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A Lost Diamond
A QUAINT preacher of the olden days in our country, the Rev. Dan Baker, puts the danger of delay in the way of a story. He tells of a man who was crossing the ocean. He was leaning over the side of the vessel; it was a bright sunny day, and not a wave broke the surface of the water, just a little ripple here and there kissed by the rays of the sun. And the man, as he leaned over the rail of the vessel, was tossing something in the air, something which, when it fell through the sunlight, sparkled with singular radiance and glory; and he watched it so eagerly as he tossed it up and caught it as it fell. He tossed it up again and again and again, and it threw out its marvellous light as it fell through the sunlight.
At last an onlooker came and said, “May I ask what that is that you are tossing up so carelessly?”
“Certainly,” he replied, “look at it, it is a diamond.”
“Is it of much value?” asked the onlooker.
“Yes, of very great value. See the color of it, see the size of it. In fact, all I have in the world is in that diamond. I am going to a new country to seek my fortune, and I have sold everything I have, and have put it into that diamond, so as to get it into a portable shape.”
“Then if it is so valuable, is it not an awful risk you are running in tossing it up so carelessly?”
“No risk at all. I have been doing this for the last half-hour,” said the man.
“But there might come a last time,” said the onlooker; but the man laughed and threw it up again, and caught it as it fell, and again and again, and once more, and it flashed and blazed with glory as it fell through the sunlight, and he watches it so eagerly as it falls. Ah! but this time it is too far out. He reaches as far as he can over the rail of the vessel, but he cannot reach far enough. There is a little plash in the ocean. He leans far over the rail and tries to penetrate with his eager gaze the unfathomable depths of deep blue ocean. Then cries, “Lost! lost! lost! All I have in the world is lost!”
You say, “No man would be so great a fool as that; that story is not true.” That story is true, and the man is here to-night. Thou art the man! That ocean is eternity; that vessel, life; that diamond, your soul, that soul of such priceless value that Christ died to save it. And you have been trifling with it! I come to you to-night and say, “My friend, what is that in your hand which you are playing with so carelessly?”
You say, “It is my soul.”
“Is it worth much?”
“Worth much? More than the whole round earth, ‘for what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’”
“But don’t you think you are taking an awful risk?”
“Oh, no,” you say, “I have been doing this for the last five years, for the last ten, fifteen, twenty years.”
“Yes, but you might do it once too often.”
“Oh, no,” you say, and to-night once more you throw it up. But you may throw it up once too often; it will fall too far out, beyond your reach; there will be a plash, and you will try to look after it; not into the impenetrable depths of the blue ocean, but into the unfathomable depths of the bottomless pit as it sinks and sinks and sinks, and you will cry, “Lost! lost! lost! my soul is lost!” That may be your cry some day. Come to-night, before it is too late, and put your soul where it will be everlastingly safe, in the keeping of the Son of God.
‘‘We Shall be Like Him’’
How well I remember one man — I spent more time and more money on the salvation of that man than on any man I ever tried to lead to Christ. It was very discouraging. He came to me one night away down in sin, about fifty years of age. He came of a good family. He had been well educated, but now he was a common day laborer when he was sober — a complete wreck. He came into a meeting. When almost everybody had gone he came up and said, “I want to ask you something alone.”
I said, “Come this way.”
He leaned over and whispered, “Mr. Torrey “ (I had never met him before that night), “ do you think Jesus Christ can save me?”
I said, “Jesus Christ can save anybody.”
He said, “Do you really think He can save a man as far down as I am?”
I said, “Jesus Christ can save anybody.”
“Well,” he said, “ I will take Him.”
For a little while he went on well. One day I was to go to a dinner at a house where he was invited also. My wife and I had nearly reached the house when, at the bottom of the block of houses, we saw a young fellow running out of the house up the street. He came to me and said, “Mr. Torrey, C. is drunk.” My wife thought very much of him, and she turned to me and almost burst into tears and said, “Oh, Archie, whom can we trust?”
I replied in one word, “God! You cannot trust C. You cannot trust any man, but you can trust God.”
We got to the house and found him raging. He wanted to get out, but they had locked him in a room. I went into the room and stood between him and the door. He was a great, big, burly fellow, and I said to him, “You cannot go out.”
He cried, “Let me out.”
I said, You cannot go out. You are not going to get out until you are sober.”
He said, “That is not fair. You know I would not strike you. You know I could throw you, and you know I won’t touch you.”
I said, “You cannot go out.”
At last he lost all control of himself, and he made a rush for me, and there were heads and arms flying around the room for about half a minute. Then there was a sudden crash, and I was sitting on top. He was a much stronger man than I, one of the most powerful men I ever knew. I have heard that man when he was angry, grind his teeth so that you could hear it across this hall. I have seen that man, when under the influence of liquor, strike an iron fence with his bare fist. It was God that gave me the victory. He was subdued for the time being. I held him there until he got calmed down. “Now,” I said, “I have to call and see a dying woman. I cannot leave you here. I cannot very well take you to see a dying woman, but you have got to go along.” I took him along as far as the door of the house where the woman was dying, and I said, “Sit down on that threshold, and wait there until I come.” When I came back he was fast asleep. I got him home all right.
This sort of thing went on for months and years. I moved to Chicago. I sent for him to come to Chicago, where I got a position for him. He did first-rate for a while, and then he got drunk, and he came to see me and he said: “That was not fair at all the time you threw me in Minneapolis. You know you cannot throw me.”
I said, “I am not going to.” That sort of thing went on for months and years; but I made up my mind that, by the grace of God, no matter what it cost in money, and no matter what it cost in time and patience, I was going to see that man saved. For some time I lost sight of him. One night I was in my pulpit in Chicago, preaching. I had already begun the service when I saw C. coming into the building. I went down to where he was sitting, and said, “Good-evening, C, I am glad to see you.” He stayed to the after-meeting.
The next day I was going to Minneapolis, and I took him along with me. He said, “Mr. Torrey, there is one thing that has cured me. I thought you would never want to see me again, but I hardly had got into the building, and had sat down away in the back, when you walked down from the platform and came to speak to a miserable tramp like me. That was too much!”
