« السابقةمتابعة »
might have been feared that he would hesitate when thus suddenly summoned to stand up as a Christian. But he was ready. With equal modesty and decision he rose and began with humble confession of sin, grateful acknowledgment of his joy and gratitude on account of sins forgiven, and then he prayed that all his associates might come to Christ without delay and share in the blessings of salvation. His words were fluent, for he had ready command of language, and his prayer was heard with deep emotions by his companions, and, we may believe, in heaven also, for the work of grace went on and others were brought in. With them he organized a prayer meeting, which was held daily, at noon, behind a haystack, in the midst of the winter season. If the daily noon prayer meetings were held earlier than this, I have not seen any account of them. These boys kept them up, with great interest, regardless of the weather; their young hearts being warm and their petitions earnest for more and more of the Holy Spirit. This was the beginning of our friend's Christian life. In March of the same year, 1841, with thirty others, he made a public profession of religion, uniting with 'the Clove' church, in that neighborhood. Now he was a professed follower of Christ, a soldier of the cross, young but strong in the Lord. His face was set toward heaven, and so was his heart.
“Grace begun in his soul wrought a great and decided change. With the resolute will and energy, which I have mentioned, he had also an irritable temper, and these traits of character made him often overbearing. He had been the leader in the sports of the school, and many had found him too fond of having his own way. But it is the testimony of those who knew him then, that from the time he became a child of God, he was indeed a new creature. Patient perseverance took the place of fitful haste, decision in the right succeeded to a desire to have things to suit himself. Moral courage was soon revealed in his unbending opposition to all that was wrong in the school, even when he was compelled to stand alone. His example was thus a powerful aid in the discipline of the school, and his influence was felt in-doors and out, upon all who were with him. The secret of this great change, and the rapid progress of grace in his soul, was his invariable habit of prayer. Without ostentation, he led a life of constant communion with God; seeking, day by day, the help he needed to overcome indwelling sin, get the victory over himself, and to be qualified for the service of the Saviour.
“During a school vacation, he was at home. His father was not a professor of religion, but Chester was encouraged to conduct family worship, which
he did with readiness. One morning he had made arrangements with a friend for an excursion that required them to make an early start. The horses were at the door. His friend was impatient, and reminded him that his hurry seemed to be over, asking him why he delayed. Righter simply remarked that the family were not quite ready for prayers,
and he would start as soon as they had had morning worship. This friend was a neglecter of religion, and never had been in the habit of attending 'family prayers,' but without saying a word, he took his seat and remained, apparently interested in the service.
“Such an incident serves to show the early decision which Righter had made to be prompt and faithful in the performance of Christian duty, and the habit thus formed grew with him till it became a part of his sanctified nature, an abiding principle which governed him at home and abroad, on land and sea. He was a praying youth and a praying man.
He obtained strength in prayer. Great trials and strong conflicts were before him. Few men have been so soon called to make such sacrifices as he made and to endure such temptations, and if he had not been strong with God, the world and the flesh would have prevailed. Then this record had never been made.”
CHOOSING A PROFESSION_STRUGGLES AND DE
RIGHTER was now at a point in his history where the choice of a profession or pursuit must be made. In the ardor of his first love for Christ and his cause, we would expect him to look at the ministry as his field, and that he would throw himself, heart and soul, into the work of preparation for that high and holy calling. Why should he not?
There were two reasons, at least, that he must meet and answer before he could decide the question that now pressed itself home on his conscience.
He was naturally of a jovial disposition. Fond of fun and frolic when a boy, he did not lose his
love for innocent amusements when he forsook | all that he knew were sinful.
This was now in his way when he thought of entering the hallowed walks of the ministry. His fondness for pleasantry might degenerate into levity. Cer
A GREAT QUESTION.
tainly he was now far from having that sobriety of manner which befits the clerical profession. If he should become a minister, and then dishonor the name and office, by his inconsistent deportment, to the injury of the cause and the ruin of souls, it were better that he had never been born, or that he had turned the current of his life into some channel where his example would be less conspicuous, and so less injurious. But this was not a fatal objection. He had found, by his own experience in the divine life, that grace could overcome nature, and his own good sense assured him that cheerfulness was far more desirable than austerity in the minister of the gospel. He was willing to trust God for help to subdue all that was positively wrong. While he would be a joyful Christian, he did not wish to appear to be anything else. This objection was, therefore, laid aside, but there was one more serious.
The father of Righter, if a Christian, was reserved in regard to his feelings, and made no profession, even to his nearest friends, of being interested, personally, in religion. Possessed of an ample property, and being largely engaged in business, he was a man of the world. Safe in his judgments, but enterprising and successful, he had several distinct branches of business, agricultural, mercantile, and manufacturing, in which he was engaged, with the aid of his