Open as PDF
First Sober Christmas in Ten Years
One afternoon a wild looking Scandinavian rushed into the office in Minneapolis. My assistant, Mr. George Sanborn, was in the office. Mr. Saborn is not a large man, and the Scandinavian was a big, burly fellow. He rushed towards Mr. Sanborn as if he were going to do him personal violence. Though small, Mr. Sanborn was fearless. He sprang to his feet and said, “What do you want?”
“I want sympathy,” the man cried.
“No,” said Mr. Sanborn, “you want Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone can help you.” In a moment the man was subdued and sank upon his knees, and Mr. Sanborn explained to him the way of life and he accepted the Saviour.
On the following Christmas Day at our testimony service, this man arose and said, “I am so happy to-day. This is the first sober Christmas that I have spent in ten years. Jesus Christ has saved me.”
Three Silver Dollars
ONE night I reached home from my work very late. There was no one in the house. My family were all out at Lake Minnetonka and I was to go out to them the next morning by a very early train. I knew that they would be in need of money to buy ice and provisions and other things. When I took out my pocketbook to see how much money I had, I found to my dismay that while I had quite a little money, none of it belonged to me. It was all money that I had set apart for the Lord. The fare out to Lake Minnetonka was less than fifty cents but I did not have even enough to pay that, much less any to give the family when I reached there. What should I do? There was no possibility of my seeing any one before the train left; for most people would be in bed and the streets deserted as I walked to the station. I had taken the ground anyway that I would never borrow money from anybody for any purpose, for the scripture says, “Owe no man anything.” Of course, the thought came to me to take the money I had set apart for the Lord and repay it some other time when I had more money, but I saw clearly that that would not do, that I had no more right to take the Lord’s money for my own uses than I had to take any other person’s. I knelt down and said, “Heavenly Father, I cannot honestly take the money that belongs to Thee. Thou hast never failed me in the past when I have taken my stand absolutely on what is right, and I do not believe that Thou wilt fail me now. I will not touch the money that belongs to Thee. I cannot see where money will come from, but I must have it. Send me the money I need before five o’clock to-morrow morning.”
I arose from my knees confident that the money would come, but I could not see any possible way in which it would come. No one would call at my house, there would be no letters, I would not see any one that I knew on my way over to the station.
In a few minutes, I went up-stairs to my office. I pulled open a drawer of the table to look for an account book. I had not opened that drawer for some time, but no sooner was the drawer opened than I saw lying before me three silver dollars. It seemed to me as if three silver dollars never looked so large as those did. I do not know how the three dollars came in the drawer. Of course, I do not think that any miracle was performed. I presume that I myself had put those three silver dollars there weeks or months before when I had more silver dollars in my pocket than I cared to carry, but it was as plain an answer to prayer as if the three silver dollars bad come tumbling down through the chimney. The three dollars would not only take me out to Lake Minnetonka, but meet at least part of the immediate necessities of the family.
After reaching our home on the lake I rowed over to Excelsior to call on a friend who had asked me to come over to get vegetables out of his garden. In the course of our conversation I was led to tell him of the answer to prayer that had come to me the night before. God blessed the story to his own heart. He walked down to the boat with me, and when I stepped down into my rowboat, we shook hands as we separated. He left in my hand a five dollar bill, which met all the needs of the family.
Prayer Answered on the Other Side of the Globe
In the early days of Mr. Moody’s work in Chicago, a reckless, worthless Scotchman used to hang around the tabernacle. He was a desperate fellow, feared by his own companions. He would carry a dagger in his stocking, and many were afraid that he would draw that dagger upon them. He seemed to have an especial spite against the meetings that were going on. One night he stood outside the tabernacle with a pitcher of beer in his hands offering a drink to every man that came out of the building. At other times he would go into the inquiry meetings and try to interfere with the workers.
One night Major Whittle was talking to two young men, who were more or less interested, and this jeering Scotchman was interfering. Finally Major Whittle turned to the two young men and said, “Young men, if you set any value on your souls, I advise you to have nothing to do with that man.”
This seemed only to amuse the Scotchman. But God was working. Over in Scotland was an earnest Christian mother who was praying for her wayward son. One night he went to bed as godless as ever, but in the middle of the night, he was aroused from his sleep. He awakened under conviction of sin, and as he lay there in bed, the Holy Spirit brought to his mind a passage that he had forgotten was in the Bible. He did not even know it was there at all, though doubtless he had heard it some time in his boyhood. It was Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The Holy Spirit made clear the meaning of the verse to him. Then and there, without getting out of bed, he believed on Him that justifieth the ungodly and found peace.
He at once became as active in the cause of Christ as he had been active in the cause of the devil. For nearly thirty years he has been a member of Chicago Avenue Church and is to-day a deacon in the church.
Some time after his conversion, he went back to Scotland to visit his old mother. They had glad times of Bible reading and prayer together, but there was another wayward son, a sailor, sailing the sea somewhere, they knew not where. One night the old mother and the converted son knelt down and began to cry to God for the wandering son and brother. That very night he was in the China Seas, though they did not know it, and while they prayed in Scotland, the Spirit of God fell in the China Seas and that son and brother was converted there on the deck of the ship.
He returned to Scotland and told his mother the good news. He entered the Free Church college and commenced to study to be a foreign missionary. He was sent out by the missionary society of the Free Church of Scotland, and after years of faithful service, laid down his life as a missionary in India.
A Prayer Fifteen Years Long
Almost immediately after my conversion, another man was laid on my heart, and I began to pray every day for his conversion. After I had been praying for some time for his conversion, the thought came into my mind that I would spend the night in prayer for him. I did not succeed in praying the whole night. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. I was on my knees almost the entire night, but part of the time I was asleep, but the best I could I spent the whole night in prayer for him.
When the morning came, I thought, “Now you have prayed for him all night, write him a letter beseeching him to accept Christ.” In a very short time I received a reply making fun of me and ridiculing me for my attempts to bring him to Christ. The devil came to me and mocked me and said, “That is all your prayers amount to. What is the good of praying? Here you spent the whole night praying for him and have written him a letter and this is all you get for your pains.” But the devil did not succeed in deceiving me this time. I continued praying for him every day. I kept it up for about fifteen years, never letting a day pass without praying definitely for his conversion.
