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Armstrong's own account of himself was, that at that time he was addicted to intemperance and a slave to every vice, and that his wife was as bad as himself. Owing to his misconduct he was degraded from the rank of a sergeant. After some time the regiment came to Manchester, and here he was arrested in his wicked course by affliction. He became a paralytic, and to add to his misery, his wife left him and went abroad with another man. Such was the painful condition of this poor cripple when J. W— met with him.
The visits of the missionary, and his kind sympathizing attention soon won the heart of the poor outcast, and by God's blessing, the ground was thus prepared to receive the good seed. By means of the word read, and the efforts used, the Holy Spirit was pleased to soften the man's heart and enlighten his mind, so that ho now earnestly sought for mercy, became truly repentant, and hated his sins. After a season of deep distress on their account, he was enabled to believe that it was a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: he believed to the saving of his soul, and found peace and joy in believing." It was affecting to hear the words of love and thankfulness that fell from the lips of one whose outward condition appeared so miserable. He said, with tears in his eyes, " I never knew what happiness was till now. I bless God that he has laid his afflicting hand upon me. He has plucked me as a brand from the burning." His love and gratitude to the missionary was only surpassed by his"deep sense of obligation to the redeeming grace and dying love of the Saviour. "Under God," he said "I owe all to him."
Armstrong experienced the truth of the declaration that "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." His pension of sixpence per day was all that he had to live upon. But when his circumstances became known, some friends helped him, and they were well repaid by witnessing his Christian spirit and conversation. A Bible with good type was given to him, which was his greatest treasure and delight.
He had a strong desire to become united to some Christian church. He said, "Though I cannot go to a place of worship, I should like to feel that I belonged to the people of God—that I was one of the family." About two years after Ms conversion this wish was gratified. He twice enjoyed the privilege of commemorating the dying love of Christ, and of obeying his last command, " Do this in remembrance of me;' and those were seasons of much comfort to him. His faithful, unwearied friend, the missionary, assisted in carrying him to a conveyance, which took him to and from the house of God, and thus enabled him to enjoy a feast which he considered the happiest of his life : he said it was like heaven upon earth.
He had an ardent desire to be useful to others, and nothing pleased him more than to read the word of God to those who were unable to read for themselves. On a sabbath afternoon a prayer meeting was held in his room, which was a great enjoyment to him ; and during the week he managed to teach a number of little children for very small remuneration. He continued to do this till within a few days of his death, though he had a distressing cough
At length it was evident that his strength was fa failing. On the Friday before his death, he said, "I can never sufficiently thank my friends for their kindness to me; but I hope God will reward them. I have now done with this world, and am glad to leave it. I long to be with Christ, and to be free from sin. His desire was soon granted. On Saturday he had to lie down repeatedly. On Sunday morning, the person with whom he lodged went into hia room: at four o'clock he was quite tranquil. She went again at seven—his spirit was gone: he had entered the rest which remaineth for the people of God.
I cannot conclude this simple narrative without adverting to the value and importance of City and Town Missions. How many cases of deep poverty and distress amongst the pious uncomplaining poor have been brought to light, and relieved through their agency! And still greater is the number of those whose character and circumstances have been equally vile and wretched, who have been reclaimed from their vicious habits, improved in their temporal condition, and been saved from eternal ruin.
There are many dead people in the world who are not yet buried. There are thousands who have been dead many years and do not know it. When a man's heart is cold and indifferent about religion, when his hands are never em
ployed in doing God's work, when his feet are never familiar with his ways, when his tongue is seldom used in grayer and praise, when his ears are deaf to the voice of hrist in the gospel, when his eyes are blind to the beauty of heaven, when his mind is full of the world and has no room nor time for spiritual things—then a man is dead. Eyle.
To Joseph it was said by the angel of the Lord, " And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus," that is, Saviour ; "for he shall save his people from their sins."* And to Mary it was announced by the angel Gabriel, " Thou shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus."f Because he saves from sin, he is called Jesus, Saviour. Eemember,
1. You are a sinner. Of this you are conscious. You feel it in your own heart. Your conscience condemns you, and you are condemned by God's broken law, which thunders its threatenings against you. Yes, you are a sinner.
2. You need salvation. You must perish without it. Salvation is deliverance from sin, its guilt, its pollution, and its punishment; and if not delivered, you must perish. Yes, you are perishing, and you need salvation.
3. None but Jesus can save you. You cannot save yourself: men cannot save you: angels cannot save you. There is but one name under heaven given among men whereby you can be saved, the name of Jesus.J He is able to save, and willing; and none but he can save.
4. You must come to Christ, if you would he saved by him. Coming is believing, and they who believe shall be saved; but they who believe not must be damned.§ The way to heaven lies by the cross of Christ: there is no other way to the celestial city.
5. You should come to Christ now. There is need of it, and there is abundant encouragement. He invites, he oners himself to you; and he will not cast you out, if you come to him.|| Christ is for you, if you want him; yes, for you. Come to him now. There is danger in delay. Time is short; death is near; the Spirit may depart: there is danger. Oh! come to Christ now, and he will save you from your sins. Come to Jesus, and you shall have eternal life.
* Matt. i. 21. t Luke i. 26-33. Z Acts iv. 12.
§ Mark xvi. 16. || John vi. 37.
PEAISE FOE EEDEMPTION.
On that I had an angel's tongue,
That I might loudly sing
To thee my God and King!
Did pale and speechless lie,
Or else the stones will cry.
Let the redeemed of the Lord
Their thankful voices raise:
Our great Eedeemer's praise?
Glory to God on high;
Amen, amen, say I.
Poor Adam's race was Satan's prey,
And dust the serpent's food;
Naked and trembling stood.
Did helpless men befriend; Our help did in God's bosom lie,
And thence it did ascend.
Love clothed with humility
Built here a house of clay,
The devil lost his prey.
(But then Christ brake his head)
On which his blood was shed.
Sing, and triumph in boundless grace,
Which thus hath set thee free:
Thy Saviour's love to thee.
What love was this in thee,
Thine only Son from me I , Mason. THE INVITATION.
"Come thou with us, and we will do thee good."
There was a group of young men in the street; I was one of those young men.
It was Sunday evening; but it did not strike either of the young men that it was the Lord's day: we reckoned it to be our own.
Was it not our own day—our rest day—our weekly holiday? We worked hard all the week, from Monday morning to Saturday night, and under sharp task-masters too—some of us—or so we thought; but on Sundays we were free.