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HIS SPIRITUAL CHILDREN                     203



“As streams of water in the south,
Our bondage, Lord, recall:
Who sow in tears, a reaping-time
Of joy enjoy they shall.

" That man who, bearing precious seed,
In going forth doth mourn;
He doubtless, bringing back his sheaves,
Rejoicing shall return.”

HEY that wisely and stedfastly set their hearts on
winning souls are usually favoured with abundant
success. They delight themselves in God, and in
terms of the promise He gives them the desire of
their hearts. For many years Duncan Matheson prayed for
a wide­spread revival of true religion. The great awakening
at length took place, and he was honoured above most men
in reaping its fruits. “Give me children, else I die!” was
the spirit of all his prayers; and, if facts be of any value,
his prayers were abundantly answered.

Several of his spiritual children are already able preachers
of the gospel; some are successful missionaries at home;
and some have gone forth to preach among the heathen the
unsearchable riches of Christ. A considerable number are
useful elders and deacons; others are earnest Sabbath-school
teachers and valiant street-preachers; while many more dis­
tribute tracts, visit the sick, the outcast, and the perishing.
Hundreds are quietly doing that noblest and most difficult
kind of Christian work—training up their children in the
fear of the Lord. A multitude live to preach the most
eloquent of sermons—carrying a cross for Christ; and sing
the grandest psalm sung out of heaven—living a holy life.
With well-authenticated instances of conversion it would
not be difficult to fill a volume. Let us take a few from
amongst many.

“ I find the fruits of his labours in the various districts
which I visit,” is the testimony of a venerable servant of the
Lord Jesus Christ on his returning from a recent evangelistic

204                      FRUITS OF HIS LABOURS.

tour. “ His footprints will long remain fresh and warm all
over the North. I spoke to an interesting young sailor in a
railway carriage some time ago. He was an Englishman
and a warm-hearted Christian. He told me that, years ago,
when his ship lay in the harbour of Macduff, he went ‘to
hear a man called Duncan Matheson in the Free Church on
a week evening, and the Lord apprehended him.’”

A thoughtless young man at C------went one night to

hear him preach, and came away with an arrow in his con­
science; but having promised to attend a ball, he went to
the gay assembly in the hope of ridding his mind of anxious
thoughts amidst the music and the dance. Not thus was his
wound to be healed. In the midst of the dance the thought
of eternity seized upon him, and he rushed out to seek
Christ in the darkness of the night. He did not seek in
vain. The light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ dawned upon his soul. He now abandoned the
gaieties of the world, and after a brief career of faith and
holiness fell asleep in Jesus.

Another young man, a mason by trade, was awakened,
and went frequently to hear Matheson. For awhile he could
find no rest to his soul. The terrors of the Lord followed
him to his work; and when the thought of judgment to come
arose in his mind, he would begin to hammer the stones
with furious energy. His fellow ­workmen were astonished;
and when they asked him what ailed him, he made no
reply, so entirely was he absorbed in his endeavours to stifle
conviction. “The more I hammered,” said he, “the worse
I grew.” Heavier and still heavier fell the blows of the
Spirit’s hammer, till at length, reduced to self-despair, he
dropped into the arms of Jesus and found rest.

On one occasion when he was preaching on the links at
Aberdeen, “ a gay and godless young man,” as he describes
himself, was passing by. An arrow guided by the Spirit
pierced the conscience of the youth. He was converted
and studied for the ministry. Last year he was ordained as
a missionary to Madagascar. As the evangelist passed away
to his rest, the young missionary stood up amidst the solemn
services of his ordination at Aberdeen to tell the audience
that the voice of Duncan Matheson had been the trumpet
of God to his ear, calling him into the fellowship of grace,



and the ministry of the Lord Jesus. The standard had just
dropped from the hands of the brave standard-bearer as he
fell; but bravely was it caught up by his own son in the
faith to be planted on the high places of the field, where
even now scenes of surpassing glory are witnessed in the
triumphs of the cross. In the labours of the foreign mis­
sionary it is permitted us to hope that the voice of the home
evangelist will find a powerful echo among the falling idols
of that distant island, and result in gathering a multitude of
the heathen to Christ. Thus not in vain did he sow beside
all waters. The little winged seeds, not visible to every eye,
dropping from the branches amidst the blasts of northern
winter are being wafted on the breeze of providential cir­
cumstance to the prepared soil of the sunny south. “ This
also cometh from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in
counsel, and excellent in working.”