Do you know, from that day C. got his feet on the Rock!
Years passed, I was in Minneapolis again. I was in a big restaurant, when I saw C. come in at the farther end, and I went up to him. He said, “I was looking for you. I heard you were in town. Don’t laugh at me.”
I said, “I am not going to laugh at you. What’s up?”
He said, “I want to ask you something. Don’t laugh at me.”
I said, “I am not going to laugh at you. What do you want?”
He said, “I want to be married. I am engaged to a right good Christian woman and I want you to marry us.”
I said, “I am your man. I’ll do it.” I married him. You say it was pretty risky, but his feet had been on the Rock now for a good while. He married that Christian woman, and they built up a happy Christian home.
The other day my wife wrote to a friend of ours, who had gone to Minneapolis, to know how C. was getting on — I think he is her pet of all the drunkards who have come under our roof. This lady wrote back, “He is doing well. He is leading a Christian life.”
And, friends, the time is coming when poor, wrecked, ruined C. transformed by the power of the returning Christ will be like Him, “For when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is;” and when this man that I wept over and worked for and spent money on all these years, when he meets his Christ, and his salvation is indeed complete, he will be so like his Master that we can hardly tell the two apart.
Killed by Shame
Oh, the awful heart-breaking agony of shame. In America, in New York State, we had a cashier in a bank, who was in a hurry to get rich, so he appropriated the funds of the bank and invested them, intending to pay them back. But his investment was a failure. For a long time he kept the books so as to blind the bank examiner, but one day when the bank examiner was going over the books he detected the embezzlement. He called in the cashier — he had to acknowledge his defalcation. He was arrested, tried, and sent to State’s prison. He had a wife and a lovely child, a sweet angel-like little girl.
Some time after his arrest and imprisonment the little child came home sobbing with a breaking heart. “Oh,” she said, “mother, I can never go back to that school again. Send for my books.
“Oh,” she said, “my darling,” thinking it was some childish whim, “of course you will go back.”
“No,” she said, “mother, I can never go back. Send for my books.”
She said, “Darling, what is the matter?”
She said, “Another little girl said to me to-day, ‘Your father is a thief.’”
Oh, the cruel stab! The mother saw that she could not go back to school. The wound was fatal. That fair blossom began to fade. A physician was called in, but it surpassed all the possibilities of his art. The child faded and faded, until they laid her upon her bed, and the physician said, “Madam, I must tell you this is a case in which I am powerless; the child’s heart has given way with the agony of the wound. Your child must die.”
The mother went in and said to her dying child, “Darling, is there anything you would like to have me do for you?”
“Oh,” she said, “yes, mother, send for father. Let him come home, and lay his head down on the pillow beside mine as he used to do.” Ah! but that was just what could not be done. The father was behind iron bars. They sent to the governor of the State, and he said, “I have no power in the matter.” They sent to the warden of the prison. He said, “I have no power in the matter.”
But hearts were so touched that they trumped up a case and summoned him as a witness. So they made arrangements whereby the father was suffered to come home under a deputy-warden. He reached his home late at night, and entered his house. The physician was waiting. He said, “I think you had better go in to-night, for I am afraid your child will not live till morning.” The father went to the door and opened it softly.
The child looked quickly up. “Oh,” she said, “I knew it was you, father. I knew you would come. I have been praying God to send you. Father, come and lay your head beside mine upon the pillow just as you used to do.” And the strong man went and laid his head upon the pillow, and the child lovingly patted his cheek, and died. Killed by shame. Men and women, hell is the place of shame, where everybody is dishonoured.
A Well-Known Entertainer Becomes a Soul Winner
One night in London two men went to the theatre and presented passes for entrance. For some reason or other, the man at the door did not recognize them and the passes were refused. One of the men was a very prominent entertainer and thought he was well-known in the theatrical profession everywhere, and this refusal to accept the passes irritated him greatly, and he left the theatre with his friend in a rage. They took the Kensington Avenue bus, and as they were passing the Royal Albert Hall, he noticed the signs of the mission. He remembered he had promised his sister that he would come and hear me, so he suggested to his friend that they get off the bus and come into the hall that night. His friend consented and in they came. He was not much interested in the singing, though he himself did a good deal of work in his profession along that line, but the sermon went right to his heart. He left the Royal Albert Hall to think the matter over. His sister, who was an earnest Christian woman, had left on his mantelpiece a little tract (a report of a sermon on “Hell” that I had delivered in London). He took it down and read it. It brought him under deepest conviction of sin, and he then and there fell on his knees and surrendered himself to God.
The next night he came to see me at the Royal Albert Hall, and told me of his decision to accept Christ. He made a public profession that night before the great crowd in the hall. He told me he could not go on and take the entertainments for which he was booked the next day at St. George’s Music Hall. He said, “I cannot go and entertain those people and make them laugh when I know they are going to hell.” He tried to get into communication with the stage manager, but could get no reply from him either by letter or telegraph. He went down to the Hall and asked to be let off from his engagement.
The manager replied, “I will let you off on one condition, and one condition only, and that is that you will go out and tell the waiting crowd why you are not performing.”
He said, “I will do that.”
He went out on the stage and said, “Friends, I cannot give my entertainment this afternoon. I was converted last night at the Torrey-Alexander mission.”
The crowd burst into applause, thinking it was a new joke that he was getting off. He stopped the applause and said, “It is no joke. I have been converted. I cannot stand here and make you people laugh when I know that many of you are on the road to hell.” The audience stopped their applause and became serious. Many of them were touched by his earnestness and his bravery. At least one woman was converted then and there in that audience.
When he went off the stage, the manager offered the hall for the use of Gospel meetings the next week. He accepted the offer. Meetings were held in that music hall all through the week, and there were many interesting conversions, including at least one person connected with the nobility. He was afterwards invited ail over England and Scotland and Ireland and Wales to bold evangelistic meetings. A great London magazine had an article upon his conversion and said, “Two or three such conversions as that would move all London.”