In the meantime he had moved to Chicago and so had I. I visited him in Chicago, but could get no opportunity to speak to him about his soul. Indeed, he seemed to put himself out to be particularly blasphemous when I was around in order to hurt my feelings, but still I kept on praying.
One morning, after having prayed about fifteen years, as I was on my knees before God, it seemed as if God said to me, “You need not ask for that any more. I have heard your prayer. He will be converted.” I never prayed again for his conversion but every morning I would look up and say, “Heavenly Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard my prayer, and now I am waiting to see it.”
About two weeks from that morning he came to my house to dinner. After dinner I said to him, “Don’t you think you had better stay here all night?” He replied, “I don’t know but I had. I am just up from inflammatory rheumatism and it is damp outside and I am really afraid to go home lest the rheumatism come back.” When he awoke the next morning the inflammatory rheumatism had come back to that extent that his feet were so swollen he could not put on his shoes. For two weeks he was laid up in my house. My opportunity had come. I had him. Every morning we held family prayers in his room. My friends coming in and out of the house seeing him there took it for granted that he was a Christian and seemed to talk more about religion than usual. My children running in and out of his room seemed to talk more about Christ than they usually did, though they always loved to talk about their Saviour.
After breakfast when the two weeks were up, we started down La Salle Avenue together. We had not gone half a block when he turned to me and said, “Archie, I am thinking of going into temperance work. How do you begin?” If there was ever any one on earth that needed to go into temperance work, it was he.
I replied, “The only way I know to begin temperance work right is by first of all becoming a Christian yourself.”
He said, “I always thought I was a Christian.”
“You have the strangest way of showing it of any man I ever knew.”
“How do you become a Christian?” he next asked bluntly.
“Come over to my office and I will tell you.” I took him over to my office and as Mr. Moody was away I took him to Mr. Moody’s office and though he was seven years older than I, I explained to him the Way of Life as I would have explained it to a little child. He listened eagerly and when I had finished, he knelt down and accepted Christ as his Saviour just like a little child. Those who had known him in the olden time could hardly believe that he was converted. Some in the east would not believe it until they came out and saw him for themselves. Within a year he was preaching the Gospel. He preached it up to the end.
I had been down east visiting old friends of his and mine, and returned to Chicago. Hearing that he was ill at the place where he was preaching, forty miles out of Chicago, I went out to see him, and spent the day with him. I started to tell him about the old friends I met down in the east but he said, “ Never mind that. Let’s have a time of prayer.” We passed the whole day in prayer and conversation and a happy day it was.
At evening I returned to Chicago, as I was to go south the next day, I spent the night in the Institute. About six o’clock in the morning there was a rap on my door. When I went to the door and opened it, one of the students stood there with a telegram in his hand. I opened it and read, “Your brother passed away this morning at two o’clock.” I jumped on a train and hurried out to the place. When I entered the room where his body lay, and turned back that white sheet and looked into the face of my eldest brother as he lay there at peace at last, I thanked God that for fifteen years I had believed in a God that answers prayer.
Have you those that you love who are wandering far from God? There is a way to reach them. That way is by the Throne of God.
An Opportunity Lost Forever
I ONCE had a friend who was a very bright scholar. He entered college at an earlier age than most men are able to enter. He was a young fellow of good habits but without settled principles. After he had been in college awhile it began to be rumoured about that he was thinking of becoming a Christian. Some one came to me and said, “Frank is thinking of becoming a Christian,” but I was not a Christian myself and was not greatly interested in the information. If I had been a Christian, I believe I could have spoken the word that would have brought him over the line, but not being a Christian and not being interested in the matter, I said nothing to him about it. After a few days of indecision, he decided the wrong way. He became infatuated with a beautiful actress and followed her about the country. He never married her but he got to going to the bad. He graduated from the college a moral wreck. Not long after graduation he married the daughter of one of the best families in one of our eastern states. Of course, the marriage was unhappy.
One day, he and his young wife were preparing to go out riding together. The carriage stood at the door and he stood by it waiting for his wife. She did not appear. He hurried up to her dressing-room and went in. The servants heard sharp words, then they heard the crack of a revolver, and as they rushed into the room, that beautiful young wife lay dead upon the floor with a bullet through her brain. Whether she shot herself or whether he shot her, it was difficult to say. The coroner’s verdict was that she died by her own hand. At all events, he became a haunted man. Not long after, he came to the house of a friend and said, “John, can I spend the night with you?”
“Certainly,” he replied.
“Can I have the room next to yours?”
“Why, Frank, you can have anything in the house.”
They sat up late into the night, talking and then retired. The host had fallen asleep when suddenly he was awakened by a constant rapping at his door. “What is it, Frank?” he cried.
“Are you there, John?” the wretched man called.
“Yes, can I do anything for you?”
“No, I only wanted to know that you were there.”
The host fell asleep again but was soon awakened by another rap at his door. “What is it, Frank?” he called.
“Are you there, John?”
“Yes. Are you sick, can I do anything for you, Frank?”
“No, I only wanted to know that you were there.”
Again he fell asleep, and again he was awakened by the same woeful call. All the night through the man haunted by evil memories would come and wake him by a rap on the door to find if he was there. He could not bear to be alone a moment.
The next day he left. He went west to San Francisco, took a steamer on the Pacific Ocean, and when several days out jumped overboard. Tonight his body rests beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean. If I had been a Christian in the early days, I might have led that friend to Christ and saved all this frightful, awful tragedy. I have had the joy of leading many another young man to Christ, but that young man has passed beyond my reach forever. If you do not accept Christ to-day you may a year from to-day, and when you do there will be opportunities to work for Christ in bringing others to Him, but opportunities are passing by you to-day and to-morrow and next day that will never come back again.