At Perth, when special services were in progress, a young
man from Glasgow happened to call at the house of Mrs.
S., where Mr. Matheson was staying. When the evangelist

was informed that Mr. ------had been at the door, he said,

“ Perhaps he has been brought here at this time to be con­
verted and saved. Let us pray for him.” Prayer was offered
as follows (I quote this from the journal of Mrs. S.): “O
God, if Thou hast brought him to this house, to this town,
and to this hall, to save his soul, it will be a wonderful thing.
Do it, Lord, do it.” The young man went to the meeting in
the hall, was awakened and converted. His own testimony
is this:—“I was a member of an influential Presbyterian
Church, a Sabbath-school teacher, and a tract ­distributor,
but up to that night I was a dead soul. Then I was brought
to see I was dead; and then by grace I passed from death
unto life through faith in Jesus.”

At Kirriemuir a young woman newly-awakened was
urging her companion to remain to the second meeting.
“Never mind,” said Mr. Matheson, “let her go her own
way; she is determined to perish.” This word, accompanied
by a look of piercing tenderness, went to the heart of the
thoughtless girl. “Yes, yes,” she said to herself, “I am going
my own way, and that way is to death.” The arrow was
from the bow of the unerring marksman; and the same
invisible hand that shot it drew it out, and healed the wound

206               “YE’LL NO NEED THE BASKET.”

with the balm of his own peace-speaking blood. After two
years of a holy life that young believer calmly fell asleep in

At Forfar, as was his wont in a strange place, he made
the children his friends, and sent them to tell their fathers
and mothers to come and hear a stranger preaching.
“ Mither,” said a little boy, “ there ‘s a new man come to
the toon to preach; gang and hear him.” Thinking it
strange to be asked by her boy, she resolved though with
some reluctance to go. How to conceal from her neigh­
bours her going to a revival meeting was her difficulty.
Nicodemus went to Jesus under cover of night: this woman
took her market-basket on her arm as if she was going to
make the usual daily purchase, and thus screened herself
from the observation and jeers of her neighbours. Day after
day she appeared at the meeting with the basket. At length
she was brought to the Lord. “Ye’ll no need the basket
any more,” said the evangelist to her with a significant
twinkle of his eye. The basket was laid aside : she boldly
avowed the Saviour, and became signally useful in bringing
others of the same class.

A woman residing in the country, impelled by curiosity,
went to Forfar to hear the lay-preacher. Deeply impressed,
she resolved on taking the fullest advantage of the meetings,
and took lodgings in the town with the view of attending
every service. The result was her conversion. She went
home, walked with God, testified for Christ, and after a
short time fell asleep in Jesus. She knew the day of her
merciful visitation. Such is the work of grace.

One day he is standing at a street corner in Perth, and is

Singing—              “ Nothing either great or small,

Nothing, sinner, no :
Jesus did it, did it all,
Long, long ago.”

A young man passing by was arrested by the words of
the hymn, which seemed to convey a new truth. He listened
a moment A light he had never seen before dawned upon
his heart, and as he stood there on the pavement he became
a new creature in Christ Jesus.

“ Never shall I forget the first time I had the pleasure of
hearing Mr. Matheson,” writes a station-master on a northern

WHO IS FOR CHRIST?’’                        207

railway. “ I was then a stranger to grace and to God. Much
against my will I was induced to listen to God’s message
through him, and for the first time in all my life I was con­
vinced that I was without God, and without hope in the
world. His text, ‘Escape for thy life,’ was brought home
to my heart with power and demonstration of the Spirit. I
was in due time, thank God, brought out of darkness into
his marvellous light, and from the power of Satan unto
God. Oh then, extol the Lord with me, and let us exalt his
name together.”

Take another—a young man. “I was induced by a

friend to go to W------Free Church on a Sunday afternoon.

The preacher was Duncan Matheson. His text was, “ Be­
hold, I stand at the door and knock,” &c. The word came
with power to my soul; so much so that, although very
reluctant to give way, I could not refrain from shedding
tears. This being noticed by Mr. M. he came and spoke,
and invited me to the vestry. I afterwards went to the
open-air meeting, where my convictions were deepened.
For six weeks I continued in great distress; and all the
more that many who appeared not so anxious as I was
were obtaining liberty from their burdens. In order to be
alone I went in the darkness of night to the hill and knelt
to pray, but was often disturbed by the sound of footsteps,
as I fancied, but no one appeared. At this time I was
looking for a mysterious revelation of the Lord Jesus, with
conscious freedom from my burden and for joy. I had
been urged to receive the Lord Jesus into my heart; and
in Church I kept calling inwardly faster than tongue could
express it, ‘ Come in, Lord Jesus ! come in ! come in !
thinking that if I continued long enough the Lord would
come in ; but all in vain. I went home and threw myself
on my knees with the intention of praying till I got the
blessing. I continued with strong cries and tears until,
as I was afterwards told by the rest in the house, the
people in the street were standing to listen. When I
thought I was about to obtain deliverance, it was sug­
gested to my mind that by earnest prayer I could get it
any time; and, stopping, the Spirit was grieved for a time.
I felt I was relapsing, and went again to hear Mr. M. in
H----- Free Church, and at the close of the service went