Guilty of High Treason
ONE day in Maryborough, over in Australia, a fine-looking man came to see me, an unusually fine-looking man, with splendid physique and dome-like forehead. He said, “I want to talk with you,” and I said, “Very well, take a seat, sir.”
He said, “I want to know what you have against me.”
“What I have against you,” I exclaimed, “I don’t know you.”
“I mean this; I am not a Christian; I don’t pretend to be a Christian, but I am a moral, upright man, and no one can deny it. Now,” he said, “I would like you to tell me what you have against me.”
I said, “You are not a Christian?”
“No, sir,” he replied. “You have not taken Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, and surrendered your life to Him as your Lord and Master, and confessed Him as such before the world, and given your life to Him?”
“No, sir,” he replied.
“Then,” I said, “ I charge you, sir, with high treason against your King. Jesus Christ is your King, by Divine appointment, and I charge you, sir” — and I looked him right in the eye — “I charge you, sir, with the crime of high treason against your divinely appointed King.”
A dark cloud came over the man’s face. He got up, and left the room, scarcely saying a word. As he went out the door he never looked back. He walked down the long walk without ever looking back. Out of the front gate, never looking back.
Months passed away; we had been over to Tasmania and conducted a mission there, and had returned, and I was preaching in Ballarat, about forty miles away from Maryborough. After the service, a fine-looking man came to me, and said, “Do you remember me?”
I knew his face, but I could not remember where I had seen him. I said, “I have seen you somewhere, but I cannot place you.”
He said, “Do you remember charging a man with high treason?”
I said, “I have charged many a man with high treason.”
“Yes,” he said; “but do you remember charging a specific man with high treason?” Then he began to tell me his story, and I commenced to gather who he was. He said, “I am the man, and I have come way to Ballarat, sir, to tell you that you will never charge me with high treason again;” and he held out his hand, and I held out mine, and he took mine in his mighty grip — and it was a mighty grip !— and he said, “Down!” and he dropped on his knees, and I dropped on to mine, and he said, “Lord Jesus, I hand in my allegiance; I give up my treason; I take Thee as my King.”
You men ought to do it to-night. He is your King, and every man and woman among you that does not accept Him and acknowledge Him as such to-night I charge you with high treason against Heaven’s King.
How D. L. Moody Became a World-Wide Evangelist
Mr. Moody once told me this story long after the incident occurred. He went over to London in 1872, when his church lay in ashes, and while his new church in Chicago was building, not in order to preach, but to listen to others who, he thought, could preach better than he. One Sunday he was prevailed upon to preach. He got up that Sunday morning, and tried to preach. “I never had such a hard time preaching in my life. Everything was perfectly dead. I said to myself as I tried to preach, ‘What a fool I was to consent to preach. I came here to listen, and here I am preaching.’ As I drew towards the end of my sermon, I felt a sense of relief that I would be through in a few minutes. Then,” he said, “the awful thought came to me, ‘You have got to do it again to-night.’ I tried to get out of my night meeting, but I could not. I had promised to preach that night and I must keep my word.
“I went back to preach that night. The building was packed with people. There was a new atmosphere. The powers of an unseen world seemed to have fallen upon the audience. As I drew towards the close, I became emboldened to give out an invitation; so when I finished my sermon, I said, ‘ If there is a man or woman here who will to-night accept Jesus Christ, please stand up.’ About five hundred people arose to their feet. I thought there must be some mistake, and I asked the people to be seated. Then I repeated the invitation in a stronger form and they all arose again. Again I asked them to be seated, still thinking there must be some mistake. ‘Now,’ I said, ‘if there are any of you who really mean to accept Christ to-night, please pass into the vestry and your pastor and I will meet you there.’ They commenced to stream in through the two doors. I said, ‘Mr. L., who are these people?’ He said, ‘Don’t know.’ ‘Are they your people, Mr. L.?’ ‘Some of them.’ ‘Are they Christians?’ ‘Not so far as I know.’
“We went into the vestry and I stood up and gave out a stronger invitation, and I asked all that really meant to accept Christ then and there to stand up. They all arose, about five hundred of them. I asked them to be seated again. I still thought there must be some mistake, so I said, ‘ I am going to leave London to-morrow for Dublin, but your pastor will be here to-morrow night. If you really mean it come back and meet him.’ I went to Dublin. No sooner had I got there than I received a telegram from Mr. L. It was Tuesday morning and he said, ‘ There was a bigger crowd out Monday night than Sunday. A great revival has broken out in my church. You must come back and help me.’“
Mr. Moody hurried back to London. There was a revival there that added hundreds of souls to the churches of North London. That was before he came here in 1873 for his great work — his introduction to England.
When he had finished the story I said to him, “Mr. Moody, somebody must have been praying.”
“Oh,” he said, “didn’t I tell you that? That is the point of the story. There was a woman in the congregation that morning who had an invalid sister. She went home and said to her, ‘Who do you think preached for us this morning?’ and her sister guessed all the preachers who were in the habit of exchanging with Mr. L., and she said, ‘No, Mr. Moody from Chicago.’ When she said that, the invalid turned pale. She said, ‘What, Mr. Moody from Chicago? I read about him some time ago in an America paper, and I have been praying God to send him to London and to our church. If I had known he was going to preach this morning, I would have eaten no breakfast. I would have spent the whole time in prayer. Now, sister, go out of the room, lock the door, send me no dinner; no matter who comes, don’t let them see me. I am going to spend the whole afternoon and evening in prayer.’” And while Mr. Moody stood in the pulpit where all was coldness and death in the morning, that bedridden saint was holding him up in prayer before God. And God, who delights to answer prayer, poured out His Spirit. While the multitude saw Mr. Moody, God was looking at that bedridden saint.
Of Course There’s a Hell
Another reason why I believe that there is “a wrath to come,” is that my common sense says so.
