Brethren Archive

A Sceptic’s Conversion.

by James Boyd

THROUGH God's infinite mercy and gracious ways, I became the child of godly parents, people without any education, and thank God, without any exalted position in this world, and as regards the knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, not a great deal of that.  They were brought up in one of the systems of Christendom, and the amount of Gospel knowledge must have been exceedingly limited, if we may judge by the teaching of one of the hierarchs, who said: "Though salvation was by grace, and not by works, you still have to work as hard to get it, as though it were by works."
But if the hierarchy were ignorant of the grace of God, there were a few humble followers of the Saviour who, though unburdened by that which might be taught in the Universities, through their own reading of the Word and their conversations together, knew God and the Word of His grace better than their teachers, and such became intimate with my parents and were their guides into the true knowledge of the sinner's Saviour.  They knew Himself better than they knew the greatness of the blessings which were theirs in Him.
In this holy atmosphere I was brought up.  Every evening before retiring to rest, a few verses of a Psalm were sung, a Scripture read, and a prayer on bended knees presented to Him who cared for us during the day, and under whose guardianship we were during the silent watches of the night.  To-day and every day, I bless Him with my whole heart for committing me to the care of those who loved Him, and who failed not to acknowledge it in the presence of an unbelieving world.
I did not care for Jesus in those youthful days.  I did not relish the restraint that was put upon my turbulent spirit.  Therefore, I was glad when I was sent into a city some twelve miles distant, that I might learn a trade.  Now I was unfettered and free, as far as paternal restraint was concerned, and I took my own way, and that way was in forgetfulness of God.
Yet I was not altogether able to shake off the teaching I had received in the days of my childhood.  This abode with me and made me at times a most miserable object.  But this was hidden from all but God, and blessed be His Name, from Him nothing can be hidden.  From men, I concealed my misery and wretchedness, and was only known as a wild, wayward, godless sinner, until at length my folly became crowned by infidelity.
What I had learned at home, lay at the bottom of my heart and conscience, a substratum of Divine training, from the promptings and castigations of which there was no escape.  I did my best to batten it down in the depths of my moral being, but nothing could keep its voice from being heard.  My outward ways, however, remained unaltered.
Eventually, in another city, I came to lodge in the house of a religious man, and one who was a believer in Christ.  But one with very little light.  He and I had many a stiff argument, once until about two o'clock in the morning.  In my pride and foolishness, I always came away with the notion that I was victor.  At last, he said: "Take up the Bible and read it for yourself.  If God does not give you to feel that it is His own Word you are reading, no other need attempt to show it to you."
This was the beginning of a little ray of Divine light.  I felt there was a good deal of truth in what he said.  What God has given, can be like nothing else under the sun.  I said to myself, "I will read it, and if it be like any other book on earth, then I am done with it for ever."  A book written by the Creator must be different from every other book written by the creature.  Of this I felt absolutely sure.
I began to read it, anywhere, everywhere, as I opened it at random.  Not so much looking into what I might find in the Book, but rather the way in which my Creator addressed Himself to me.  l read it!  It read me!  l did not search, it searched me. It went down into the depths of my moral being.  I was certain I knew myself better than any other could know me, but the Writer of this Book, I found, knew me better than I knew myself.  I did not go to church nor to preachings of the Gospel.  I went on with my reading of the Scriptures. Things I had heard in my home long ago came back to me with a power I had not felt before.  I knew the way of salvation, that is as far as the letter went; but now there was more than the letter.  The living Word was laying hold on me.  I seemed to be drifting into a new world, and that world was not Christless—it was Christ.  I felt the power of the Word, and not only its power but its sweetness.  I was contending now with those who did not believe the Scriptures.  There was but one thing wanting, and that was scarcely wanting, for I felt I had slidden into it.  I was confessing with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and in my heart believing God had raised Him from the dead; and almost before I was aware, I had made my decision—Christ for me!  I knew He had received me.
My decision for Christ startled quite a few, as many knew what a sceptic I was.  This was on October 19, 1874.  On the 21st of the same month, I was asked to come to aGospel meeting.  It was held in a cottage and two large rooms were packed.  I read the last verse of Matthew 25: "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal," also the tenth verse of the third of Romans: "There is none righteous, no, not one,” and tried to draw attention to the fact that if there were none righteous, we must conclude that no one on that ground could be saved.  When I had spoken a little on this, I turned to 2 Cor. 5. 21, and read: "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,“ pointing out from other Scriptures as well that the believer, though without righteousness of his own, is made the righteousness of God in Christ, the possessor of another righteousness, that of God.  Man, having no righteousness of his own, is made the righteousness of God in Christ when he believes the Gospel.
The Lord Jesus is a Saviour worthy of your trust.  Make His acquaintance now and be at peace (Rom. 5. 1).
“The Golden Towers” John Gray, Ed.
The Herald of Salvation v53 1931.


Guy said ...

For his family, Mr J. Boyd wrote in verse of his conversion.

Where the broad Atlantic brawleth
As it meets the Irish sea,
Where the thundering water calleth
In its power and pride to me,

Where the rugged rocks are battered
By the fury of the waves,
Where are Neptune’s armies scattered
Thro’ bewildering clefts and caves,

Where the seamew’s shriek is ringing
Louder than the tempest’s roar,
Where the wrathful waves are flinging
Foam like snowflakes on the shore,

Where the proud ship bids defiance
To the billows’ boastful power,
Where the elements alliance
Form creation to devour —

It was there I found the Saviour,
Rather there that me He found,
In my blind and base behaviour
Captive in transgression bound.

In His infinite compassion
He of friendless Friend would be;
Never since in such a fashion
Has another looked on me.

Pardon for the creature erring
In His radiant visage shone,
Rich in mercy, judgment sparing,
Spoke He and my guilt was gone;

Drew me by His grace eternal,
Led me by His love divine,
Visions of a sphere supernal
On my spirit caused to shine;

Met in mercy my transgressing,
Purchased me by blood unpriced,
Every spiritual blessing
Gave me in the risen Christ.
Saturday, May 11, 2024 : 04:21

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