208                        ANOTHER TESTIMONY,

with other enquirers into the vestry. Here he addressed us
very solemnly, and ended by asking three times, ‘ Who is
for Christ?’ My heart responded, ‘Me, me.’ The moment
of my deliverance was come, and the third time the ques­
tion was put, I sprang to my feet, and exclaimed, ‘ I ’m for
Christ V On second thoughts I was afraid I had committed
a great sin; but the words, ‘ Believe on the Lord Jesus, and
thou shalt be saved,’ were opened and applied to my heart
by the Holy Ghost as they had never been; and I was
filled with peace. I ran to my office, but could not work,
and went on praying and singing alternately. I felt an un­
speakable love to my employer, and thought as he sat
beside me I could do anything for him.” Years have passed,
and this young man has gone on and prospered, being now
an elder in a Free Church, and an indefatigable worker in
the vineyard of the Lord.

“ I had convictions and the strivings of the Spirit,’’ writes
another young man, “from my very infancy. Fears of
perishing often possessed my little heart, especially at night,
and I endeavoured to obtain peace by repeating my prayers.
As I grew up, I became reckless and even profane. Hap­
pening to be from home on a visit to my friends at M------,

I went to hear Mr. Matheson, who was that night in the
village. His text was, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait
gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and
shall not be able.’ Every word he uttered fell with power
upon my heart. Conviction of the truth flashed upon me.
I felt as if I were the only one in the church, and that every
word was directed to me. I was most miserable. I saw I
had been rejecting Christ and trifling with God, all the time
He had been seeking to lead me to Himself. Mr. Mathe-
son said that people sought to enter in and were not able,
because they would not take Christ as their all. I felt I was
doing that. He spoke also of the Saviour standing by the
side of the broad way, and stretching out his hand to stop
the sinner in his hell-ward course, and the sinner pushing
aside that gracious hand and hastening on to destruction.
I saw I had been doing so. I never was in such an agony.
It was terrible work now with me. The church was sur­
rounded with woods, and oh, how I longed to get out and
hide myself in them ! I thought I should wrestle with God

“THE BROAD AND NARROW WAY:’’              209

until I found Christ. I felt as if I could have given life
itself to be reconciled to God: I could not bear the thought
of being his enemy any longer. It was life or death with
me; and I felt that I must either now be saved or plunged
into despair. At the close Mr. Matheson took me by the
hand and looked me in the face, and I burst into tears.
We knelt down and prayed. As I was crying to God, the
Lord sent me deliverance. The light flashed in upon my
mind. Christ must be my all, and none but Christ: Christ
to trust, Christ to love, Christ to obey. It was no mere
feeling, but a clear seeing of the truth. I saw that Christ
received me, and that I was received by God in Him. I
was enabled to cast myself entirely upon Him, and receive
Him as my all; and rose from my knees saying, ‘ Christ
for me! none but Christ for me !Peace now possessed my
heart, the peace that passeth all understanding. I felt as if
I could not contain it. Mr. Matheson came forward, and
proposed singing the first verses of the fortieth Psalm, ‘ I
waited for the Lord my God,’ &c. I sang this with all my
heart, for I knew I had just been taken up out of the horri­
ble pit and miry clay, and my feet were set upon the Rock.
At the door a company of believers joined me, and we were
not afraid to awaken the echoes with songs of praise. Next
day I spoke to a relative about her soul, and induced her
to attend the meeting. This issued in her conversion. Thus
the Lord made me instrumental on the first day of my life
in Christ in helping to bring a soul to Him. Would that
every day since that had been so successful. But amid
many vicissitudes of experience, and many shortcomings of
heart and life, He has kept me till now, and has never per­
mitted me altogether to lose my confidence in Jesus. I
have never had a shadow of regret that I chose Christ,
and, if I may judge from the past, I never will. And as I
witnessed to his name at the first, so I have, though with
many shortcomings, done since; and so I trust I will be
enabled to do until I am called away to join in the song
of the redeemed on high.” This young man is a student
and a missionary, whose labours have already been blessed
in the conversion of sinners in three several spheres in
different parts of Scotland.