A Child’s Prayer Answered
A Christian worker going through the tenements in the east end of London looking for unfortunates to help, came one day into a wretched room in the upper story of one of the large tenement houses. There seemed to be no one in the room and the worker was about to leave when he noticed a ladder leading up to a hole in the ceiling. Something impelled him to climb the ladder. When he had put his head through the hole in the ceiling, the garret at first was so dark he could not see, but as he became accustomed to the darkness, he saw a child lying on a pile of stuff in the corner.
“What are you doing here, child?” the worker said.
“Hush,” the child said, “don’t tell father.”
“But what are you doing here?”
The child showed the worker his back bearing the marks of the awful beating that the drunken father had given him. The worker said, “You cannot stay here. You will die here. I will go and get you help.”
As the worker was about to withdraw, the little fellow said, “Would you like to hear a hymn that I learned at the Sunday-school?” The worker stopped a moment to listen and the child repeated the familiar verse,
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child.
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.
Fain would I to Thee be brought,
Gracious Lord, forbid it not;
In the kingdom of Thy grace,
Make a little child a place.”
Telling the child to keep quiet and he would soon return, the worker stole away for help. He found a place to take the child and soon returned to get him. Again he climbed the ladder and put his head through the hole in the ceiling, but everything was quiet. He spoke to the child but there was no answer. The child was dead. His prayer had been heard.
“In the kingdom of His grace,
The Lord had given the little child a place.”
The President of a Racing Association Converted
One night in an Australian city after I had given out the invitation and a large number of people had risen and were standing, a minister sitting near me became very much excited and said, “Look there! Look there!”
“Look where?” I said.
“Look over there at that tall gentleman and his wife standing.”
“Yes,” I said, “I see them, what of it?”
“Why,” he said, “that man is the former mayor of the city and is now president of our race track association. What does he mean?”
“Why,” I said, “I suppose he means to accept Christ. That was the proposition.”
The minister was nonplussed. He did not know what to make of it. As soon as the meeting was over, I went down to where this gentleman and his wife were standing, and stepped up to them and said to him, “Did you really accept Jesus Christ this evening?”
Quietly but firmly he replied, “Yes, I did. Would you like to know how I came to accept Him?”
“Yes, I would.”
“Well,” he said, “my little boy was at your children’s meeting this afternoon and was converted. He came home full of enthusiasm and insisted that we should come to-night to hear you preach and we came and have decided to accept Christ.”
Who can tell how much is involved in the conversion of a little boy?
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Two little girls came to our children’s meeting in Bristol, England, accepted Christ, and went home full of joy and enthusiasm to tell their mother the story of their conversion. When the mother heard the story from her children and saw the “God’s Sure Promise” cards they held in their hands, her heart was full. She kept the cards with her all evening, took them to bed with her, put them under her pillow and kept her hand on them. She was afraid to go to sleep lest she should get her hand off the cards. The next day was Sunday and the meeting in the afternoon was for women only. This mother came with the cards still in her hand and when the invitation was given out stood up to accept Christ as her Saviour. Led to Christ by her own little daughters. “A little child shall lead them.”
Saved Five Minutes
One evening in our church in Chicago one of the officers in going around the gallery after I was through preaching, and as the audience was going out of the church, stepped up to a gentleman and said, “Are you saved?”
“Yes, sir,” he replied. He was very positive about it.
“How long have you been saved?”
“About five minutes,” he answered.
“When were you saved?” asked the gentleman.
The man replied, “About five minutes ago while that man was preaching.”
He did not wait until I got through the sermon. He did not wait for some one to deal with him. He came to Jesus right there and then and Jesus saved him right there. It only takes an instant to be saved. The moment you receive Jesus you are saved. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12.) Will you receive Him now?
Never be Discouraged
One night in Hobart, Tasmania, as my wife and I were walking home together from the meeting, she said, “Archie, I have just wasted my time to-night. I have spent the whole evening talking with the most frivolous girl I have dealt with for a long time. I made no impression whatever. I just wasted my time. I don’t believe it pays to talk to that kind of a girl.” But she went home and cried to God for that girl.
The next night that girl came to her completely transformed and brought her mother with her and asked Mrs. Torrey to talk to her. They were both brightly converted. Oftentimes where we seem to have accomplished the least, we have in reality accomplished the most.
Converted by President Wotsey’s Singing
When Mr. Moody visited New Haven in 1878 I was a student in the University there. The ripest scholar in the University at the time, if not the ripest in America, was President Wolsey, Ex-President of Yale University. One night a young man went up to hear Mr. Moody preach and President Wolsey sat on the platform, and when they sang the old Gospel hymns. President Wolsey, himself a gray-haired scholar, joined in singing the hymns with all his heart. That young man said, “Well, if one of the greatest scholars in America can sing those hymns in that way, there certainly must be something in it,” and he was converted, not through Mr. Moody’s preaching, but through President Wolsey’s singing.
How to Love Jesus
A LITTLE girl in London once came to Mark Guy Pearse and said, “Mr. Pearse, I don’t love Jesus. I wish you would tell me how to love Him.”
He said, “Little girl, as you go away from here to-day, keep saying to yourself, ‘ Jesus loves me,’ ‘ Jesus loves me,’ and I believe you will come back next Sunday saying, ‘ I love Jesus.’”
The next Sunday the little girl came back to Mark Guy Pearse radiant, and she said, “Oh, Mr. Pearse, I do love Jesus. As I went away from here last Sunday, I kept saying to myself as you told me to, ‘Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me,’ and then I soon saw Him hanging on the cross and dying in awful agony for me, and my heart began to grow warm and very soon it was full of love to Jesus.”
