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Text Sermons : R.A. Torrey : An Infidel Converted Beside a Coffin

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A YOUNG lady in the Bible Institute, Chicago, started to call upon every family on a certain street in the poorer quarter of the city. One day she pushed open a door and found a man lying ill in bed, dying with consumption. When she began to speak to him, he told her crossly that he was an infidel and did not believe in the Bible. She spoke a few words and left.
The next day she took him a glass of jelly, and the next day took him some other delicacy and a few days after that something else. She kept up her kindly ministrations for about a month. One Sunday afternoon she came to me as I was leaving my Bible class and said, “There is an infidel dying down on Milton Avenue. I know you are very busy, but could you not take a few moments to go and see him?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I will go now.” She took me to the home and introduced me to the man and left. I sat down by his bed and asked if I could read from the Bible to him. He replied that I could. I read him a part of the fifth chapter of Romans, dwelling upon the places that told of God’s love for the sinner. I read him the place where it told how Jesus Christ bore all our sins in His own body on the cross. Then I asked if I could pray. I knelt by his bed. I felt his time was short. I asked God to open his eyes to see that he was a lost sinner, and also to open his eyes to see that Jesus had borne all his sins in His own body on the cross, and to show him that he could find pardon and salvation then and there by simply trusting in Jesus. When I finished the prayer I began to sing in a low tone,
“Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee —
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
I sang on verse after verse. When I reached the last verse he broke in in a feeble voice (he had evidently heard the song somewhere in his boyhood days) and he sang with me,
“Just as I am — Thou wilt receive.
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe —
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”
When we had finished, I looked up and said, “Did you really come?”
He said, “I did.”
I talked with him a little while and found that he really was trusting in the Saviour. That night he passed away to be with Him.
His wife, who was a Roman Catholic, came to me the next day and asked if I would conduct the funeral. I said I would. Around the coffin were gathered a considerable number of his old infidel friends. I told them the story of his death; how his infidelity had failed him in that trying hour and how he had been led to see his need of the Saviour and that Jesus Christ was just the Saviour he needed, and how he had been led to accept Christ. Then I said, “Are there any of you here to-day who have been infidels who will accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour?”
A stalwart man standing on the other side of the coffin reached his hand across to me and said, “I have been an infidel with him. I have sympathized with him in all his views, but I now give them up and take Jesus Christ as my Saviour.”

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