Dear young Friend ,


For His holy Son’s sake God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously hears the prayers of young children even whilst as yet they are very ignorant of His truth.  Such was the experience of Etienne de Grellet, a little French boy of five or six years old, just about two centuries ago.  Disheartened by the difficulties of a long Latin exercise, alone in his room, he looked out upon the beauties of the world and remembered that it was God who had created them all.  The thought arose in his heart - Cannot the same God give me memory also?  He knelt down at the foot of his bed and poured out his soul in prayer to the Lord.  On returning to his lesson he found that he was able to remember it, and thenceforward he learned more easily.  Even in old age, after many years spent in the service of Christ, he remembered with grateful emotion the places in his father’s house where, on his knees, his eyes flowing with tears, he had poured forth his supplications unto God.  Having early learnt to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, he exclaims, ‘Oh, how was my heart contrited (softened, made contrite), while uttering the words, Our Father, who art in heaven.  To be permitted thus to look up to his God, to call Him Father, and to consider himself as His child, filled his young soul with the tenderness of reverential awe.’ *


[* Stephen Grellet, By William Guest, F.G.S.]


Dr. Capadose, the son of a Jewish home, writes thus of himself:-


In my early childhood I had often felt an undefined need of prayer; and when about nine years old, had asked my parents to give me a book of prayers, either in the French or the Dutch language, that I might understand them better.*  I strongly urged my younger brothers and sisters to the same practice; and this was the more remarkable as I had very seldom seen anyone engaged in prayer in my father’s house.  From that time, amid all the changes of my outward life, I never omitted the performance of this duty; and until my conversion to Christianity it constituted all my religious worship.  The prayer I used ended with these remarkable words: I wait for Thy salvation, 0 Lord!  I have preserved the book containing it, and never look upon it without adoring the goodness of that God of my salvation who has condescended to bestow upon me, at a matured age, the blessing that the child of nine years old, hardly knowing what he asked, failed not to solicit from Him every night before he lay down to rest.


[* It is the general custom of the Jews to use the Hebrew language in private as well as public prayer.]


‘During the period in which I was engaged in my studies, I occasionally experienced very peculiar emotions.  A poor woman used to sing psalms in the street on Saturday evenings, and more than once have I left my books to listen to her, overpowered by emotions which I could neither comprehend nor describe.


The Lord,’ he continues, ‘had given me one friend among my near relatives.’  After this friend’s marriage, their intercourse continued, and both being thereto moved by the example and influence of the celebrated Hebrew Christian Professor Bilderdyk - began attentively to examine the Scriptures.  Bilderdyk pointed out to Da Costa,  Dr. Capadose’s friend – ‘that the ancient Jews themselves had acknowledged a plurality of persons in the ineffable unity of God.’  One night,’ says Capadose, ‘when reading the 53rd of Isaiah, I was so much struck with its resemblance to the account of the sufferings of Christ which I had read in the Gospels, that I was almost convinced I had got another Bible instead of my own; being scarcely able to believe that this chapter, which may be truly entitled an abstract of the Gospel, was really in the Old Testament.  How, thought I, can any Jew, after reading this chapter, doubt that Jesus Christ is the Promised Messiah?’


Whilst thus the enquirer’s intellect became convinced, his heart could not be satisfied mere knowledge.  I longed,’ he says, ‘for love.  Then it was that the Sun of righteousness shed abroad in our hearts (the hearts of himself and his friend) the quickening warmth that enables the soul to live the life of God.  I saw that love had led the Saviour to seek me.  I perceived also my own sinful and miserable condition.  In Christ I found my life.’


The young disciple now felt the necessity of confessing his faith. ‘I can record,’ he says, ‘to the glory of God, that the certainty of losing a considerable property (which the event has confirmed) never for a moment entered into the scruples which made me hesitate.’  He dreaded the effect of his decision on the uncle with whom he lived, who treated him as his son, and who was now at an advanced age; and he prayed earnestly to God to open a way.  The opportunity was given.  One day his uncle, who was used to reading the newspaper aloud after dinner, read out the news of a Rabbi’s confession of faith in Christ, and baptism. ‘If this man has acted from self-interest,’ commented the reader, he is worthy of contempt: but if from conviction, he ought to be respected.’  Yes, Uncle,’ cried Capadose in violent agitation, “it is God who makes you feel thus: know that he whom you love with a father’s tenderness is in the same case with this Rabbi.’


Thus was the confession made!  A season of deep trial followed, but at length the friends together received baptism and were admitted members of the church of Christ.  Kneeling in the presence of the congregation, before the God of our fathers, who is the true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we had the unspeakable joy to confess the blessed name of that great God and Saviour who had come to seek and to save us when we were lost.’”


Your affectionate friend,