Brethren Archive

The Conversion of a Ritualistic Chorister.

by James Andrew Vicary

HAVING just passed the 75th milestone of my earthly pilgrimage, my mind goes back to the more important period of my spiritual birth, which took place in the autumn of 1854. I had been brought up by a godly grandmother and surrounded with exceptional privileges under the enlightened spiritual teaching of Mr. R. C. Chapman.  Being exceedingly fond of music, singing led me into society which otherwise I should never have entered. It was a memorable Sunday morning in my history when, at nineteen years of age, on my way lo the church in my native town of Barnstaple, I was met by my former Bible-class teacher, who inquired of me where I was going.  My reply was, "to church."  Then came the question, "What are you going to do there?"  I replied that I was to sing in the church choir.  Looking very solemnly in my face, he asked, "Do you sing with the spirit and understanding or merely with the lips?"  I honestly replied, "It's only with the lips that I sing."  God gave my friend a message which was this: ''Remember, James, that singing merely with the lips unaccompanied with the heart is only abomination in the· sight of God."  The arrow of conviction immediately entered through the harness of unbelief in which I was encased.
In the evening of that day, I was found sitting under the gallery of the chapel where I had been formerly a Sunday-school scholar.  What I heard only served to deepen conviction, and so hastening home, I at once retired to my bedroom in agony of soul, and falling down before God, confessed I had sinned against light and love.  Whilst thus broken down under a sense of sin, the Word was brought to my remembrance, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1. 7).  There and then, I believed on Christ, and said, "Thank you, Lord, I believe it," and rising from my knees, I made the house ring as I sang out in the overflowing joy of my heart the words:

" 'Tis done! the great transaction's done!
I am my Lord's, and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine."
''Happy day! Happy day!
When Jesus washed my sins away.
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day.
Happy day! Happy day!
When Jesus washed my sins away."

Fifty-six years have now passed since that eventful day, during which period I have travelled through England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Channel Islands, singing and speaking of Jesus, who is alone worthy to receive all praise.
Will the reader of these lines not take the place of a lost sinner, and accept of Christ as his personal Saviour?  If you do so, you will never have cause to regret it.  "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." J. A. V.
“Fettered Yet Freed” Alex. Marshall, Ed.
The Herald of Salvation v33 1911

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