When acting a death led to life

[Do you remember the events and things that led up to your own personal conversion to the Lord?  Many of us can. Often there seems to be a profound tension that builds. And while the whole world may seem to be quiet, inside of our soul, life is at a boil. There is a restlessness, a sense of disquiet, a tension that builds upon itself until… that moment. When all is ready, Grace is offered and received. God has regenerated a heart, a new life begins; a soul has been born in the gates of heaven. Has that happened to you? I pray that it has. –MWP]

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One evening…

…recalls the Rev. Dr. J. H. Wilson, when he was a young man, and sitting in the gallery of the Independent Church, Pastor Cullen, the minister, in applying the text of his sermon, “Thou God seest me,” said, with intense earnestness… “Sailors, write it on your binnacles; merchants, on your counters; carters, on your carts, ‘Thou God seest me;’ –and then turning to the gallery where I was seated, he seemed to fix his eyes on me, and said, “Young man, write it on thy heart, –Thou God seest me.”

That was all he said. But it was an arrow from God’s quiver. I went home wretched, and could not tell why. Days and weeks passed away, and I was unhappy. I read, I prayed, and I wept and laughed, and laughed and wept, like a maniac, and father and mother thought I was going mad. Oh! the remembrance of those days. I cannot account for such feelings. All about me were religious, but none were pious except my dear mother, and her piety was not of the demonstrative cast. I had no sins of a glaring character to mourn over. Ours had been a family of love and obedience, and yet I was not happy.

In this state I continued to hear the good minister, but to no profit. At length the way to peace seemed to open up. I was walking down the principal street of our little town one day, when I met an acquaintance who stopped me, and said, “–Come, now, I want you very much. We are going to act the play of the ‘Heart of Midlothian’ for the benefit of the poor, and Mr. Mullender of the Theatre Royal is to help us. You will make a capital Madge Wildfire. What do you say? The passage, “charity covereth a multitude of sins,” rushed into my mind. “I will,” was the response, and then with all my heart and energy I committed to memory, and practiced for performance.

It suited my romantic nature. Madge was a religious maniac, and I could enter into all her griefs and sorrows and joys with zest. But Madge had to die. On the stage this scene troubled me. “I am mocking death,” said I to myself, when prostrate on the boards. “What if God takes me in this act of solemn mockery?” At that moment a flash of lightning seemed to come across the stage, and with it the words, “–Thou God seest me.”

I could stand it no longer. Rushing behind the scenes, and spoiling the whole play, I put on my daily dress, ran home, went into a summer house in the garden, wept and prayed, and prayed and wept, for a whole night, and until day came in the morning.

Shortly after that, rest was found in Jesus, and a new life, with new aims, hopes, joys, and aspirations, began.