Look here, here is a man who grows rich by over-reaching his neighbours, grows rich by robbing the widow and the orphan. He does it by legal means. Oh, yes, he is too cunning to come within reach of the law. But he grows rich by making other people poor. He increases in wealth and is honoured and respected. When he goes down the streets in his magnificent equipage, the gentleman on the streets turns and says to his son: “There goes Mr. So-and-so, a man of rare business ability, a man who is now one of our leading men of capital. I hope, my boy, when you grow up you will be as successful as he.” He lives in honour, dies in honour, dies respected by everybody — almost. And the victims of his rapacity, the victims of his oppression, the victims of his dishonesty lie yonder, bleaching in the potter’s field, where they have gone prematurely because of his robbery. Do you mean to tell me that there will not be a day when these men who have lived on wealth wrung from the poor widow and orphan will not have to go before a righteous God whose eyes are not blinded by a few thousands or by millions given in philanthropy or to the Church and answer for the infamy of their conduct and receive what they never received in this world, the meet reward of their dishonesty? Of course there is a judgment day; of course there is a hell. If there is not, then there ought to be.
Look here, here is a man who goes through life, never giving God one thought from one year’s end to another. He leaves God out of his business, leaves God out of his social life, leaves God out of his study, leaves God out of his pleasures. God’s holy day, the Sabbath, he makes a day of selfish pleasure. God’s holy Book, the Bible, he never opens, or even scorns. God’s holy Son, Jesus, he tramples under foot. And thus the man lives, and thus he dies, going through the world ignoring the God that made him, and gave His Son to die upon the Cross to save him. Do you mean to tell me that there will not be a day when that man will have to go up before a righteous God and answer these questions: “What did you do with My holy day, the Sabbath? What did you do with My holy Word, the Bible? What did you do with My holy Son, Jesus?” Of course there is a hell, if there is not there ought to be. And you and I need a hiding-place from it, every one of us, for every one of us has sinned and come short of the glory of God.
“I Have Heard the Biggest Joke”
On our first visit to Liverpool, a well known business man (manager of eighty-nine butcher shops) was asked by his wife to accompany her to the meeting in Philharmonic Hall a certain evening. He consented to go but with no intention of keeping his promise. He was far more interested in prize-fights than he was in evangelistic meetings. He was known all over the city as a patron of prize-fights and had been a referee in many of them. When the evening to accompany his wife to the mission came, he found there was a great prize-fight on. He tried to see if there wasn’t some way out of taking his wife to the hall, and slipping away to go in to the fight. He tried being gruff to her, but this made no difference, she held him to his promise. Finally he said, “If I promised you to go, of course, I’ll take you.”
When they got to the hall, they found the main floor reserved for men and the women were asked to go to the gallery. “Now,” thought he, “my chance for escape has come,” so he said to his wife, “You go into the gallery, and I’ll slip in down here,” but she knew him too well to be fooled that way, and insisted that he go into the gallery with her. He went but very much against his will. In spite of himself, he was soon interested.
The next night he slipped out of the house without saying a word to his wife and made his way to the Philharmonic Hall alone. The singing was in full swing when he reached the hall. Soon after getting his seat, he heard the men singing very softly,
“See! from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
He was completely overcome. He saw Jesus Christ on the cross for him, and forgetting the crowd and everything about him, he fell on his knees and sobbed. All through the evening the vision of Christ on the cross for him was before his eyes. He heard little of the sermon. He was occupied with but one thing, his Saviour dying for him.
When the invitation was given out, he was the first to come to the front and profess his acceptance of Christ. He went home and told his wife that he had accepted Christ. To his surprise, she was not surprised. She said, “I knew you would do it, Ted. I have been praying for you for years, and recently we have been holding prayer-meetings for your conversion, and I knew that God would answer my prayer.”
He became an active worker at once. Was constantly testifying in private and public to the saving power of Christ. Wherever he could find a mission going on, he would go and give his testimony. He was much in demand among the missions and churches to go and tell the story.
A former comrade met him one day on the street and said, “Ted, I have heard the biggest joke. I heard you were converted.”
He replied, “Didn’t they tell you the rest of it? The rest of it is the best part of the joke.”
“No, what is the rest?”
“The rest of it is, it’s true,” and immediately he preached unto him Jesus.
About fifteen months afterwards we went to Liverpool for the second mission, and this man was one of the best workers we had. He was constantly in attendance and constantly working to bring others to Christ. He bought a wagonette to bring people to the hall, and when they would try to excuse themselves from going, he would say, “If I drive around for you, will you go?” In this way he was able to bring many of his friends and neighbours to Christ.
One night I called on him for a testimony. He responded gladly and told in a thrilling way what the Lord Jesus had done for him. The man who was over him in the employ of the great firm he represented happened to be in the building and heard this testimony. After the meeting he came to him and said, “It is all very well your being a Christian, but if you are going around making a fool of yourself in this way, you will lose your position.”
For a moment he was nonplussed and then replied, “I must be true to the Lord Jesus no matter what it costs, even if it costs me my position.” It did not cost him his position. On calm reflection his superior thought better of his foolish threat.
“The Fire is in the Fifth Story, I’m in the Sixth’’
Years ago in Minneapolis, the leading paper was the Minneapolis Tribune, published in a magnificent six or seven-story building, the finest newspaper building at that time in the Northwest. I had occasion every week to go into the upper stories of that building to see editorial friends. But there was one great defect in that great building which I had never noticed. The defect was this, that the stairway went right round the elevator shaft, so that if a fire broke out in the elevator shaft escape would be cut off by the stairway as well as by the elevator. That very thing happened. A fire broke out in the elevator shaft, and it commenced to sweep up the shaft, story by story, cutting off escape by the elevator and cutting off escape by the stairway as well. But they had a brave elevator boy, who went up through the smoke a number of times until he got a large number of men down from the upper stories, and almost all the rest escaped by the lire-escape outside the building or by the stair.
But away up in the sixth story there was a man, a despatcher for the Associated Press. He was urged to escape, but he refused to move. There he sat by his instrument, telegraphing to all parts of the country that the building was on fire. He could have gone out of the building by the fire-escape, and across the road to an instrument there, and could have done just as well; but, like a typical newspaper man, he wanted to do something sensational, and so there he sat telegraphing the news. Besides a short time before at the time of the Johnstown flood, when the dam of the river was breaking, a woman sat in a telegraph office below the dam telegraphing down the Conemaugh River to the people at Johnstown that the dam was breaking and that they had better flee for their lives. But she had remained at her post till the dam broke and swept her away into eternity and her bravery and self-sacrifice had been heralded over the world and he wished to match her brave deed. But she had done it to save life. This man sat there quite unnecessarily, merely because of his desire for notoriety.