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
“If Any Man be in Christ Jesus, He is a New Creature”
I KNEW a man who used to go to dances at least four nights a week, and in summer time spend his days on the race-course. He would spend a large share of his afternoons at the card table and the remaining nights on a big drunk, or something of that kind. I have known that man so touched by the finger of God that you could not get him to a ball unless you dragged him by an ox-team, unless he went to preach the Gospel. I have known him to do that. In the olden days he loved the theatre, but to-day he would be perfectly unhappy in a theatre unless he went there to preach the Gospel. I have known him to do that. In the olden days, he played cards six days out of seven but to-day you could not hire him to touch the cards. In the olden days, the prayer meeting would have been crucifixion to him, but there is scarcely anything he enjoys to-day as he enjoys the prayer meeting. In the olden days, the Bible was the stupidest book to him, though he read it every day. He loved everything in the way of literature better than the Bible and religious books. To-day he loves the Bible and sometimes he thinks he won’t read anything else. I know that man well. I know him better than I know any other man, and knowing the transformation that has taken place in his life, I know that the new birth is a reality, if I don’t know anything else.
“Give Me Back My Tears”
One of the mightiest soul winners I ever knew was Colonel Clarke of Chicago. He would work at his business six days every week that he might keep his mission open seven nights every week. And every night in the week the year around five or six hundred men would gather together in that mission hall. It was a motley crowd; drunkards, thieves, pickpockets, gamblers and everything that was hopeless. I used to go and hear Colonel Clarke talk, and he seemed to me one of the dullest talkers I ever heard in my life. He would ramble along and yet these five or six hundred men would lean over and listen spellbound while Colonel Clarke talked in his prosy way. Some of the greatest preachers in Chicago used to go down to help Colonel Clarke but the men would not listen to them as they did to Colonel Clarke. When he was speaking they would lean over and listen and be converted by the score.
I could not understand it. I studied it and wondered what the secret of it was. Why did these men listen with such interest, and why were they so greatly moved by such prosy talking? I found the secret. It was because they knew that Colonel Clarke loved them, and nothing conquers like love. The tears were very near the surface with Colonel Clarke.
Once in the early days of the mission, when he had been weeping a great deal over these men, he got ashamed of his tears. He steeled his heart and tried to stop his crying, and succeeded, but he lost his power. He saw that his power was gone and he went to God and prayed, “Oh, God, give me back my tears,” and God gave him back his tears, and gave him wonderful power, marvellous power over these men.
If we would see the seed that we sow bring an abundant harvest, we must water it with our tears. “He that goeth forth bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.”
Conquered By Compassion
One night I was preaching in one of the suburbs of Chicago, and when I gave out the invitation an enormous man rose to his feet. He weighed 290 pounds. I thought to myself, “You have caught a big fish to-night.”
After the meeting was over, I went down and sat beside him and talked to him. He said, “Let me tell you how I came to accept Christ to-night. I have been a church-goer all my life, but I only went to criticise, and when men got up in the prayer meeting to talk I took out a little note-book which I kept, and wrote down what they said, and then kept tab on them during the week to see how their life agreed with their profession, so I came to say to myself, ‘All Christians are hypocrites.’ My heart became as hard as a stone. I was perfectly indifferent. Some months ago, I was taken very ill, and the doctors said I must die, but I was not at all afraid to die. I had become so hardened by the criticism of professors of religion that even death had no terrors for me. But one day a retired minister came and asked if he might pray for me. I said, ‘Yes, you can pray for me if you want to. I have no objection, if it will do you any good, it won’t hurt me any. Yes, pray if you want to, if you will enjoy it. It won’t disturb me.’ He knelt down beside my bed and began to pray, and I watched him out of the corner of my eyes. I was keeping tab on him to see if he was real. I thought I was dying but I was not a bit frightened. I was perfectly callous and hardened, but as I lay there watching him out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a tear rolling down his cheeks. I said to myself, ‘Here is this man, a perfect stranger to me, with no possible interest in me, and yet he is weeping over my sins and my lost condition.’ That broke my heart. That is why I am here to-night. That is why I got up and asked for prayers; that is why I have taken the Lord Jesus.”
I tell you, you will win more men and women by your tears than you will ever win by your arguments.
The Curse Coming Home
I RECALL a man who was a daily drinker all his life. I don’t think that man was ever drunk in his life. He despised a drinker but he also laughed at total abstinence. I have heard him ridicule it time and time again. He had three boys, carefully reared in most respects but reared to his ideas about drinking, reared to think that moderate drinking was the proper course, reared to despise a drunkard, but also to ridicule total abstinence. Every one of these three boys grew up to be a drunkard.
The rumseller is bound to reap in his own family, if he has one. A friend of mine of very wide experience, I think the widest experience of any friend I ever had, once said to me that he had never known a rumseller, who did not sooner or later feel the curse in his own home. One time I was holding meetings in an American city. Riding through the streets one day a friend pointed out a man. “There,” said he, “is a man who has run a saloon the most persistently of any man in our community. The saloon is prohibited among us, but he has done everything in his power to overthrow or circumvent the law. His own brother committed suicide through the effects of drink, and every member of his family is ruined by drink.”
One afternoon I got out of a street car to go to a home where my wife and I were to take tea with some friends. After paying my fare I had but seven cents left — all the money I had in the world. I did not even know were the money was coming from to buy breakfast for my family next morning, and yet I had no care as God had supplied our needs so often, I knew that He would now. A young woman got on the car and went to the front end of the car and dropped her five cents in the box. The driver opened the door and shook his head and said, “That five cents is bad.”
She said, “That is all the five cents I have.”
“Then,” he said, “you must get off the car.”
The young woman was in great perplexity. I thought of my seven cents in my pocket, all the money I had, but I went to the front end of the car and dropped five cents in the box and relieved the young woman’s embarrassment. I felt no poorer. I had no doubt that before I needed money, money would come.
After going to the house of the friend, I went over town. As I was passing along the street a gentleman whom I knew got out of a carriage and went to his horse’s head. He saw me passing and held out his hand and said, “How do you do? How are you getting on in your work?” I told him I was getting on nicely. “Well,” he said, ‘‘I want to give something for your work,” and he took out his pocketbook and gave me $200. The five cents had brought quick interest.
I Have Seen One of Those Before
A YOUNG fellow came to the Bible Institute from a Kansas farm to be a student. He was one of the greenest looking men that ever applied to the Institute to enter as a student. At my first casual meeting with him I thought to myself, “I wonder what that man will ever do.” He was so indescribably fresh and green. But he was full of zeal for Christ and not as green as he looked or acted.
