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A Handful of Stars by Frank Boreham

One of his earliest friends was Lord Garvagh


Mr.

Frederick Charrington's story has been put on record by Guy Thorne. He was the son of the great brewer, the heir to more than a million pounds, and his time was very largely his own. He traveled and formed friendships. One of his earliest friends was Lord Garvagh. They traveled together, and, when they parted, Lord Garvagh asked Charrington if he would grant him one request. 'When you are quite alone,' his lordship pleaded, 'I should like you to read slowly and carefully the third chapter of John's Gospel!' Later on, Charrington met William Rainsford, and the acquaintance ripened into intimacy. 'Do you know what I wish you would do, Fred?' Rainsford said to him one day. 'I wish, when you are by yourself, that you would study the third chapter of the Gospel of John!'

'This is a very curious thing,' Charrington said to himself. 'My old friend, Lord Garvagh, and my new friend, Rainsford, both say exactly the same thing; and they both profess to be saved.'

Thus doubly challenged, he read the chapter with the closest attention, and was arrested by the words: '_Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God!_' 'As I read,' he says, 'light came into my soul,' and he ever afterwards regarded that moment as the turning-point of his whole life.

III

Now, what did these men--these and a hundred thousand

more--see in the strange, mysterious words that Jesus spoke to the aged ruler twenty centuries ago? That is the question, and the question is not a difficult one to answer.

_A new birth!_ To be _born again_! What can it mean? It can only mean one thing. 'I wish,' somebody has sung----

I wish that there were some wonderful place Called the Land of Beginning Again, Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches And all of our poor, selfish grief Could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door, And never put on any more.

The words, if they mean anything, mean that there _is_ such a place. A man _may_ have a fresh start. In describing the greatest change that took place in his life--the greatest change that can take place in any man's life--Frank Bullen says: 'I love that description of conversion as the "_new birth_." No other definition touches the truth of the process at all. So helpless, so utterly knowledgeless, possessing nothing but the vague consciousness of life just begun!' Dr. Blund was thinking of the babes whose first breath he had seen drawn. So innocent; so pastless! Oh, to begin where they were beginning! Oh, to be _born again_!'

Dr. Blund cannot begin where they were beginning. He cannot enjoy again--at any rate in this world--the opportunities of growth and development that were theirs. But he can be _born again_! He can start afresh! Dr. Blund made that discovery on his deathbed, and, in talking of the dead doctor's experience, the young minister made the same discovery a day or two later. He felt his need; he turned in an agony of supplication to the Saviour whom he had so often preached; and he, too, entered into the new life.

'He made the great discovery,' Harold Begbie says. 'It had happened; the longed-for event had come; he stood by himself, all by himself, conscious now of the heart; no longer satisfied either with his own intellect or the traditions of a church. The miracle had happened. He had discovered the helplessness of humanity. He had discovered the need of the soul. He had begun at last to see into the heart of things.' He had been _born again_!


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