Two infidel neighbors lived among the hills of New England. One of them heard the Gospel, was convicted of his sins and believed unto eternal life. Soon after he went to his infidel neighbor's home and said, "I have come to talk to you; I have been converted."
"Yes," sneered the other, "I heard that you had been down to the meeting, and had gone forward for prayers. I was surprised, for I thought you were as sensible a man as any in town."
"Well," said the first, "I have a duty to do to you. I haven't slept much for two nights for thinking of it. I have four sheep in my flock that belong to you. They came two years ago with your mark on them and I took them and marked them with my mark. You inquired around, but could not find them. They are in my field now, with their increase, and I want to settle with you if you are willing, or you can settle with me by the law if you will."
The other infidel was amazed, and told his neighbor that he could keep the sheep only please go away. He trembled at the thought that something had got hold of his old friend which he did not understand. He repeated, "You may keep the sheep, if you will only go away."
"No," said the Christian, "I must settle this matter up, and cannot rest until I do. You must tell me how much."
"Well," replied the other, "pay me the worth of the sheep when they went to you, and six percent interest, and please go away and let me alone."
The Christian laid down the amount and then doubled it. He went his way, leaving his old friend's heart heavily loaded. The full result of that scene is only known to God. But today that other infidel is going to the house of God.—A. S. Burrows, in John Three Sixteen.
A little boy had broken the glass of a street lamp and was greatly disturbed. "What shall I do?" he asked his father in trepidation. "Do?" cried his father, "tell the lamplighter about it, ask him what you must pay, then go and settle like a man." This very practical way of dealing with the matter was not what the boy was looking for, and he whimperingly replied, "I—I—thought that all I had to do was to ask God to forgive me." Be sure God will freely forgive us, when in obedience to His Word we turn our steps into the way of righteousness. —C. F. Goss.
There is something more in this abandonment than the desertion of an old road. We cannot turn from that road as though nothing had been accomplished in it. A certain life has been lived and certain damage has been done. What about the damage? Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, in a lecture that is now forgotten, put this challenge in an indictment of the Christian doctrine of forgiveness: "If I rob Mr. X and God forgives me, how will that help Mr. X?" Yes, but God won't. No man can leave that road where ruin has been wrought and turn away as though nothing has been done. The abandoning of the old road must be accompanied by the rectifying of the old wrong. So far as restitution is possible, it is part of our forsaking the old life. Here, then, is where repentance begins.— J. H. Jowett.
"Arriving at a house," writes one of the Bible Society's Italian colporteurs, as reported in The Life of Faith, "I knocked at the door. 'Aventi,' called a voice from within. I did so, and found myself in the presence of a woman who, dusting a chair, invited me to sit down. She seemed a little embarrassed, then turning suddenly, said, "What is the price of a New Testament?" "Two lira, Signora." She handed me the coin, and I was going to give her the book, when she refused it with a gesture. "We have one," she said; "my son stole it from you a few days ago, but the reading of it brought him to see his sin. So he told me about it and asked me to pay you and apologize."—Alliance Weekly.
There are some people who scoff at religion and get apparent pleasure out of the habit. They will never understand the following letter, received by the War Department from an unnamed man living in Colorado:
"While in the service during 1918-20, I stole equipment and clothing to the amount (as near as I can tell) of about $50.00.
"Since that time God has wonderfully saved me and I am going back over my tracks and make every wrong right that I possibly can.
"Enclosed find check for same and by His grace I hope nothing of its kind will have to be repeated."
Here is positive testimony of the force that comes into human lives when the individual accepts God and begins to serve Him. It will take more than the cynic's smile to convince most of us that the ex-soldier has been fooled by an old-time, worn-out myth.
He has found something valuable in his life, worth more than money. Can many of the scoffing tribe truthfully say as much?—Middleburg Independent.