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BREAD CAST UPON THE WATERS.
We none of us can tell what good is to result from the humblest efforts to promote Christ's glory and the good
Eternity alone will bring to light all the blessed consequences of doing God's will. But the promise is sure: if we cast the bread upon the waters, God promises that we shall find it after many days. His promise cannot fail. Our faith then should fix upon it, and wait in patience till he makes known his righteousness. It is now more than a quarter of a century since the “Friendly Visitor" commenced, and it is not easy to calculate the number of copies that have been circulated in that time throughout the kingdom. Some may be ready to ask, for what good is all this? And the Editor is ready to join in the inquiry: for if the tokens of the Divine blessing are wanting on this humble instrumentality, it were indeed to no purpose that time and thought should be bestowed in the execution of it. But the Editor, through rich mercy, has not to go forward on the mere impulse of naked duty. He is cheered and encouraged by hearing continually of instances in which the Lord is pleased to work through this channel in turning the unconverted, and comforting and building up his own people, to the praise of his grace and the glory of his name, to whom alone all glory belongs. He cannot but admit his readers to a share in the delight with which he has just received tidings from a foreign land. Many of his readers doubtless will remember nothing of an account he published twentythree years ago of a village in the mountains of France. Years have rolled away, and in that period of time the greater part perhaps have been called to their long home. But some of us survive to call to mind that interesting account, and now to rejoice over fresh tidings
from that blessed spot. It was the Editor's privilege to receive above £40 from his readers, for the purpose of sending Bibles and other religious books to that country. Grateful and interesting acknowledgements of their receipt appeared in his pages. (See Vols. for 1822–3.)
The following letter has lately been addressed to the Editor respecting these mountaineers. To God be all the glory!
“ I have, however, another motive for applying to you, dear sir. You are associated in my mind with these schools in a way you cannot imagine. They were founded in the Fauberg du Touple, in consequence of my man servant having discovered there a certain number of ancient Jansenists, known by the reproachful appellative of Beguines. They were separated from the Romanist communion, and were waiting for the reappearance of Elias, who was to redeem the Christian Church from her captivity, and restore all things.' My servant (who was acting as a colporteur) held weekly meetings with these persons; and by supplying them with the Scriptures, and giving them instruction as they required it, was blessed as the means of bringing them into the purer light of the Gospel. This led Mr. W. to fix upon this quarter for the commencement of Scriptural Schools, for children and adults, in 1830. Last summer, one of these individuals went to visit her relatives in the neighbourhood of St. Etienne. She went to “The Village in the Mountains,' to which spot you had sent, through the agency of my husband, a large number of Bibles and Testaments, in 1820—21. They were sent to the Veuve Gillet. One of the cases in which the Bibles were packed, became un-nailed in crossing the bad roads of the country, and many copies were dropped on the way. They were picked up, and carried into the mountains. The seed has been germinating for more than twenty years, unnoticed by either the giver or the sender. Our friend from the Fauberg, however, has brought us the tidings of this wonderful process. She reports, that as many as 400
persons have been brought into the fellowship of the Gospel by the use of these Scriptures. She says, she never could have conceived of the scenes that passed before her sight-she felt herself transported back to the primitive Church recorded in the Acts. There was such love, such zeal, such purity of manners, such simplicity and frequency of worship among them—they all seemed taught indeed of God himself. Perpetually was the question put to her, "Do you know the person who sent us the Bibles from Paris? Do tell him, with our love, what the Lord has done for us by the study of his word.'
“I am sure, my dear sir, that this hasty and brief narrative must fill your heart with gratitude to God for having inspired you with the resolution to send Bibles to those poor mountaineers.”
THE TRIAL OF FAITH.
(From a Lady in France.) “And blessed is she that believeth: for there shall be a performance of
those things which were told her from the Lord.”—Luke i. 45. I was requested by a friend to visit a sick person who was fast approaching to eternity, and who appeared very little concerned for his soul. I did so, and attended him almost daily until his death, which took place a few weeks afterwards. I had no good evidence of a change of heart in him. He heard the word of God with pleasure, and read it sometimes himself; and while I was one day explaining the necessity of the new birth, and of our state by nature, the total impossibility of the natural man to please God, it appeared to me that the still small voice of conscience was speaking within. But we must leave it with Him who alone knows the secrets of the heart: we know the word of God shall never return void-it shall accomplish all for which it was sent But there was under the same roof a young couple, with whom I left tracts, and who used to go into the sick man's chamber, after my visits, to borrow the Testament and a book of prayers I left with him; but they read it only as a story, and I could seldom get them to enter into conversation upon the subject. They were bigoted Roman Catholics, and knew nothing of spiritual religion, and read more for amusement and to pass the time than for any desire to receive instruction from the word of the Lord. Still I continued my visits after the death of the poor man, and a female Scripture reader also often went to them, but we both felt much discouraged; still we could not give them up, knowing that the Lord alone can give the increase, and we must patiently wait for the former and the latter rain to water the seed sown. After some time, they begged to have a Bible, and then they were persuaded to go and hear the Protestant minister preach; and the first time they went, they were both struck that it was the truth, and they received it not in word, but in power and in much assurance, and they returned home, convinced that they were not in the right way, and that there was much they had to learn which they had never been taught in their own religion. They continued, therefore, to attend the Protestant worship, and felt they could go no where else; the word of God was more closely examined, more attentively read, more prayerfully compared with the superstitions which, till then, they had considered the only true religion; and the result was, that their eyes were opened to understand the Scriptures, and they found they had been obeying the appointments and doctrines of men—not the commandments of God; that they had gone about to establish their own righteousness--not submitting themselves to the righteousness of God; and, with the simplicity and humility of little children, they desired the sincere milk of the word they had heard, the voice of the Good Shepherd, and they desired to follow no other; and oh! what a change was now apparent. Their mouths were opened, their tongues unloosed, and now they could speak plainly, and declare the wonders the Lord had done for their souls: the lamp was lighted, the fire kindled, and their house became a praise and a glory; and many will bless the Lord,
through a whole eternity, for what they learned there. All other books were consigned to the flames, and the Bible alone considered their treasure. That was always placed on the table, and all who came in were invited to read or hear its blessed truths; they felt the wonderful effect it had worked on themselves, and they desired that others should have the same blessing. But now they began to feel what it was to be hated, persecuted, and despised, for the Lord's sake. Friends and relations forsook them ashamed to own them--but in all this they rejoiced, and sought only how to do good to their souls. They continually invited them to go with them; for they were journeying to the land of Canaan, and would seek to do them good also : and many were thus led to join themselves to the Lord's people.
One instance of this is particularly striking - A friend of theirs, who was much opposed to the Protestants, was, after considerable resistance, induced to accompany them to the chapel : the minister read and explained the 8th chapter of Romans, and it proved effectual to the salvation of her soul. From that day, she never returned to the Roman Catholic Church; she said that was impossible. She now desired the teaching of God's Holy Spirit: she could not read herself, and her husband was much opposed to the Bible; but sometimes he would read her a chapter, upon her promising she would not go to the chapel" if he did so.
She took every opportunity of visiting these young people, who had proved her best friends. She thirsted for the fountain of living waters: her soul had found rest in Christ, and no other name was precious to her. I often visited her, and found her always desiring more and more to know the Lord Jesus Christ. She used to say,
- Oh! do come when my husband is out, and talk to me of my precious Saviour; how much he has done for me : surely he has been good to me, and I desire to follow him wholly.”
About six months after her conversion, she was taken ill, and quite unable to leave her room; she was therefore most thankful when any one went in to read to her. Her mind seemed to open most wonderfully, and her