Lucy Lee laid her head on her pillow and, looking through the silence and darkness, smiled up to God. She had won her first soul for Him, and now made her offering. The capture was not a drunkard, nor an outcast -- many of whom, in years to come, she was to wrestle over and deliver -- but her own sister, whose golden hair lay over the pillow beside her, and whose regular breathing told that she was fast asleep. Nothing did Lucy imagine of the blessing to thousands of souls that was to flow from that night's work. She was happy in the consciousness that she had been faithful to the heavenly vision, and that now she and her sister were one in the experience of Salvation.
How Lucy loved her! Her mind ran back over the thirteen years since a baby sister came into her life. She remembered the rapture she felt, when sitting upon her mother's bed, the nurse placed the baby in her arms. She was five years old then, and soon her small arms ached and her legs were cramped, but again and again she pleaded to hold her treasure just a little longer. She had been allowed to name the baby, and had called her Kate. What a frail, sweet little child she had grown!
When Kate was six years old their father died. Lucy recalled moving from their nice house in Hornsey Rise -- a suburb of nearer London -- to a smaller home; her start at business; and then, the great event that changed the course of life for both the girls.
One Sunday evening, after her mother and Kate had gone to chapel, Lucy had been keeping her brother company in the front room, when a burst of song in the street drew her to the window, and she saw a small procession of about twenty people go singing down the road, the leader waving an umbrella. Not staying to consider, she put on her hat and followed the march. It turned into a hall, which was already full of people, but Lucy slipped in at the back and stood. The meeting began with 'There is a Fountain filled with Blood.' The girl was fascinated with the message given in song and testimony, until, suddenly remembering that her mother would have returned home and be anxious at her absence, she hurried away.
During the following week her mind was full of the strange street- singers. She made inquiries about them, and heard that they were Salvationists; 'good people, but very queer.' In her heart, the words --
I do believe, I will believe
That Jesus died for me;
That on the cross He shed His Blood,
From sin to set me free!
sang themselves over and over and over again.
The following Sunday evening she heard the singing in another street, and straightway started for the Salvationists' hall, arriving in time to get a front seat. The message proclaimed the Sunday before rang out again: 'All have sinned; for all Jesus died, and through Him there is salvation for every one who repents of sin and believes on Him.' To Lucy Lee it seemed that she was the only one to whom the message was directed; and, hearing the invitation for any who wished to find salvation to come forward and kneel at the penitent-form, she at once responded. Very soon her eager, seeking heart found the Saviour, and she hastened home to tell her mother the good news. Mrs. Lee had suffered many sorrows, and Lucy, although only in her teens, was a comfort who had never failed her. She was not pleased that her daughter was inclined to follow such extremists as the Salvationists evidently were; but when the girl said, 'Mother, they are thoroughly good, sincere people, you need have no fear of my going amongst them,' Mrs. Lee became reassured that all was well, and unwilling to raise needless contentions, held her peace.
After a while Lucy begged permission of her mother that Kate might accompany her to a Sunday night meeting. Gaining her wish, the occasion proved to be something of an undertaking. The work was prospering, converts were increasing in numbers at the corps, and the roughs were moved to boisterous opposition. Kate was bewildered by the enthusiasm of the Salvationists, and the wild ways of the roughs, whilst Lucy was terrified for the white ribbon on her sister's hat. This must be screened at all costs, for if the little mother had received any hint of mud- throwing and pushing, Kate would have paid her last visit to The Army, and Lucy was praying for her salvation. So, like a mother hen with wings outstretched, Lucy screened Kate's hat with her arms and took her home in good order, though a little frightened and not over anxious to go to The Salvation Army again.
Lucy soon became a valiant soldier. Her religion was real. She not only believed; she felt deeply, and longed to witness for God. When called to the front to sing, she generally chose the song,
I have given up all for Jesus,
This vain world is naught to me,
All its pleasures are forgotten
In remembering Calvary.
Though my friends despise, forsake me,
And on me the world looks cold,
I've a Friend who will stand by me
When the Pearly Gates unfold.
Life's morn will soon be waning,
And the evening bells will toll;
But my heart will know no sadness
When the Pearly Gates unfold.
Over and over again she sang this song, with the tears running down her face. It always carried a message to souls. As she became braver she spoke to the girls who came forward to the penitent-form.
Lucy longed to know that her own little sister was saved; but somehow, when she left the hall, courage to speak of spiritual matters forsook her. Six months passed away, and she had not spoken to Kate about her soul. At home, she endeavoured to live for Jesus; she sang Army songs whenever she was in the house; but to speak to her dear ones about their souls seemed impossible. She had 'lock-jaw' at the very thought. The Saviour's face had seemed every day to shine upon Lucy; but now a cloud was coming between, and she knew the reason.
One evening, Mrs. Lee having some business which took her from home, the sisters were left alone. 'Lord, this is my chance; help me to make the most of it,' Lucy prayed. The gas was lit, the fire cosy, and Lucy went to the piano and began to play and sing. She chose all the solemn, convicting songs she could think of, such as --
You'll see the Great White Throne,
And stand before it all alone.
Kate had betaken herself to her favourite place, the hearthrug. She was silent until Lucy had reached the middle verse of 'Almost persuaded,' which she sang with due impressiveness. Then a sorrowful little voice quavered: --
'I'm so lonely. I thought we were going to have such a nice time.'
Lucy at once got up. 'Are you, dearie? Would you like some supper?'
'No, I don't want anything; I'm lonely and miserable,' quavered Kate.
'Well, then, we'll go up to bed.'
Once in their room Lucy continued: 'I don't think we want a light, do we?' And sitting on the bed, her heart beating until her voice was uncertain, she put her arm round Kate's waist, and began, 'Katie, dear, I've been wanting to have a special talk with you for a long time. You know I was saved six months ago, and I have been praying for you to be saved, too, but I've found it hard to talk to you about it. I'm so glad we're alone to-night.'
'Didn't you know I wanted you to talk to me? Haven't you heard me crying every night in bed? I do want to be saved,' and Kate burst into tears.
'Darling, I didn't know. I've been stupid and shy; but I'm sorry. You can be saved just now. We'll kneel down right here,' said Lucy. The sisters knelt beside their bed, and Lucy led Kate step by step into the Kingdom of God. She knew she was a sinner? 'Oh, yes,' sobbed Kate. She was sorry for her sins? 'Yes.' She would give them up? every one? and would live henceforth only for God? 'Yes!' Then Jesus was saying, 'Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.' Did Kate believe it? 'Yes!' Then we'll sing together the words I sang the night I was saved, 'I do believe, I will believe that Jesus died for me.' Together the sisters sang the chorus, just as if they were in a meeting; then they both prayed, and kissed one another, and got into bed.
Lucy went over it all, and praised the Lord for giving her the joys of salvation, first to herself, and now to the one she loved best in all the world, and so fell asleep.
Surely the angels looked down that night and smiled upon the sisters, the elder destined to be a patient, plodding, burden-bearer in the heavenly warfare, and the younger a great warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven, one of the saints and most successful field officers of the great Salvation Army.