GIVING AN ACCOUNT
Conversion & Happy Death
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
PRINTED BY T. JOHNSTON,
For Robert Gregson, a Young Man, nearly Blind.
[PRICE ONE PENNY.]
CONVERSION OF POOR JOSEPH.
A Poor half-witted man, named Joſeph whoſe employment was to go on errands and carry parcels, paſſing through London ſtreets one day, heard pſalm-ſinging in the houſe of God; he went into it, having a large parcel of yarn hanging over his ſhoulders. It was Dr. Calamy's church, St. Mary's Aldermanbury. A very well dreſſed audience ſurrounded the Doctor: He read his text from 1 Tim.i.15. This is a faithful ſaying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to ſave ſinners, of to I am the chieſ. From this he preached, in the cleareſt manner, the ancient and apoſtoli goſpel, the contents of this faithful ſaying viz. That there is eternal ſalvation for the vileſt ſinners, ſolely through the worthineſs of Jeſus Chriſt, the God that made all things "Not many rich, not many noble are called (by this doctrine, ſays the Apoſtle) but God hath choſen the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty."
While the elegant part of the congregatioit liſleſſly heard the doctrine, and, if they were ſtruck with any thing at all, it was only with ſome brilliant expreſſion, or well-turned period that dropt from the Doctor, Joſeph, in rags, gazing with aſtoniſhment, never took his eyes from the preacher, but drank in with eagerneſs all he ſaid. —— Trudging homeward, he was heard thus muttering to himſelf,—— Joſeph never heard this before!——Chriſt Jeſus, the God that made all things, came into the world to ſave ſinners like Joſeph; and this is true, and it is a faithful ſaying.”
Not long after this, Joſeph was ſeized with fever, and was dangerouſly ill. As he toſſed upon his bed, his conſtant language was, Joſeph as the chief of ſinners; but Jeſus Chriſt came into the world to ſave ſinners, and Joſeph loves him for this. His neighbours who came to ſee him, wondered on hearing him always upon this, and only this. Some of the religious oſrt addreſſed him in the following manner: "But what ſay you of your own heart. Joſeph? Is there no token for good about it? No ſaving change there? Have you cloſed with Chriſt, by acting faith upon him?" —— Ah! no; Joſeph has nothing to ſay for himſelf, but that he is he chief of ſinners: yet ſeeing that it is a faithful ſaying, that Jeſus, he who made all things, came into the world to ſave ſinners, why may not Joſeph, after all, be ſaved?"
One man finding out where he had got this doctrine, on which he dwelt ſo uniformly, and with ſo much delight, went and aſked a Dr. Calamy to come and viſit him. He came, but Joſeph was now very weak, and had not ſpoken for ſome time, and though told of the Doctor's arrival, he took no notice of him; but when the Doctor began to ſpeak to him, as ſoon as he heard the found of his voice, he inſtantly ſprang upon his elbows, and ſeizing him by his hands, exclaimed as loud as he could, with his now feeble and trembling voice, "O, Sir! you are the friend of the Lord Jeſus, whom I heard ſpeak ſo well of him. ——Joſeph is the chief of ſinners, but it is a faithful ſaying, that Jeſus Chriſt, the God who made all things, came into the world to ſave ſinners, and why not Joſeph! ——O pray to that Jeſus for me, pray that he may ſave me: telling him, that Joſeph thinks that he loves him for coming into the world to ſave ſuch ſinners as Joſeph." ——The Doctor prayed; and when he concluded Joſeph thanked him moſt kindly. He then put his hand under his pillow, and puled out an old rag, in which were tied up five guineas; and putting it into the Doctor's and, which he had kept all this while cloſe n his, he thus addreſſed him: Joſeph in his folly, had laid this up to keep him in his old age but Joſeph will never ſee old age: take it and divide it among the poor friends of the Lord Jeſus: and tell them that Joſeph gave it them for his ſake, who came into the world to ſave ſinners, of whom Joſeph is the chief." So ſaying, he reclined His head, his exertions in talking had been too much for him, ſo that he inſtantly expired.
Dr. Calamy left this ſcene, but not without ſhedding tears over Joſeph; and uſed to tell this little ſtory with much feeling, and as one of the moſt affecting occurrences he ever met with. I naturally ſuggeſts the following obſervations.
