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patronage I have been educated in the Christian religion, and by your bounty I have been placed under the care and guidance of your amiable and zealous member, to whom I am more particularly indebted for the care and pains he has taken with me in instructing me in different languages, to fit me for your Jewish missionary : it is the most honourable gift and employment; but, alas! Sirs, it has been conferred on one the most worthless and undeserving of it; upon one who has, hitherto, attended to every thing rather than to what is requisite for his preparation to such an important office I sincerely trust that I do not deceive you and my own heart, when I say that the happy period seems now to have arrived when the light of the glorious Gospel begins to dawn upon my dark and benighted mind. So far brought to a sense of my sinfulness, I can only lament my past folly and ingratitude for your goodness ; but I earnestly hope that it is my heartfelt desire, henceforth to know nothing else but Christ and Him crucified; dependent upon whose assistance, and praying for His grace, I hope to be able to withstand the temptations and outward oppositions with which I may have to encounter, as well as the repugnancy of my own evil heart, 80 as hereafter to fulfil, with a little usefulness, that situation which you have designed for me.”
(To be continued.)
NATHAN, OR THE POWER OF LOVE AND
( Continued from page 62.) In consequence of Nathan's asserting his innocence, his sentence was deferred from time to time. A whole year passed, yet was not the trial concluded. Whence, we may ask, arose this delay on the part of the Judges, since, apparently, every thing seemed to testify against the accused? Because the Lord watched over the innocent youth; because the God of Israel disposed the hearts of those that should have condemned him, to postpone the judgment, in order that it might be more signally manifested that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,” that he “ will bring to light the hidden things of darkness,” that “the Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed; “ for he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence.” (2 Chron. xvi. 9; 1 Cor. iv. 5; Ps. ix. 9; lxxii. 12–14.)
Yes, deliverance indeed awaited Nathan, a deliverance far greater than he could have anticipated, and which was brought about in a manner very different to what he either expected or desired.
During the first months which Nathan passed in prison, the continued indolence to which he was compelled, became almost insupportable to him, and the tediousness of these hours was a painful source of discomfort. He therefore inquired of the gaoler whether he could lend him a book to while away the time. The gaoler was
quite an illiterate man, and therefore did not care for books; he replied, “ There is only one book in the place, which some prisoner must have left behind.” What sort of a book is it?" inquired Nathan. The keeper replied, “ I have never read it, but I have just looked into it here and there; and I saw that it contained various histories, narratives, and letters.” Nathan was delighted to hear this, and begged him to let him have the book at once.
Nathan eagerly opened the book, but was struck, nay alarmed, on reading the title, which was, “ The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” His first impression was, “ This book I dare not read, for it is opposed to my religion ;” and he was about to return it, when the thought struck him; “ What harm can it do me, if I read what is related in the book of the Christians ? When I am acquainted with the New Testament, I shall be all the better able to confute the Christians.” With the view of collecting fresh weapons against Christianity, Nathan commenced reading the New Testament.
The aversion which he felt towards Jesus of Nazareth gradually subsided; the more he read, the more deeply was he impressed with profound esteem for him who taught the people with such wisdom, and did such mighty works. He had been accustomed to look upon Jesus in a far different light, even in the false light in which his Rabbinical teachers had represented the founder of the Christian religion to him from his tenderest years; now, however, Nathan was convinced that Jesus was no deceiver, animated by hostile sentiments towards Israel. The perfect harmony between the teaching of Jesus and his life and death, opened Nathan's eyes, so that he began to see in him something more than a mere teacher or lawgiver. So powerful was this impression, that he was fearful of reading more ; but his desire to know how the disciples fared after the death of their Master was so great, that he commenced the perusal of the Acts of the Apostles.
The wonderful change which took place in them after the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the powerful testimony of these simple, and formerly timid men, the mighty effects of the first sermon of the · Apostle Peter, and the conversion of the three thousand Jews on the day of Pentecost, moved him still more deeply. Surely nothing short of thorough conviction of the resurrection of Christ, could have constrained them thus undauntedly, in Jerusalem itself, and even before the Chief Council, to preach the name of Jesus, and boldly to proclaim the remission of sins through Him, whom the same Council had accused as a malefactor, and caused to be condemned and crucified. He was also much struck with the fact that frequently as the Apostles were taken before the Chief Council; repeatedly as they were brought for trial before magistrates, they were not once charged with being liars when they testified of the resurrection of Christ. They were threatened, they were commanded not to teach or to speak in the name of Jesus ; they were scourged, and even the learned Rabbi Gamaliel could give no other advice to the Council, than “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought : but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it : lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts v. 38, 39.) All this presented itself with
overpowering conviction to the mind of the inquiring Israelite. One narrative, however, brought a full conviction to his mind that Jesus was the Messiah. This was the history of the conversion of Paul. When he had read it, he cried out,
-“As surely as thou the God of Abraham livest, so surely is Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah—the Son of the living God!" As Saul on the road to Damascus fell trembling to the earth and cried, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do,” so did Nathan throw himself
his knees on the floor of his prison, and pour out his supplications to the invisible, but ever-present God, crying out in anguish of spirit, “O, Jesus, thou true Messiah and Prophet, I will be thy disciple; have mercy on me, have mercy on me, as thou hadst upon Saul and the thief on the
Intercede for me, even as thou didst for thy betrayers and murderers."
From this memorable time, the New Testament became the constant study of this enlightened and highly-favoured sinner; he read it over and over again, and continued diligent in prayer. His ardent longing to be delivered from prison grew increasingly strong, because he desired to make a public profession of his faith, and to be incorporated by baptism with Christ and his Church. Conscious of his innocence, he did not for a moment doubt that God would assuredly by some unforeseen means bring it to light, and
him to be guiltless of the crime laid to his charge. But his faith was to be proved, and his patience to be exercised in the furnace of affliction. Nathan had lain in prison for sixteen months; the judges could not pronounce him innocent, for no proof of it had been adduced, and unable any longer to defer the sentence, they were constrained to pass it, though