of faith in his blood and righteousne
Sarah could now
no longer withstand the wish to have communion with the saints; she attended a prayermeeting of a few pious Christians, in her native place. Her father heard of it, and the domestic sky became dark with thunder clouds. Sarah was severely punished, and for several days deprived of food. 'Father,' said the
afflicted girl, you may deprive me of food, but the Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah, he somehow gives me strength without food; so as you see, I can do for you and my little brother and sister all the housework; for he gives me heavenly food, of which, alas ! you know nothing ; but I pray for you, my dear father, that, also, your eyes may be opened. I thank God that he counts me worthy of so much suffering for his holy name's sake. The more you beat me the more I shall
you.' “Her father, alas! became more and more hardened, and treated poor little Sarah with the
test severity. Thus matters went on for eight months.
“One evening, going home from a prayermeeting, she met her cousin, the young Jew mentioned above. He said, Sarah, what do I hear about you? what have you to do with these Christians ? if you tell me candidly what is going on, you may rely on me, I shall not betray you. “Ah,' she replied, “I do not trust you.' After some little parley, she told him the history of her conversion. In return, he told her that, also, he himself was a secret believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and added, we cannot remain longer in this our native place, we must go to Mr. Pauli, in Amsterdam, who will receive us with love and affection ; I have heard him preach many a time, when I was with our cousin, who you well know
has been baptized with his whole household, by this Mr. Pauli.' Sarah replied, “we must ask the opinion of "the neighbour," and the other good Christians in the place.' Accordingly, the following day, they met a few pious Christians in “the neighbour's' house, and both these children of Abraham were advised to set out for Amsterdam. This advice was given them after much prayer and supplication.
« Sarah and her cousin arrived here in Amsterdam, the 26th of January. I foretold her that great sufferings were awaiting her, and that her faith would be tried as in a crucible. I read and prayed with both of them, and after that, I made them write immediately to their parents, to inform them where they were ; viz., in the house of a believing relative here, who, in the ardent loye he bears the Lord Jesus Christ, had taken them on their arrival into his dwelling. The letters being written, I sent them immediately to our tract distributor in Rotterdam, who had to bring them to M—, and inquire whether what they both had related to me was according to truth? Sarah's letter to her father was full of the most affectionate love; she related to him the history of her conversion, and closing, she added, “You will think “the neighbour” has done this. O, no! my father, the blessed and Holy Jesus has done this, he has revealed himself to my soul.'
“ The tract distributor went to the parents. The father of the girl read the letter of his daughter, and he began crying and lamenting most bitterly. After a little while, he fell into a most violent passion of rage, and exclaimed: I shall have her back !' The father of the young man did not appear to take the departure of his