1. Let us admire the ſovereignty of Divine Grace: The whole congregation whether rich or poor, were ſinners in the ſight of a holy God, and ſtood equally in need of that Salvation, which by the goſpel was preached to them. But while the elegant aſſembly heard it with liſtleſs attention, the word of God came with demonſtration of the Spirit and of power in the heart of Joſeph, and fixed his attention by its infinite importance. To what can we aſcribe this difference, but to the ſovereign grace of him who "will have mercy on whom he will have mercy;" who hath hid theſe things from the wiſe and prudent, and revealed them to babes;" and hath " choſen the poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promiſed to them that love him?" To diſplay the power and ſovereignty of this grace, the Apoſtle tells us, that “God hath choſen the fooliſh things of the world to confound the wiſe, and the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty," for the expreſs purpoſe, "that no fleſh ſhould glory in his preſence, but he that glorieth ſhould glory only in the Lord." This is very different from the general views of men. There is a proneneſs in the human mind, when convicted of ſin, to do ſomething in order to eſcape the wrath of (6) God, and merit his favour. Many go about to eſtabliſh a righteouſneſs of their own, not ſubmitting to the righteouſneſs of God; while others endeavour by their own exertions to make their hearts better, and ſo prepare them for the reception of Chriſt. Joſeph had no idea of ſuch a way of ſalvation. When aſked about his heart, if there was no token of good about it, no ſaving change; "Ah! no: ſaid he, Joſeph can act nothing. ——Joſeph has nothing to ſay for himſelf, but juſt that he is the chief ofſinners," &c.
2. The goſpel produces love to God, and his people. Joſeph had received the word, not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, and it wrought effectually in him believing it. He experienced the truth of the Apoſtle's aſſertion, We love him, becauſe he firſt loved us.—— O pray,' ſays he, 'to that Jeſus for me.——Pray that he may ſave me!——Tell him that Joſeph thinks that he loves him for coming into the world to ſave ſuch ſinners as Joſeph.' Whatever may be ſaid about loving God for what he is in himſelf, it was a ſenſe of the love of Chriſt manifeſted in ſaving ſinners, that firſt attracted his attention, drew forth his warmeſt affections, and occupied all his thoughts. Thus it is with every ſinner ſaved by ſovereign grace. A ſenſe of the love of Chriſt ſhed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, infallibly produces love, and this is ſhewn by univerſal obedience to the will of God, and ſtudying to adorn the doctrine of God, by a life and converſation becoming the goſpel. Joſeph could not now manifeſt his love to God in this way, but he does it by ſhewing love to his people, and that becauſe they were the friends of his Jeſus. When he heard Dr. Calamy's voice, he exclaimed, “O Sir, you are the friend of the Lord Jeſus, whom I heard ſpeak ſo well of Him. and whom I love for what you ſaid of him:" and to this profeſſion of love he added an ſubſtantial proof, in giving to the poor friends of Jeſus all he poſſeſſed in the world.
3. The goſpel is ſufficient to ſupport the mind in the immediate proſpect of death. Joſeph did not comfort himſelf with the thought that he was no worſe than his neighhours, and therefore as God was merciful, he would be ſafe enough. The atonement of Chriſt was the only and excluſive ground of his hope and confidence in the view of death, judgement, and eternity. Being juſtified by faith, he had peace with God through the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and rejoiced in hope of the glory of God.
STOP. poor ſinner, stop and think,
Before you farther go!
Will you ſport upon the brink
Of everlaſting woe?
Once again I charge you ſtop,
For unleſs you warning take,
Ere you are aware you drop
Into the burning lake!
Say have you an arm like God,
That you his will oppoſe?
Fear you not that iron rod,
With which he breaks his foes?
Can you ſtand in that dread day,
When he judgment ſhall proclaim,
And the earth ſhall melt away,
Like wax before the flame?
Pale-ſac'd death will quickly come,
To drag you to his bar!
Then to hear your awful, doom,
Will fill you with deſpair!
All your fins will round you crowd,
Sins of a blood-crimſon dye;
Each for vengeance crying loud!
And what can you reply?
Tho' your heart be made of ſteel,
Your forehead lin'd with braſs,
God at length will make you feel
He will not let you paſs:
Sinners then in vain will call,
Tho' they now deſpiſe his grace,
"Rocks and mountains on us fall,
And bide us from his face!"
But as yet there is a hope,
You may his mercy know,
Tho' his arm is lifted up,
He ſtill forbears the blow!
’Twas for ſinners Jeſus died;
Sinners he invites to come
None who come ſhall be denied;
He ſays, "There still is room."