The case of another young man, now an ordained mis-

210                          “COMING TO JESUS."

sionary to the heathen. “Reports of the work of God’s
Spirit in America and Ireland interested several of us, and
we began to meet for reading and prayer. I was specially
struck with the earnest joy that the work appeared to create
in the hearts of those who shared in it; and I remember
wishing it should visit ourselves. Mr. Matheson visited our
town, and preached on ‘ the broad and narrow way.’ Some
were impressed; but I felt only the old vague desire. Next
time Mr. M. preached, he said, ‘ There are some of us here
that can lay our heads peacefully on our pillow to-night, in
the assurance that if we should next awake in eternity we
should be with Christ. Friend, can you?’ The question
was for me, and went like an arrow to my soul. I felt that
that was what I could not do; that I was not at peace with
God; that to me to awake in eternity would be to awake in
hell! The words remained with me. From that time I set
myself earnestly to seek the one thing needful; but as to
the way of finding it I was as yet quite in error. I thought
there was a vast amount of performance lying to my hand
before I could be accepted of God. Full pardon seemed to
lie beyond great hills and wastes, which must be crossed
with toilsome steps if ever I was to attain it. All day in
school I used to pray, and when school was over I went
home and prayed through the afternoon. I remember one
day that my ‘ doing ‘ received a special humiliation. A boy,
younger than myself, provoked me so much that one of my
old sinful expressions rushed out against him. I was sorely
pierced; for then my case seemed hopeless, and all my past
endeavours were nullified. Mr. M. and others had warned
us solemnly against entertaining any false groundof comfort;
and that I might be preserved from this was always a special
petition in my cries for pardon. For several weeks I con­
tinued to pray and read, but no light seemed to arise. One
afternoon, when Mr. M. was preaching, he came upon the
expression, ‘ Coming to Jesus.’ ‘ But,’ said he, ‘ some of you
are at a loss to know what coming to Jesus means. I will
explain it.’ My heart acknowledged its own darkest difficulty;
and oh, how eagerly did I listen for the explanation.’ I
thought that now at length I was to learn the way to be
saved. But, alas! no. Seeking for something to do, I did
not receive the message of the gospel, that to look, to trust,

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT.                    211

was to live. In this state of ignorant legality I continued,
though the gospel of a present free forgiveness had been often
declared to me, till one afternoon, whose happy date is fixed
for ever in my memory, I was reading James’s ‘Anxious
Enquirer,’ when I came upon these two precious words—
‘Come unto Me,’ &c. (Matt. xi. 28), and, ‘Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ,” &c. (Acts xvi. 31.) Often had I read
them before, but never till now did I realize them. The
blessed Spirit in that hour testified their truth in my heart,
and I could not refrain from exclaiming, ‘And is this really
I have to do ? is the work really finished ? and have I
but to receive it and be saved ?’ I wondered that I could
have read these words so stupidly before, they seemed so
clear now. Falling on my knees, I thanked God over and
over for such a Saviour and so free a salvation. With joyous
impatience I ran along to the lodging of a young man who
had been one of the first awakened in our company; and
when I met him, I told him with an overflowing heart how
I saw it all now, and how my heart was filled with peace.
That first view of Jesus in his glorious grace can never fade
from my recollection. Often since that afternoon has my
assurance been clouded; but I have always found, that the
only way of peace was to come again, as I did then, in the
character of a helpless sinner to an Almighty Saviour. How
deeply since that time I have wronged the free love of God
only Himself can know; but to the praise of his grace I
must declare, that there is all the former efficacy in the
blood of Jesus to remove the consciousness of guilt. Nor
do I look on sin now with the same regard as once. I can
sincerely say, that in my most essential character a complete
revolution has been effected by the faith of Jesus, and that
now the attainment of likeness to the holy Son of God is
my reigning desire. How sweet is the believer‘s assurance
that the sinful heart he now bewails will soon be removed
for ever. To serve Christ in love, that my soul desires above
all other things. To win other hearts for Him, or to hear of
others winning them, is my joy of joys. May the passion
grow! To Him be all the glory. Amen.”