Not long afterwards one evening he was on Chicago Avenue distributing tracts to men as they passed by. It was a hard neighbourhood. There had been many a murder in the vicinity. He approached one man to hand him a tract and the young desperado drew a revolver and held it at his breast. The young farmer boy was not phased in the least. “Oh,” he said smiling, “ I have seen one of those before. Have a tract.” The young fellow was more completely disarmed than if the farmer had knocked him down, and immediately took the tract and walked away.
One night at a late meeting in the Florence Crittenton mission in New York a drunken Scotch girl ran to the front screaming, “Pray for me! Pray for me!” After the meeting was over, the workers gathered around her. She told how she had wandered from home. How her mother lived in New York City, a poor but honest woman. They tried to get the girl to go to her home but she said no, her mother would not welcome her. They tried to get her to stay with them, but she would not, but promised that if they would see her mother the next day that she would come around the next night, and if her mother would receive her, she would go to her home.
One of the workers went the next day to the address given and found the mother. She said to her, “We have found your daughter.”
The mother replied, “I have no daughter.” But when they explained to her about the night before, she said, “I had a daughter once but she left me years ago. I thought she was dead. I will take her back, but do not disappoint me now that you have raised my hopes again. Be sure and bring her.”
They appointed an hour in which they would bring her that night. But the night came and the girl did not come. Hour after hour the meeting went on but the girl did not come. About midnight the meeting closed but the girl had not appeared. They held a consultation as to what they should do and some of them decided to make a visit to the low dens of iniquity in the neighbourhood.
At last in a sub-cellar in a little narrow room, blue with smoke, they found a crowd of men and women and the Scotch girl in the midst, wild with drink. Her good resolutions had fled and she refused to go to her mother. A policeman heard the noise and came down to see what it was and said to the girl, “Now you have a chance to lead a better life, you accept it. If you don’t, if I ever find you on my beat again, I will club you.” The girl was getting somewhat sobered but still protested that she could not go to her home because she had no shoes fit to wear. A warm-hearted Irishman in the crowd agreed to find her a pair of shoes. Where he found them at that hour of the night, I do not know, but he soon found her a good, strong pair of shoes and they started for the mother’s rooms. When they reached the rooms, they found the door locked. The mother had given up in despair and had gone to bed, but in answer to repeated rappings she came to the door. She said she would unlock the door and they could pass into the other room and as soon as she could dress she would come in.
As they sat in the room waiting for the mother to come in, the daughter looked around the room, and as the old familiar objects met her eyes, her heart began to melt. The mother soon came into the room carrying a candle. As she looked at the girl seated on the sofa, she started back almost dropping the candle and exclaimed, “That is not my daughter.”
“Mother,” said the girl, “do you not know me?”
In a moment the mother recognized the voice and rushed to her child’s side and they were locked in one another’s arms. The visitors felt that the scene was too sacred to gaze upon and turned away. Both mother and girl were later shown the way of life, and turned their faces heavenward.
‘‘I Will Feel for a Man’’
One night in the lecture-room of Chicago Avenue Church Charles Herald was urging the people to go out and bring in the unsaved. The response to his appeals were somewhat slow, when suddenly a blind man sprang to his feet and said, “Why cannot you do as the evangelist asks you ? Now I cannot see, but I will feel for a man and bring him to the meeting to-morrow night.”
The next night came and the blind man was picking his way through a dark alley back of the church. He had nearly reached the gate when suddenly it occurred to him, “I have not got the man that I promised to bring.” He backed up against the wall of the church and listened. Soon he heard the feet of a man coming down the asphalt pavement of the alley way. When the man was in front of him, he suddenly sprang out and grabbed the man and said, “Come with me to meeting.” The man was startled, and thought at first he was being held up by a footpad. He was ready to do almost anything, and submissively went to the meeting. He was converted that night.
The next night the blind man brought three, all of whom, I think, were converted. If a blind man can go out and bring in people that way, certainly we that have our eyes ought to be able to bring some one with us to every meeting.
“I Have Committed a Sin for Which There is No Forgiveness”
At the close of a service in our Chicago church I found a man standing by one of the chairs. He seemed to be deeply interested. The moment I began to speak to him he broke down and said, “I would like to be saved, but I have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness. I remember my mother reading me in the Bible when I was a boy that those who committed this sin could not be saved.”
I asked him what the sin was that he had committed. He told me, and for a moment I could not think where there was any passage in the Bible that could by any possibility be construed into meaning that there could be no forgiveness for this sin, but suddenly 1 Cor. 6:9–11 occurred to me. I said, “I think I know the passage to which you refer,” and opened my Bible and began to read, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
“Yes,” he said, “that is it. Does it not say there is no salvation for those who do this sin? Does it not say ‘they shall not inherit the kingdom of God’?”
I said, “Listen, while I read the next verse,” and I read on, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
“Does it say that? Does it say that?” the man cried.
I said, “Read it for yourself.”
He took my Bible and read it and cried, “Thank God.”
He knelt down with the tears streaming down his face and accepted the Saviour, and arose full of joy in the knowledge that his sins were all forgiven.
Some weeks after when I entered the church one Sunday morning, I saw him standing at the back of the seats with a lady between thirty and forty and a young lady perhaps seventeen or eighteen. As I stepped up to speak to him he said, “Let me introduce you to my wife and daughter.” I spoke to them about Christ and they both took Christ. To-day that man is a hard-working member and office-bearer in Chicago Avenue Church. His sin was great, but even such as he could be “washed” and “sanctified” and “justified.”
Isaiah Fifty-three Six
I WAS preaching one evening in a college town in Minnesota. I noticed a fine looking man with white hair and beard sitting near the front. Though he listened with the closest attention, the way he acted while I preached, and when I gave the invitation, made me confident that he was not a Christian.
Immediately upon the close of the meeting, I made my way to him and said to him, “Are you a Christian?”
“Would you become one if I showed you how?”
He said, “ I would.”