“I am in the Tribune building,” he telegraphed, “in the sixth story, and the building is on fire. The fire has now reached the second story; I am in the sixth.” In a little while he sent another message: “The fire has now reached the third story; I am in the sixth.” Soon he telegraphed: “The fire has reached the fourth story ; I am in the sixth.” Soon again the message came over the wire: “The fire has reached the fifth story; I am in the sixth.”
Then he thought it was time to leave; but, in order to do this, he had to cross the hallway to another room and a window to reach the fire-escape. He went to his door and opened it, and, to his dismay, found that the fire was not in the fifth story but the sixth and that the hallway was full of smoke and flame, which, the moment he opened the door, swept into the room. He shut the door quickly. What was he to do?
The stairway, the elevator, and the fire-escape were all cut off; but he was a brave man, and would not give up easily. He went to the window and threw it up. Down below to one side stood a great crowd, six stories down. They could not reach him with a ladder. They could not get under him to spread a net to catch him, if he jumped. There he stood on the window-sill, not knowing what to do.
But presently he looked up. Above his head was a long wire guy-rope that passed from the Tribune building to the roof of another building across a wide opening. Below him was a chasm six stories deep, but brave man that he was, he caught hold of the guy-rope, and began to go hand-over-hand across that chasm. The people down in the street looked on in breathless suspense. On and on he went, and then he stopped. The people below could hardly breathe. Would he let go? No. On and on he went, and again he stopped, and again the crowd below gasped. “Will he let go?” He took one hand off the wire and hung high in air by one hand. “Will he let go with the other hand? Is his strength all gone? Or will he replace the other hand further forward?” The suspense is awful, but only for a moment. The fingers of the other hand loosen and down he comes through the air tumbling, tumbling, tumbling through those six stories of space, crushed into a shapeless mass below. All through mere unnecessary neglect!
Men and women, you are in a burning building to-night, you are in a doomed world; but thank God, there is a way of escape, but only one, Christ Jesus. That way is open to-night, but no one knows how long that way will be left open. I beg of you, do not neglect it, and then when it is too late lay hold on some poor guy-rope of human philosophy, and go a little way, and then let go, and plunge, not six stories down, but on and on and on through the awful unfathomable depths of the gulf of eternal despair. Men and women, turn to Christ to-night! “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”
We have in America a devoted Christian woman of culture, refinement, and position, with a heart full of love to the most outcast and abandoned. She has devoted much of her life and strength to getting matrons appointed in jails and lockups for the reception and charge of female prisoners. In one city they said to her, “Mrs. Barney, no woman can manage the class of women with whom we have to do.”
Mrs. Barney replied, “You never had a prisoner that I could not manage.”
“We would like to have you try your hand on ‘Old Sal!’” was the laughing reply.
“I would like to,” replied the gentle lady. “Well, the next time we have her under arrest, we will send for you.”
Not long after, early one morning, Mrs. Barney received word that “Old Sal” was under arrest, and she hurried down to the lockup. She asked to be shown to “Old Sal’s” cell. The sergeant at the desk protested that it was not safe. “Look there,” he said to Mrs. Barney, pointing to four policemen with torn clothes and faces, “ there is a specimen of ‘Old Sal’s’ handiwork. It took those four men to arrest her and she left them in that shape.”
“Never mind,” said Mrs. Barney, “show me to her cell.”
“Well, if you must go an officer must go with you.”
“No, I will go alone. Just let the turnkey open the door, and I will go to her cell alone.”
Before going down, Mrs. Barney asked the sergeant at the desk for “Old Sal’s” right name. “Why,” he said, “we always call her ‘Old Sal.’”
“Yes,” said Mrs. Barney, “but I wish her right name. What is her right name?”
“It is a long time since we first booked her, and we always book her now as ‘Old Sal.’”
“Look up her right name,” said Mrs. Barney.
The sergeant went way back through the books and found “Old Sal’s” proper name. The turnkey opened the door and pointed to her cell down the corridor. When Mrs. Barney reached the door, she saw a wild creature with gray, dishevelled hair, torn garments, and glaring eyes, crouching in the corner of the cell, waiting to spring upon the first policeman that should enter. “Good-morning, Mrs. ——- ,” said Mrs. Barney, calling her by her true name.
“Where did you get that name?” said the poor creature.
Without answering her question, Mrs. Barney said, “Sarah, do you remember the first time that you were committed here?”
“My God, don’t I?” she cried. “I spent the whole night crying on the floor of my cell.”
“Suppose,” said Mrs. Barney, “there had been some kind Christian woman here to receive you that night and to have treated you gently do you think your life would have been any different?”
“Altogether different,” she replied.
“Well,” said Mrs. Barney, “I am trying to get them to appoint a woman in this lockup to receive young girls when they are brought here for the first time, as you were when you were brought here that first night. Will you help me?”
“I will do all that I can,” she said. All the time Mrs. Barney had been drawing nearer, and was now kneeling by her side upon the cell floor, gathering up her torn and grizzled hair, fastening it up with pins taken out of her own hair, pulling together the torn shreds of her garments, and fastening them with pins taken from her own garments.
The work was now done, and Mrs. Barney rising to her feet said, “Sarah, we are going into the court-room. If you will be good, they will appoint a woman in this lockup. Shall I go in on your arm, or will you go in on mine?”
The strong woman looked at Mrs. Barney, and said, “I think I am stronger than you. You had better go in on my arm.” And into court they went, the gentle lady leaning on the arm of the hardened old criminal. “Old Sal” restrained herself through the whole trial, and answered the judge’s questions pleasantly.
She did forget herself once and swear at the judge, but immediately begged his pardon. Everybody was amazed at the transformation. A woman was appointed as matron of the jail, but best of all Sallie got her feet upon the Rock of Ages, and to-day, “Old Sal” is in the glory. Love had conquered. It always will.
