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An Atheist and Fabian

MUSGRAVE REID, whose conversion is related in his
         booklet From Atheism to Christ, had been baptised
and confirmed in the Anglican Church.   Through the advent
of a Ritualistic Clergyman to the Church
he attended he
became unsettled in his religious beliefs, and ultimately
became a disciple of Charles Bradlaugh, the atheistical
lecturer.   Afterwards he became secretary of the "Man-
chester Fabian Society,"
secretary of the first "Socialist
in Lancashire, and General Secretary of the
"Independent Labour Party."
  For twenty years he con-
tinued in the maze of unbelief.
   The crisis of his life came about thus.   His employers,
Messrs. D. Ryland & Sons, Manchester, sent him on a
business trip to the United States of America.   He travelled
16,000 miles, and visited sixty-two cities and towns of the
Republic, from Maine to California.
   How he was led to renounce his infidelity is told as fol-
lows: "I was in the railway car, slowly climbing the won-
derful Rocky Mountains.   We had reached an altitude of
15,000 feet.   We had left Colorado 90 degrees in the shade,
and here we were passing through snow-capped pinnacles,
where eagles were sweeping past us as the train slowly
laboured up the heights.   The panorama to a city man,
brought up amidst the bricks and mortar of Manchester,
was overwhelming.   Here I beheld a wonderful cataclysm
of nature.   The ‘Royal Gorge,’ some three miles deep,
lay on one side of the rails over which we were passing
and we were now on the edge of a precipice, and again
mounting up to another peak, until we reached the highest
point.   At this altitude the train climbed so slowly that
all the passengers left the car, and I was alone.   I sat in a
reverie, gazing at the spectacle, whilst I began instinc-
tively feeling about, so to speak, in my mind for an ex-
planation of these wonders.   The first definite thought was,
Surely all this is not the result of fortuitous circumstances,
blind chance, matter and force, or as we glibly say, ‘a
fortuitous concourse of atoms.’
  Something else than the
atomic theory must account for all these wonders.   Could
‘evolution’ explain it all?
  Evolution can give a plausible

case for us while we are studying nature in our chamber
amongst our books, but the immediate contact with nature
[it]self in all [its] rugged beauty speaks to us of the existence
of a higher power than ourselves.

   "Insensibly I found my mind was undergoing a change,
an irresistible feeling of wonder came, and reverence crept
into my thoughts.   I had ever been an honest seeker after
truth, and the thought suddenly flashed into my mind,
‘Might I, after all, have been mistaken?’   I fell on my
knees, and cried, ‘Oh, God, if Thou dost exist, reveal
  I asked for light, and it came like a flood.   The
whole car seemed full of light.   It was the veil torn off my
mind by the Spirit of God.   I felt I was in the presence of
God, and I capitulated without a struggle.   I who had so
long resisted His gracious pleadings, who had rebelled
against His authority so many years, was at last brought
into submission.   I arose from my knees filled with joy,
saying, ‘God is[.]   There had come to me the light which
lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John
1. 9).   There could be no ‘association of ideas,’ as some
would say, to account for this, for as I fell on my knees I
had in my hand one of Ingersoll's books which I had been
reading.   The sudden change simply meant that the Spirit
of God had come into my life in spite of my resistance,
without my seeking, and without the help of man or books,
and I knew that I beheld the glory of God and all His
wondrous works.   Oh, what a revelation, what a revolu-
tion of ideas, what joy and peace to know the unfathomable
love of God!   Was I dreaming, or ill with the fever?   Nay,
neither, for I never felt better in health than at that mo-
ment.   It was my first realisation of the personal presence
of God

   On reaching home he told his friends that he now be-
in the existence of God.   He so spoke of his discovery
that his old infidel friends left him severely alone.   But
It is one thing to believe in the existence of a Supreme
Being, and it is another and a very different thing to know
Him as He is revealed at the Cross of Calvary.   Mr. Reid
became awakened to an apprehension of his guilt and dan-
ger.   His past life of sin and unbelief, of ingratitude and
rebellion against God, made him tremble.   The arch-enemy
of souls suggested that he had been guilty of the "un-

pardonable sin," and the thought so laid hold of him that
he could not sleep.   He bought a Bible, and night after
night, when his wife was in bed, pored over the sacred
page, longing to know if there was Salvation for such a
sinner as he.   He commenced at the first chapter of Gen-
, and read the whole of the Old Testament without
obtaining peace or comfort.   Beginning at the New Testa-
, he read till he reached the marvellous words of
John 3. 16: "For God so loved the world, that [H]e gave
[H]is only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in [H]im
should not perish, but have everlasting life."
  In that
glorious Scripture he learned that God loved the "world,"
therefore He loved him; that He so loved it as to give the
Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die for his crimson
sins that he might not perish but have everlasting life.
The word "WHOSOEVER" included him, and by believing
on the Saviour he had the assurance of Salvation, and
could truthfully say:

"I do believe it, I will believe it,
   I am saved through the blood of the Lamb;
My happy soul is free, for the Lord has pardoned me,
   Hallelujah to Jesus' Name!"

   Mr. Reid made known to others wherever he went what
God had done for him.   Yielding himself unreservedly to
Christ, he devoted himself to making known God's way
of peace.

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