I said, “Let’s sit down and talk it over.” I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53:6 and read, “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way.” I said, “Is that true of you?”
He said, “It is, sir.”
I said, “What are you then?”
He said, “I am lost.”
“Now,” I said, “ listen to the rest of the verse.” “And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” “Do you believe that?” I said.
“Yes,” he said, “I believe everything in the Bible.”
I said, “Do you believe that the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all? Do you believe that the Lord hath laid on Jesus your sin?”
He said, “I do.”
“What then is all that is necessary for you to do in order to be saved?”
“Simply to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
I said, “Will you do it now?”
He said, “I will.”
“Let us tell God so,” and side by side we knelt in prayer. When I had prayed, he followed me in prayer. When he had finished his prayer, I said, “What are you?”
He said, “I am saved. My sins are forgiven.”
Then I asked him, “What are you going to do about it?”
He said, “I am going back to my home and set up the family altar and unite with the church.”
Some months after I met the pastor of the church that he attended in a town down on the Mississippi River and asked him what this man had done. He said, “He came back to his home, came to me and made application for membership in the church, and brought his oldest son, a grown man, with him, and together they have become members of the church.”
‘‘I Lied To You, Sir’’
At the close of a service in a tent in a section of Chicago called “ Little Hell,” I went to the door of the tent to speak to the people as they walked out. A large share of the audience were Roman Catholics. I shook hands with one after another when a young Roman Catholic Irishman walked out. I held out my hand to him and said, “Why don’t you take Jesus Christ as your Saviour?”
“Oh,” he said, “I am all right.”
I said, “You haven’t peace.”
He said, “Yes, I have.”
I said, “No, you haven’t.”
He said, “Perhaps you know better than I do.”
I said, “No, but God knows better than either of us and God says, ‘There is no peace to the wicked.’ (Isa. 57:21.) Now,” I said, “either God lies or you do, but I know God does not lie and God says you haven’t peace. ‘There is no peace to the wicked, saith my God.’”
The man got angry and said, “If you don’t want me to come here any more, I won’t.”
I said, “Yes, I do want you to come but I want you to understand that you don’t deceive me. I can read your heart just as well as if I could see into it, and I know there is no peace in your heart.”
He said, “There is, too,” and broke away and passed out of the tent.
The next night at the close of the service as I looked over to the side of the tent to my left I saw this man on his knees with a worker beside him. In a few moments he and the worker arose and the worker came to me and said, “That young man wishes to apologize to you.”
I said, “He has nothing to apologize to me for. He has never wronged me.”
“Well,” she said, “ he says he did and wants to apologize.”
I said, “Very well, bring him over.”
He said, “I want to apologize to you. I lied to you last night. I said I had peace when I had not.”
I said, “I knew you hadn’t, for God says, ‘There is no peace to the wicked.’” But now the man had peace, real peace through the acceptance of Christ.
A Letter from Stillwater Prison
I RECEIVED one day a letter from a man in States’ prison at Stillwater. It read as follows:
“Nearly two years ago I heard you preach on Washington Avenue, Minneapolis. At the close of the service you came to me and urged me to accept Christ. I was under deep conviction and almost yielded, but finally I said, ‘No, I will not accept Christ to-night, but I will come back to-morrow night and accept Christ.’ You urged me to accept Christ at once saying that no one could tell what would happen before another night, but I was stubborn and would not yield. I went out of the meeting, into a saloon and got drunk. The next morning I found myself under arrest for stealing an overcoat. I had not the slightest recollection of stealing the overcoat, but suppose I did steal it while I was intoxicated. I was sentenced to this place for two years. My time is almost up, but now I have accepted Christ here in prison, but if I had only accepted Him that night you urged me to down on Washington Avenue, I would not have had the disgrace of these two years’ imprisonment.”
How to Reach a Son in a Distant Land
At the close of a meeting one day in Manchester, England, a prominent business man of that city came to me and asked me to pray for his son. He said his son was a gifted young man, nearly forty years of age, a graduate of Cambridge University and a lawyer but that he was a wanderer, and had left his wife and child and was then wandering, he knew not where. I promised to pray for him.
The next summer at Keswick, this father came to me again and said, “I have got track of my son. He is in Vancouver. Do you know any minister in Vancouver? I want to cable him at once.” I gave him the name of a friend in Vancouver and he cabled him. But the next day, he came and said, “I am too late. The bird has flown. Will you still pray for my son?” I promised him I would.
The following November, we began our second mission in the great Tournament Hall in Liverpool. The first Sunday afternoon I preached on “God is Love.” At the close of the service, a fine looking man thirty-eight years of age came up to me and told me that he had decided to accept Christ. When we inquired into the matter, we found that this man was the son that the Manchester man had asked me to pray for. He had returned to England, had wandered into our first meeting on Sunday afternoon and accepted Christ. He at once gave himself to the work of winning others with great success and afterwards studied for Holy Orders under the Bishop of Liverpool.
A Music Hall Singer Converted
One night in Liverpool a music hall singer as he was about to go on the platform was handed a telegram asking him to hurry home at once, that his mother was dying. He left the music hall and started for home. In passing by the Philharmonic Hall where we were holding meetings, he heard the music and thought he would go in for a moment. Mr. Alexander was singing, “Tell Mother I’ll be There.” He thought of his dying mother, a Christian woman, and thought of the life that he was leading and how they could not tell his mother that he would be there, and then and there he accepted Jesus Christ.
The following New Year’s eve, he was out in a company of friends and was asked for a song. He arose and took out one of our hymn-books and began to sing, “Tell Mother I’ll be There,” and the power of God came upon the gathering, and the social gathering was turned into a meeting that lasted until midnight.
During our second mission in Liverpool, this man was one of our chief ushers, and one of our most faithful workers.
A Would-be Suicide Saved by Prayer
A YOUNG man in England was left a very comfortable sum of money by his father, but he ran through it very rapidly in drink and gambling. He squandered part of it in England and part of it in India. As his money ran low, he came back to England in a state of despair. He had a stroke of good luck at the gaming table and won nearly $1,000, but he began to squander it all in a terrible debauch.