God Silences a Scoffer
On the 31st day of May, 1904, four young men were playing cards two blocks from the Chicago Avenue Church. They were sober, industrious men above the average intelligence, but not Christians. At the conclusion of their game of cards, they got to discussing religion and one of them, a shipping clerk with a leather firm on Illinois Street, said, “I don’t believe there is a God. I believe something like Ingersoll. I don’t believe there is a God, and I won’t believe there is a God until He proves it to me, but if He proves it to me by striking me deaf and dumb, I will believe it.”
There was silence for a moment or two. Then he threw up his hands, staggered and fell to the floor unconscious. At first his companions thought it was a joke. Then they became frightened and ran to him and tried to pick him up, and found him unconscious. One ran for a doctor and another ran down-stairs for the landlady and told her that Julian had fainted. The doctor soon came. He thought at first that the young man was shamming but soon became convinced that he was actually deaf and dumb. He was unable to account for the condition of things. The young man was not of a nervous disposition, was strong physically, and right in his mind. When he came to himself he tried to talk, his lips moved but no sound came from them. Then they handed him a pencil and paper. The first thing he wrote on the paper was, “I want my Bible.” The next thing he wrote was, “ I want my mother.”
The next morning two ladies came to my assistant, Rev. W. S. Jacoby (I was out of the country at the time) and asked him to go over to see the young man. Mr. Jacoby went over about eleven o’clock. Julian sat at the table calm, quiet, well dressed, showing to all appearances that he was above the average. He shook hands with Mr. Jacoby and the people wrote on a piece of paper that Mr. Jacoby was a minister. Mr. Jacoby sat down at the table beside him and prayed God that He might guide him in what he should say. After this prayer he wrote on a piece of paper, “God loves you.”
Julian wrote back, “I know it.”
Then Mr. Jacoby wrote, “What did you do?”
He wrote, “I did what I should not have done.”
“Why did you do it?”
“I did not believe there was a God. I believed what I said. Now I am satisfied there is a God, and I am wanted in His service.”
“Why do you believe there is a God?”
“Because I said I would not believe there was a God unless He struck me dumb. A look from His countenance struck me dumb; a look from His eye was as a flash of lightning.” (He had written on the paper to his companions, he had seen the flash and asked them, “Did you see the flash?” They had not seen it. It was for him alone.)
Mr. Jacoby wrote, “Did you see anything as you fell to the floor?”
“Are you sorry, and why?”
“I am, because I feel I did very wrong.”
“Do you believe that there is a God?”
“Do you believe that God hears prayer?”
Again Mr. Jacoby wrote, “God loves you.”
He wrote, “I believe He does, for I have heard a whisper calling me to His work for many years, but I turned a deaf ear to it.”
Mr. Jacoby then related to him part of his own experience, and how God had revealed Himself to him. How the voice of the Spirit had said to him once in a time of sickness, “Down on your knees,” and how he had resisted that Spirit but how God had not left him but again by His Holy Spirit called him and he had come.
Again Mr. Jacoby wrote, “God loves you, and He is filling my heart with sympathy for you. He would not do this unless He was going to save you.”
The young man wrote as an answer, “I feel that way about it but I feel I shall remain this way (deaf and dumb) until I have prepared to go and work for Him. My life is His to use as He sees fit. I shall go home and apply all my time in learning of Him and when I am fit to do His work, I shall be all right.”
Mr. Jacoby wrote, “I believe the first thing is to know Jesus Christ as a Saviour.” He then showed him John 6:37, “Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” He read it and nodded his head.
Mr. Jacoby then turned him to Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” He took his pencil and marked this passage in the Bible. He was then shown John 5:24, “Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” Pointing his finger at the word “hath,” Mr. Jacoby wrote, “The work is done, not will be or shall be, but ‘Hath’ is in the present tense and means that we have eternal life.” Again he nodded his head.
Then he wrote, “I believe now there is a God. I also believe that Jesus Christ died to save all sinners. I feel that I am accepted because I believe Him and trust Him, but there is work for me to do.”
He was then shown Isaiah 53:6, and after that he was pointed to Acts 13:38, 39 (“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things,” Mr. Jacoby pointed his finger at the “all” in order that he might see that God would forgive him for all he had done.
Then he turned to Ps. 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgression from us.”
He then showed him John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Pointing to the word “Sons,” Mr. Jacoby wrote, “A child has a right to call God Father.”
He then showed him other passages that would enable him to remember that God would keep him from every temptation and keep him from all sin: 1 Cor. 10:13 ; Jude 24 ; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 Peter 1:5.
He read all these very eagerly as he was shown them.
Mr. Jacoby then asked him, “Do you know you are saved ? You write that you feel you are saved. Do you believe God has forgiven you ? Are you saved?”
“What makes you think so?”
“Because I am contented.”
“How long have you thought so?”
“Since I have believed in Him.”
“Why do you think so?”
“Because I know He will save if I trust Him, and I do trust Him.”
“How long is that?”
“Since you have shown me His many promises.”
He was then asked to read Rom. 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“Do you believe you are saved?”
He wrote, “I believe I am saved.” He then drew his pencil through the word “believe,” and wrote the word “know” over it.
He made a confession of the Lord Jesus Christ before his friends in the next room. By standing up in the doorway Mr. Jacoby would speak the words so they could hear and then write them so he could read them, and he answered each question with a nod.
“You believe there is a God?”
He nodded, yes.
“Do you receive Jesus as the Son of God, your Saviour?”
“You believe He saves you?”
“You thus publicly confess Jesus Christ as your Saviour?”
“Yes,” he wrote, “ I am perfectly satisfied.”
The physician who attended him made this statement regarding the case afterwards, “It would not be remarkable if he had been merely stricken speechless under certain conditions of hysteria, but in such an event there would have been physical conditions that he did not have. He seemed to be in full possession of his faculties, his ideas were coherent, and his general health was good.” The medical man could find no physical conditions or symptoms which would lead to the sudden loss of speech. It was evidently an act of God. An act of mercy more than an act of judgment.