One more instance must suffice; it is that of a young
man, now a preacher of the gospel, and a successful home
missionary. “ I had heard of the revival work; and being

P 2

212                                   BORN AGAIN.

unhappy, I had serious thoughts of becoming religious and
good. I went to hear Mr. Matheson. The place of meet­
ing was crowded, and I could find a seat only near the
pulpit. The stranger entered. His manner at once attracted
and rivetted my attention ; it was altogether so novel to
me. Never till then had I seen a man in the pulpit,—only
a minister. In his whole bearing there was such a striking
absence of all stiffness and formality. His prayer touched
me : no introduction, no formal conclusion; it was brief,
pointed, direct. It was so solemn, yet so tender. Hearing
such correspondence with the living God I was deeply
solemnized. The text was Matt. vii. 13. He spoke of the
work of grace in other places, of sinners convinced, of
souls saved. I was moved. But when the hand was pointed
towards me in the first pew, when the eye was fixed on me,
when the appeal was made to me as to the state of my soul,
then the arrow, swift and sharp from the hand of Jehovah,
pierced my heart. I trembled. I saw it at once, suddenly,
clearly—I was lost, lost, lost. Enquirers were requested to
remain. I meant to do so, but a young man, who was un­
impressed, pushed me out. Another, a working man, said
to me, ‘Are you going in?’ ‘Ye—es,’ I replied, and we
went in together. Mr. M. laid his hand tenderly on my
shoulder and spoke to me kindly. His tenderness was too
much for me ; it touched my miserable heart. I felt that
God was in righteousness against me, and that I had been
in sin against God. The light that gives conviction and
condemnation was shining in on me. I was standing out in
painful nakedness and solitariness : I was friendless, hope­
less. The first kind touch, the first kind word, burst the
floodgates of my soul. Giving vent to my surcharged feel­
ings I burst into tears. They were the first I had shed for
my soul. We were addressed, and each received a copy of
‘ The Herald of Mercy.’ But I found no rest. Next night
he preached on Rev. iii. 20. Others were awakened: many
wept: I trembled still the more. Five weeks of agonizing
struggle followed. It was a long pain. At one time I
resolved not to rise from my knees till I had obtained
salvation, but my exhausted body failed me. Again I vowed
and vowed that if God would only relieve me, I should serve
Him better in the future. It was a long, bitter, agonizing

DESPISERS.                                      213

search for peace without reference to atonement in Christ
Jesus, during which there was now and then pride of con­
viction and new-gotten religiousness. The grace of God
through righteousness in Christ began now to dawn, softly
and dimly at first. Mr. M. returned to preach; and the
word was with power. One evening the peace of God that
passeth all understanding filled my soul. I felt it was the
sunrise of an eternal day. Floods of light fell on me,—
light stretching up, far up to the throne of God,—light
falling down from his face upon my heart. ‘God is light,
and in Him is no darkness at all.’ There was no fear, no
shadow, no bondage. I was intensely happy. I saw the
work finished, the reconciliation already made, and realized
my own interest in it. Righteously in Jesus I entered into
the presence of God; and graciously I was accepted and
blessed. I believed in Jesus, believed in God, saw grace
righteously and freely offered, and my heart was full of it.
Heaven lay about me. Earth afforded no comparison. It
was a glorious calm. Old things had passed away. I knew
I had entered the kingdom; I was new-born.”

The evangelist was not always a savour of life unto life.
Incidents of a solemn and affecting character occurred, two
or three of which may be here narrated.

One day a woman began to pour contempt on the word
of God, and shut her door in order that she might not
be disturbed by the voice of the preacher. He spoke to
her, and warned her; but in vain. Some time afterward
she took ill, and lay dying. Remorse seized her, and in
the agony of her spirit she spoke of Matheson, and cried
out, “ He told me that God would laugh at my calamity,
and mock me when my fear came; and it is all true.” No
light came. She was a terror to all who saw her die. She
went into eternity in her despair.

A man of violent passions and avowed hatred to godli­
ness opposed the evangelist with much bitterness. One
day he fell a cursing of Duncan Matheson, and died with
the oath on his lips.

A young woman heard him preach from the text, “ These
shall go away into everlasting punishment.” Somewhat im­
pressed at the time, she afterwards resisted the Spirit, and
returned to vanity. Death came unexpectedly, and knocked

214                       VISIT TO ST. ANDREWS.

at her door. She was unprepared. She remembered the
despite she had done to the Spirit of grace, and as she
died uttered with a melancholy voice the dreadful words,
“ These shall go away into everlasting punishment.”

Such facts as these are as marginal notes written by the
finger of Providence on the borders of revelation. We
may not be able to interpret them. None but fools will
despise them.

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