Just at this time, his broken-hearted Christian sister sent a request to our meeting in Birmingham that we would pray for him. The night we prayed for him, her brother was in desperation. He was not in Birmingham but about forty miles away. He sat by a table with a loaded revolver about to end his life, but God heard the prayer that went up in Birmingham, and as he sat there, memories of his mother came to him and instead of doing the rash act that he contemplated, he knelt down and surrendered his life to God. He became at once an out and out Christian and an active worker for Christ. He obtained a position as a nurse for an invalid but constantly did Christian work as he had opportunity. When we were holding our mission in Brighton, he came and spent his whole month’s vacation working in the after-meeting. God called him into a larger work and now he is holding meetings in different parts of the world with great success.
Last Opportunity Thrown Away
At one of the meetings in Bradford, a man and wife were deeply moved but they hung back and neither of them rose to accept Christ. As they went home together that night the wife said to the husband, “Would it not have been nice if we had both risen together and accepted Christ to-night?”
He replied, “Yes, it would.”
In the middle of the night she awakened her husband and complained of feeling ill and in a few moments had passed into eternity. It was her last opportunity to make a public confession of Christ and she had thrown it away.
After the man had laid his wife’s body away in the cemetery he came to the meeting and told the story and publicly accepted Christ.
God Save My Papa
One night a man stood at the door of the city mission in Minneapolis inviting passers-by to come in. An Englishman, a stone cutter by trade, passed by. “Come in to a Gospel meeting,” the worker cheerily said to him.
“What do I want with a Gospel meeting? I have no use for a Gospel meeting,” the Englishman replied gruffly, and went grumbling up the street.
He was a splendid workman, making over four dollars a day at his trade when he worked, but squandering his time and his money and his life in strong drink and gambling. At times he was so desperate that he would stand upon the Tenth Avenue Bridge and look over into the Mississippi River as it flowed below and contemplate throwing himself into the river.
One Sunday afternoon, not many days after, a little girl of ten went up Washington Avenue. The Sunday-school session of the City Mission was in progress. “Would you not like to come to Sunday-school?” a bright-faced Christian woman said to the little girl as she passed the door. In curiosity the little girl turned in to the Sunday-school, was greatly delighted with all she saw and heard. When she heard of Jesus as her own Saviour, she very readily accepted Him and gave her whole heart and life to Him.
She became greatly interested in the conversion of her father. Her mother and grandfather and grandmother and uncle and aunt were saved but her father held out. She begged the workers to come down to their home and hold a cottage meeting there, for she felt it was the only way to get hold of her father as he would not come to the meetings. The workers consented to go. It was a drunkard’s home, down on the east side flats in Minneapolis. On the appointed evening her father rose from the supper table and took down his overcoat and was about to start for the saloon, and Annie said, “Papa, we are going to have a cottage meeting here to-night, won’t you stay?”
“What do I want with a cottage meeting?”
“But papa,” urged the little child, “won’t you stay for Annie’s sake?”
Drunkard though he was, he loved his child. He hung up the old overcoat again and sat down on the rickety old sofa and waited for them to come. One by one workers and neighbours crowded into the house. The man felt very uneasy and wished he were at the saloon. A song was sung and the leader read a passage and they all knelt in prayer. One after another the workers prayed. The man on the sofa grew more and more uneasy and looked around for some way of escape from the meeting, but all possibility of escape was cut off. “If I ever get out of this, you will never get me into a place like this again,” the man thought to himself. One after another the Christian men and women prayed, and then all was still.
Suddenly a child’s voice broke the silence, “Oh, God, will you not save my papa?” That prayer went to the heart of God and like an arrow it went to the heart of the wicked father. He dropped off the sofa on to his knees and cried to God for mercy and was saved that night.
He became one of the most indefatigable Christian workers I ever knew and when I left Minneapolis, he was a deacon in my church.
Saved in a Theatre
Some of the business men of Minneapolis determined on an assault upon Satan in one of his strongholds in that city. “The Theatre Comique,” the lowest den in Minneapolis at the time, was engaged for a series of Sunday afternoon meetings. Some good people thought it was unwise to take the Gospel down into such a den of iniquity. One of the leading business men of the city stood on the street corner giving out invitations to the Theatre Comique meetings.
A young fellow came along and took an invitation. He read it and then said to the business man, “Do you know what sort of a place the Theatre Comique is?”
Mr. G. replied, “Do you suppose I have been in Minneapolis twenty years not to know?”
“Well,” said the young fellow, “what are you having the Gospel preached in such a place as that for?”
“When you go fishing,” replied Mr. G., “where do you go?”
“Oh,” the young fellow replied, “I see it. I go where the fish are.”
The fish were there in abundance and many of them were caught.
The first meeting was held on New Year’s Day. A few days after the first meeting I received a letter from Ottumwa, Iowa. The letter was anonymous but the writer said, “I was at your meeting in the Theatre Comique on New Year’s Day. Years ago in England I was a Christian and a local preacher, but the first thing that I did when I walked off the gangplank of the steamer in New York was to go to a saloon, and I have been going down ever since. I had squandered $300 in the Theatre Comique the week preceding your meeting, but as I sat there on the first day of the new year and listened to you preach the Gospel, the Spirit of God touched my heart and I accepted Christ as my Saviour and have started a new life.”
A year passed by. On the following New Year’s Day we were having a reception all day long in our mission hall on Washington Avenue. Several months before a man had come into our fellowship and had proven himself a very earnest active Christian and had so won the confidence of the people that he had been elected a deacon in the church and was filling the office with great acceptance. As we were sitting in the reception-room of the mission, he turned to me suddenly and said, “Did you receive a letter from Ottumwa, Iowa, from a man that was converted in the Theatre Comique on New Year’s Day last year?”
I said, “Yes, I did.’’
“Well,” he said, “I am the man.” And now this man, who had squandered $300 in one of the vilest dens in Minneapolis a year before was an active and honoured office bearer in a Christian church.