His speech was restored to him the following July. His first words were, “The Lord be praised,” and after this his lips continued to move and he was repeating the words of the twenty-third Psalm.
He is now preparing for the ministry of the Gospel.
“Is Not God’s Word as Good as Mine?”
Preaching one night in Minneapolis in my own church on the text “Quench not the Spirit,” the power of God came in a wonderful way upon the audience. When I stepped down from the pulpit, I found in one of the front pews four persons kneeling in great distress of soul, two brothers and two young ladies whom they had brought with them to the meeting. These brothers came from an utterly godless family and were regarded as hard young men, but the Spirit of God had taken hold of them that night in mighty power. Three other workers spoke to three of the four who were kneeling in prayer and brought them out into the light, and I undertook to talk to the older of the men. He was in great agony of soul and listened attentively as I pointed him to the passages of the Word of God that showed how Jesus Christ had borne all his sin in His own body on the Cross, and how if he would believe in Christ, he would have pardon at once. He claimed to accept Christ but he found no peace, and left the building in great distress.
He was present again the next night, and again I talked with him. He claimed to have accepted Christ, but did not believe that his sins were pardoned. I took him to John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” and had him read it over and over again. I said to him, “Hector, who does God here say hath everlasting life?”
He said, “He that believeth on the Son.”
I said, “Do you believe on the Son?”
He said, “I do.”
I said, “What does God say?”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
“What have you?”
“Oh, Mr. Torrey,” he cried, “won’t you pray for me?”
I said, “Yes, I will pray for you,” and again I went over it, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” I said, “Who has everlasting life?”
“He that believeth on the Son.”
“How many that believe on the Son have everlasting life?”
“Have you believed on the Son?”
“What does God say about those who believe on the Son?”
“They have everlasting life.”
“Are you sure that they that believe on the Son have everlasting life?”
“What makes you so sure?”
“God says so.”
“What does God say?”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
“Do you believe on the Son?”
“What does God say you have?”
“Oh!” he cried, “Mr. Torrey, will you pray for me?”
I went over it and over it again but he could not seem to grasp it. At last he arose and started slowly down the aisle to leave the building. Before he started, he said, “Mr. Torrey, will you pray for me?”
I said, “ I will.”
I let him get part way down the aisle and then I called after him, “Hector, do you believe that I will pray for you?”
“Why, I know you will,” he replied.
“How do you know that I will?”
“Because you said so.”
“Is not God’s Word as good as mine?” I asked.
The truth flashed in upon his soul in a moment. He saw that while he had been ready to believe me, he had not been ready to believe God. He took God at His Word and knew he had everlasting life because God said so, and went home rejoicing in perfect assurance that he had everlasting life and that his sins were all forgiven.
“God Use This Stammering Tongue”
One day during his great mission in London, Mr. Moody was holding a meeting in a theatre packed with a most select audience. Noblemen and noble-women were there in large numbers. A prominent member of the royal family was in the royal box. Mr. Moody arose to read the Scripture lesson. He attempted to read Luke 4:27, “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet.” When he came to the name Eliseus, he stammered and stuttered over it. He went back to the beginning of the verse and began to read again, but again when he reached the word “Eliseus” he could not get over it. He went back and began the third time to read the verse but again the word “Eliseus” was too much for him.
He closed the Bible with deep emotion and looked up and said, “Oh, God! Use this stammering tongue to preach Christ crucified to these people.”
The power of God came upon him and one who heard him then and had heard him often at other times said to me afterwards that he had never heard Mr. Moody pour out his soul in such a torrent of eloquence as he did then, and the whole audience was melted by the power of God.
Give Me a Love For Souls
One time during my ministry in Chicago, I was deeply disturbed that I had so little love for souls; that I could meet men and women who were lost and be so little concerned about it; that I could preach to them and had so little inclination to weep over them. I went alone with God and prayed, “O God give me a love for souls.” Little did I realize how much the answer to that prayer involved.
The next day there came into my Bible class a man who was the most distressing picture of utter despair I ever saw. At the close of my Bible class I walked down the aisle. I saw him in the last seat. His face haunted me. I was burdened. I could not lose sight of him. I cannot tell the pain I had for hours and days as I cried to God for his salvation, but I had the joy of seeing him profess to accept Christ.
Love for souls is one of the costliest things a man can have, but if we are to be like Christ, and if we are to be successful in His work, we must have it. But don’t pray for it unless you are willing to suffer.
A LADY in Melbourne, Australia, in reading the book “How to Pray” was greatly impressed by one sentence of two short words, “Pray through.” It took a great hold upon her and she began to organize prayer circles all over Melbourne. Before we reached Melbourne there were 1,700 prayer circles a week and the wonderful success of the mission was largely due to these prayer circles. After we reached Melbourne, this lady told Mr. Alexander this story and it made a great impression on him. He afterwards said the two words, “‘Pray through,’ gripped me like a vice.”
One day he had occasion to go into a bank in Liverpool to get some money. While he was standing at the bank counter waiting for the clerk to come, he picked up a pen and began to write on the blotter in large letters these two words, which had been burned into his soul, “Pray through,” “Pray through,” “Pray through.” Over and over and over again he wrote it on the blotter until the big blotter was filled from top to bottom with the words “Pray through.” After he had transacted his business he went away.
The next day a friend to whom he kept talking as he printed on the blotter came to him and said that he had a striking story to tell him. “A business man came into the bank soon after we had gone. He had grown discouraged with business troubles. He started to transact some business with the same clerk over that blotter, when his eyes caught the long column of ‘pray through.’ He asked who wrote those words, and when he was told, he exclaimed, ‘That is the very message I needed. I will pray through. I have tried to worry through in my own strength, and have merely mentioned my troubles to God. Now I am going to pray the situation through until I get light.’”
A lady who heard Mr. Alexander tell the story wrote a hymn upon it, the last verse of which runs,
‘‘Don’t stop praying but have more trust;
Don’t stop praying! for pray we must;
Faith will banish mountains of care;
Don’t stop praying! God answers prayer.”
Which are You Like?
