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Jews at Jerusalem, there seemed to be double urgency. On the one hand we had to wipe off the reproach whieh they attached to the name of Christian, because those bearing it had uniformly treated them with contempt and scorn and cruelty ; on the other hand, by such proofs of love we could gain access to their houses and their hearts, and tell them, in the depth of their poverty, of the “ unsearchable riches of Christ,” of Him who “though he was rich, yet for their sakes became poor, that they through his poverty might be made rich."
NATHAN, OR THE POWER OF LOVE AND
(Concluded from page 84.) Nathan passed another week in prison, though he was now better accommodated. These days were spent in thanksgiving and praise to the Lord his God, who had not only delivered his soul, but had also freed him from temporal bonds, by making a full manifestation of his innocence; thus showing himself to Nathan, as to his people of old, a very present help in time of need.
After the murderer of Eleazer had fully confessed his crime, Nathan was set at liberty, and received the most heartfelt sympathy of the inhabitants of the town. Nathan repeatedly said, “The sympathy expressed in my behalf, and the joy evinced at my restoration to liberty, moves me greatly; but I am not an object of compassion, for by my imprisonment I have lost but little, whereas, my gain is great beyond expression."
"This assertion was incomprehensible to many, but Nathan soon explained his mysterious words by
his actions. He inquired for a pious Evangelical Clergyman, and as he was advised to go to the Rev. Mr. B., he made him acquainted with the change which had taken place in his views during his imprisonment; he told him how he had been brought to faith in Christ; and how while suffering under the pressure of temporary bonds, he had attained to the liberty of the children of God. He earnestly besought the Clergyman to baptize him, and also to admit him to the Lord's Supper.
Mr. B. heard Nathan's account with much astonishment; it was so simple, so evidently bore in itself the stamp of sincerity, that he could not doubt the truth of all that he communicated. It also appeared to Mr. B. very much in Nathan's favour, that during his protracted imprisonment, he had not solicited the visit of any spiritual teacher to whom he could declare his conversion, with a view of thereby obtaining some mitigation of his punishment; while, immediately on experiencing so remarkable a proof of the special providence and intervention of God in his favour, he should declare his desire to own himself a true Israelite and a disciple of Jesus. He however, had to undergo a rigid examination of his profession and belief.
Nathan first read the New Testament under the most unfavourable circumstances; he had been falsely accused and imprisoned by professing Christians, but the Holy Spirit so blessed the reading of the sacred volume to his soul, that he was converted from the error of his ways, and a few weeks after his release from imprisonment we find him in the church in the town of ; where he made a public avowal of his faith in Jesus as the Messiah. He was then dedicated
by the sacred rite of baptism to the service of the Lord in whom he believed, and afterwards, with heartfelt emotion, he received the holy communion of the body and blood of Christ.
We will now leave Nathan, who took the baptismal name of Christopher, and inquire how the real murderer was discovered.
While Nathan lay in prison, the murderer of Eleazer lived under a feigned name, as a partner in the inn kept by his father-in-law at P., and none suspected that the lively young host was a criminal. Sometimes persons who frequented the house spoke of the murder, and some incidental words which excited suspicion, escaped from the lips of the assassin ; yet no one had the slightest idea of charging him with the crime. One day, two travellers turned into the inn, and in the presence Member of the Senate of the town of P. discussed the circumstances of the murder, the imprisonment of Nathan, and the suspicion which was attached to the son of the innkeeper at M., who had disappeared on the same night. At this moment the subject of their conversation entered the room, and waited on some other guests.
One of the strangers said, in a joking tone of voice, but loudly and distinctly, “ Our worthy young host exactly answers the description of the young man on whom the suspicion of the murder rests.'' these words he turned deadly pale, trembled, and was about to speak, but faltered! All this was carefully noticed by the observant magistrate. He soon withdrew, and informed his colleagues of what had passed. They resolved to watch the young man unobserved, till the evening, and then to put him under arrest. This was accordingly done.
Not so quickly, however, did the accused confess
his crime. For a long time every attempt to call forth the truth was in vain. In the course of his examination, however, he entangled himself more and more by his innumerable contradictions. Eleazer's ring, of which he had robbed him on the fatal night, and which he thoughtlessly wore, was taken from him, and tended to increase the just suspicion which was entertained against him. But the now awakened conscience of the not yet wholly hardened criminal, troubled him far more than the presence of his human judges. Despair and horrible anguish were depicted on his countenance ; his look was restless and disturbed; his high spirit was broken.
One of the magistrates said plainly to his face, os Villain ! dost thou venture to set at defiance the Omniscient and the Holy One, whose eyes are as a flame of fire? Thou art standing on the brink of a fearful abyss ! Examine thyself, and confess the truth to thy God!”
Greatly agitated, and trembling in every limb, he cried out, Yes, I am the man!” All his refuges of lies were now broken down, and he confessed all, not only the circumstances of the murder, but the wicked action by which he had endeavoured to shift his guilt upon the innocent Nathan. His sentence was, that he should be eight times whipped in the public market-place, and suffer six years' imprisonment in the fortress at C., with hard labour.
Christopher attended the examination of the young man with the deepest sympathy; and when he heard the sentence, his heart was far from suggesting the malicious idea,—“ This man, who sought to ruin me, now receives his just doom, and even less than he deserves.” He, on the contrary,
felt the sincerest compassion for the unhappy man, who had suffered himself to be so deluded and infatuated by sin. One wish above all others filled the heart of Christopher,-it was, the salvation of the soul of that man who had been made the unwitting instrument of leading him to attain the greatest bliss and the highest goodthe knowledge of God, and peace with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ. This was not cherished as a mere idle wish in the breast of Christopher; but he steadfastly resolved to try all that in him lay to further the eternal welfare of this unhappy man, and induce him to seek reconciliation with his offended God. He requested permission of the Governor of the fortress to live there for six years, in order that he might be near the prisoner, and have daily communication with him. His petition was granted. Christopher hired an apartment in the fortress; visited his enemy, whom however, he regarded as his benefactor; procured for him better fare than was generally allowed to the prisoners, and took every opportunity of leading him to God. Long time had he to wait before he saw any fruit of his labour of Christian love. The object of his solicitude became ill. Christopher tended him with the utmost assiduity. He cared not only for the body; the recovery of the deeply-diseased soul was his chief concern. He instructed him in the word of God, of which he was grievously ignorant; he represented to him the holiness and the justice of God; he prayed for him and with him, for his everlasting salvation. He told him that penitence did not consist in self-inflicted penances; that no man by his own good resolutions, or his own works, could merit salvation; that God