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Thirdly: let it be known that the immediate, positive results of Sabbath-school instruction, are incalculable! Scores, yea hundreds, have, during their connection with them, been soundly converted to G.o.d.
Hundreds and thousands date their conversion from the instructions and admonitions received at those n.o.ble inst.i.tutions; and not a few of the most devoted missionaries, ill.u.s.trious divines, laborious commentators, and translators of the Bible, and most popular preachers of the age, have been among those very persons who owed--and have rejoiced to own that they owed--their conversion to Sabbath-school instrumentality.
I cannot take leave of the reader, without adverting for a moment to an objection which may be raised with reference to the subjects of the preceding narrative.
Some persons, perhaps, may be ready to say, that in all probability these brothers would have become what they are, had they never seen a Sabbath-school. To this objection I answer: That such a position would prove fatal to all instrumental means of salvation. G.o.d could, undoubtedly, save man without any instrumentality whatever. He _could_, we say, do this; but such is not G.o.d's method of procedure; and we are therefore justified in believing, that to the various instrumentalities in operation is the salvation of man attributable: and if so, why should we deny that G.o.d can and does bless the labors of Sabbath-school teachers, and, through their instrumentality, render Sabbath-schools channels of salvation to many?
I will only add,--and I rejoice that I am able to do so,--that each of the brothers is now actively engaged in the work of G.o.d. James is the superintendent and manager of a Wesleyan Sunday-school; and in point of perseverance, and constancy in the prosecution of duty, he is quite a pattern. Thomas and George are very acceptable local preachers in the Wesleyan connection. May they ever be zealous in every good work, and have grace to continue faithful unto the end.
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalm cxxvi, 6.
"Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days."
Eccles. xi, 1.
The following letter has been put into the writer's hands since the preceding pages were in the press, and will be read with deep interest, as containing an account of the death of one of the teachers of T---- street school, from the pen of her brother, James's colleague:--
"My beloved sister entered into the joy of her Lord about half-past twelve this morning. I sat up in company with Mrs. B. and another friend--it was a delightful night, there was a calm and cloudless sky, and the full moon shone in at the window in spite of the blind and rush-light. I rose at last, and extinguished it, and drew up the blind; it was a beautiful and a solemn sight! I shall never forget it. Jessy found it hard work to breathe, and at times, I almost indulged a wish that she might be speedily released. But I did not dare to pray for life or death; 'Thy will be done,' was my motto, and all was well. Seeing her eyes often turned upward, I spoke, and pointed upward,
'Yonder's your house and portion fair;'
she hesitated a moment, and then added,--'M--y tr--easure--and--my HEART are there.'
"At another time, observing her in great pain for the want of breath, and at the same time moving her lips in silent prayer or praise, I said,--'As thy day, so shall thy strength be,' She replied with feeling, 'Yes.' At another time we understood her to say 'Jesus,' with something like energy in her voice; but whether in prayer or praise we could not decide, as the voice was thick, and rather indistinct, although loud, and many words could not be understood because of this.
"The last word I caught was 'Glory,' and a very appropriate one it was to bid adieu to this lower world, and enter that which is above. I attempted to move her head a little, in order to let her see the beautiful moon once more, as it shone on every part of her, except just the forehead and eye; when she said, 'Don't bring me back from heaven,' and when we could not understand her words, we were convinced by the tone of her voice that pleasure and joy reigned within. Her hands had been for some time down by her sides; but a few minutes before death she raised them gently up, and clasping them together, seemed by her motions to commend her soul to Jesus. O! I shall never forget that scene: there lay the dying saint before my face,--it was the solemn, still hour of midnight--the calm serene without beautifully harmonized with the scene within. The virgin was ready, with her lamp trimmed, and the cry came, 'Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet him,' The summons was obeyed, and the faithful servant entered into the joy of her Lord.
"As regards my own feelings, I was without agitation; and that sweet, sweet peace, which is the peculiar property of the people of G.o.d, kept my heart and mind: but when the spirit had fled I felt a little excitement, and could have disturbed the house by shouting her dying word, Glory!
"She selected a verse for the funeral sermon; it is the last in the seventh of Revelation: 'For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and G.o.d shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'"