Up in the mountains of North Carolina lived a farmer who had a poor farm, with thin soil, where by hard work, he was barely able to make a living for himself, wife and son. The son, however, was a remarkably bright boy, and easily surpassed all the other boys in the district school. One day the father said to the mother, “Our son is a natural born scholar and if he is only a poor farmer’s son he shall have as good an education as a millionaire’s son.” The father and mother economized and raked and scraped and got enough together to send the boy off to college. The boy did well at college, and every little while sent a letter home telling how well he was doing in his classes. When these letters came the father and mother would read and reread them, and they filled their hearts with joy.
One day a letter came and after the father had read it, he said, “Mother, these letters are all right. They do cheer my old heart, but letters are not enough. My heart is lonely for the boy and I must see the boy himself. I cannot wait. I must see him.” But the mother was a canny woman and said, “You must wait, you cannot see him. He cannot afford to lose a day from his studies to come down here, and you cannot lose a day from the farm to go and see him. You must wait.”
The father said, “I must see him. I cannot stand it any longer. I must see my boy. I have a plan. I’ll load up the old farm wagon this afternoon and get up before sunrise to-morrow and drive to town and sell my load and make enough to pay expenses, and see my boy. I cannot stand it any longer, I must see him.” That afternoon the farmer loaded up the wagon, went to bed with the chickens, got up early in the morning before sunrise, hitched up the old team and started for the college town. It was a long tedious journey, but it did not seem long to the farmer for he was going to see his boy. As he drove along he would chuckle to himself, “I will soon see my boy. Won’t he be glad to see me? He thinks I am at home on the farm. Won’t he be surprised when I walk into his room? Won’t he be glad?”
Every hour of his dreary journey as he drew nearer the college town his heart grew lighter and happier, and at last as he drew near the town he said, “I am almost there. In a little while now I will see my boy. Won’t he be surprised? Won’t he be glad?” As he entered the town he tried to hurry the old team forward, but to no avail as the team was tired and could not go any faster. As he drove up the hill towards the college who should he see coming down the sidewalk but his boy with two gay young college companions. “There he comes! There he comes!” said the old man, “won’t he be surprised to see me? Won’t he be glad?” He whipped up the team, but it could not go any faster, they were tired out. He jumped off the wagon and ran up to his boy, who had not seen him. “My son,” he cried. His son was surprised, but was not glad. He was ashamed of his father in his plain old homespun clothes before his gay college companions. “There must be some mistake, sir,” he said. “I am not your son, you are not my father. I do not know you. There must be some mistake, sir.” He might as well have driven a dagger into his father’s heart. I am told that the father went home with a broken heart to die. Whether that part of the story is true I cannot say, but I can well believe it. If my son should treat me that way (thank God he never will) I think it would break my heart. What do you think of a son like that? I think he should be horsewhipped. The cowardly, ungrateful wretch.
But stop before you condemn him. Some of you here to-night are more ungrateful than that son. Jesus Christ has done more for you than that father did for his son. Jesus Christ has done more for you than any father ever did for his son. Yet you are so cowardly and ungrateful that you won’t stand up and confess Him before the world, because you are afraid of what some one will say, and you are ashamed of Him. I have never told this story without its making my blood boil, although I suppose I have told it over one hundred times.
Let me tell you another story. Thank God it is entirely different.
Down in the mountains of Georgia lived a poor widow. She had a few acres of ground where she raised berries and one thing and another and made a little money keeping chickens and selling eggs. She also took in washing and did other humble work for a living, but God gave her a bright son. He too surpassed every one in the district school. The mother worked hard to get the money to send him to Emory College. The son worked hard to get himself through the college. He graduated with high honors and won a gold medal for special excellence in study.
When it came time for him to graduate he went up to the mountain home for his mother, and said, “Mother, you must come down and see me graduate.”
“No,” said his mother, “I have nothing fit to wear, and you would be ashamed of your poor old mother before all those grand people.”
“Ashamed of you,” he said, with eyes filled with filial love, “ashamed of you, mother, never. I owe everything I am to you and you must come down. What is more I will not graduate unless you come.”
Finally she yielded. He brought her to the town. When the graduating day came she went to the commencement exercises in her plain calico dress with her neat but faded shawl and simple mountain bonnet. He tried to take her down the middle aisle where the richest people of the town, friends of the graduating class, sat, but this she refused and insisted on sitting way off under the gallery. The son went up on the platform and delivered his graduating address. He was handed his diploma and received his gold medal. No sooner had he received the gold medal than he walked down from the platform and way to where his mother sat off under the gallery and pinned the gold medal on her faded shawl and said, “Mother, that belongs to you, you earned it.”
That is a son worth having. Which of those two sons are you like, the cowardly ungrateful wretch, ashamed of his poor old father or the noble boy who was proud of his poor mother to whom he owed all he was in the world? I have been told by a president of the college where this happened that when the boy pinned that gold medal on his mother’s shawl the whole audience burst into such prolonged applause that the exercises could not go on for five minutes.
You want to applaud too. Let me tell you a better way to applaud, imitate him. You owe all you are to Jesus Christ. Come, pin all your honors upon Him to day. Come out and confess Him before the world.
“If I Could Only Have Saved Just One More”
Before I close I must tell you a story. This incident is so remarkable that when I first heard it it seemed to me that it could not possibly be true. But the man that told it was of such a character that I felt that it must be true because he told it, and yet I said, “I must find out for myself whether that story is true or not.” So I went to the librarian of the university where the incident was said to have occurred and I found out that it was true. The story as I tell it to you to-day is as I got it from the brother of the main actor in the scene.
The story is this: About twelve miles from where I live, twelve miles from the city of Chicago, is the suburb of Evanston, where there is a large Methodist university, I think the largest university of the Methodist denomination in America; at all events, a great university. Years ago, before the college had blossomed into a great university, when there were not many students in it, two young country boys came from the State of Iowa — strong, husky fellows, and one of them was a famous swimmer. Early one morning word came to the college that down on Lake Michigan, just off the shores of Evanston, there was a wreck. It proved to be the Lady Elgin. The college boys with everybody in town hurried down to the shores of Lake Michigan. Off yonder in the distance they saw the Lady Elgin going to p