Despondency Changed into Abounding Joy
There came to me one night at the close of a meeting a man with as sad a face as I had ever seen. He asked me to pray for him. I tried to show him the way of life. He would listen intently but did not seem to be able to grasp it. Night after night he would come to me with the same look of hopeless gloom in his face. I was afraid the man would go insane. In fact, I afterwards learned that he had at one time been in an insane asylum. He would profess to accept Christ, but when I showed him the Word of God that “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” and tried to impress him with the fact that he had God’s own assurance for it that he had everlasting life, he seemed utterly unable to grasp it and would go away with a despairing look, asking me if I would still pray for him. This went on for weeks and I almost dreaded to see the man approaching me.
But one night as I was about to strike a match to light the gas Peter N. came in through the front door as I struck the match and lighted the gas. I saw there was a still brighter light in his face. The gloom was all gone. He was radiant. The Spirit of God had shone into his heart. He had full assurance of sins forgiven. His gladness was not for a day, nor for a week, nor a month but continuous. He gave himself to God’s work with an earnestness that I have seldom seen equalled. He was a skillful workman, receiving large pay, but he gave almost his entire income to the Lord’s work, keeping scarcely anything for himself to live on. Indeed I sometimes felt he did not keep enough to live on. Out of working hours, he was always witnessing for Christ in public or in private.
Hopeless gloom had been transformed by the power of the Spirit of God into triumphant joy.
Show Me Myself
A GODLY minister was once travelling in Scotland and put up at a certain tavern. At evening-time the landlord asked if he would conduct family prayer. He consented on the condition that the landlord would call all the servants of the house-hold. The servants came in and when all seemed to be assembled, the minister asked, “Are all here?”
“Yes,” said the landlord.
“Not one missing?” he asked.
“Oh, well,” said the land-lord, “there is a poor girl we never bring in. She does the dirty work about the kitchen and is not fit to come in with the others.”
“Well then,” said the minister, “I will not go on until she comes.”
He insisted and the landlord yielded. Seeing her neglected appearance, the minister took a peculiar interest in her. When he was leaving the next day, he called for the girl and said to her, “I wish to teach you a prayer, and I want you to pray it until I come back again. It is this, ‘Lord, show me myself.’”
He left the hotel, but returned in a few days. He asked the landlord, “How is that poor girl?”
“Oh,” replied the landlord, “she is spoiled. She is of no use whatever now. She can do no work. She is weeping all the time. She mopes and is melancholy. I don’t know what is the matter with her.”
The minister knew, and asked to see her. The landlord brought her in and the minister said, “Now I wish to teach you another prayer. You have been praying, ‘Show me myself’?”
“Yes,” she said, in deep distress, “and I am so wicked I can do nothing but weep over my sins.”
“Now let me teach you another prayer, ‘Lord, show me Thyself.’”
Years passed. The minister was preaching in Glasgow when a neat-looking woman came up to him at the close of the sermon and said, “Do you remember me?”
“No,” he said, “I do not.”
“Do you remember teaching a poor girl in a hotel to pray, ‘Show me myself’?”
“Yes,” he replied, “I remember that well.”
“I am that girl. I prayed that prayer and got such a view of myself that I was overwhelmed with grief and despair. Then you taught me the other prayer, ‘Lord, show me Thyself,’ and He showed me Himself and my grief and despair went and I trusted Him and found salvation and He has made me what I am to-day.”
It is a good prayer for us all to pray, “Lord, show me myself,” and after He has shown us ourselves, let us go on and ask Him to show us Himself.
One of the most notoriously bad characters that ever lived in New York was Orville Gardner. He was the trainer of prize-fighters and companion of all sorts of hard characters. His reputation was so thoroughly bad that he was called “Awful Gardner.” He had a little boy, whom he dearly loved, and this boy died. A short time after his boy’s death, he was standing at the bar in a New York saloon, surrounded by a number of his boon companions. The night was sweltering, and he stepped outside the saloon to get a little fresh air. As he stood out there and looked up between the high buildings at the sky above his head, a bright star was shining down upon him, and as he stood looking at the star, he said to himself, “I wonder where my little boy is to-night?” Then the thought came to him quick as a flash, “Wherever he is, you will never see him again unless you change your life.” Touched by the Spirit of God, he hurried from the saloon to the room where he knew his godly mother was. He went in and asked his mother to pray for him. They spent the whole night in prayer and towards morning “Awful Gardner “ had found peace and gained the victory.
He was the victim of an overwhelming appetite for drink, and had in his house a jug of whiskey at the time. He did not dare to keep it and did not know what to do with it. Finally he took it down to the river, got into a boat and rowed over to an island. He set the liquor on a rock and knelt down, and as he afterwards said, “Fought that jug of whiskey for a long time,” and God gave him perfect deliverance. But what should he do with the jug? He did not dare break it, lest the fumes set him wild. He did not dare leave it, lest some one else get it. Finally he dug a hole in the ground with his heel and buried it. He left the island a free man.
He became a mighty preacher of the gospel. It was through listening to him preach that Jerry McAuley was set to thinking, and that thinking afterwards led to his conversion.
Infidelity and Licentiousness
One night when Colonel Ingersoll was delivering one of his brilliant lectures in one of our great cities a large number of medical students went to hear him. They listened with admiration and applause to the colonel’s brilliant periods, and when the lecture was over, they marched out arm in arm, a long company of them down the streets of the city, and into the vilest dens of infamy.
Some at least of those who watched them could not but note the intimate connection between infidelity and licentiousness.
A Theological Professor Doing the Devil’s Work
D. L. Moody was generally considered a broad man, and so he was. No matter how far astray a man might go in doctrine, D. L. Moody would do his best to reclaim him to the truth. But Mr. Moody was a plain-spoken man as well as a broad man. One man whose views of the Bible were extremely lax used to make a good deal of Mr. Moody’s friendship for him, and that Mr. Moody was friendly towards him there can be no doubt, but Mr. Moody told me that he told this man to his face that he was doing the devil’s work. It was plain talking, but it was unquestionable truth.