THE ROMANCE OF
A DOCTOR'S VISITS
by Walter Lewis Wilson, M.D.
Located in the hills of Missouri, is a typical country schoolhouse, not at all attractive in appearance, nor situated on a modern highway. In this little, obscure place, however, there was, one evening, a great transaction which changed the life of one fine little lad of twelve, and through him, of many others.
The schoolhouse was crowded with eager listeners -- the inside being filled with white folks, while on the outside, looking in through the windows, colored friends peered eagerly.
I had the joy of presenting to this group the gospel as it is found in Romans 10:9 -- "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." A number of illustrations were used in order to explain the meaning of the confession mentioned in this verse. The policeman, wearing his blue uniform and showing the star on his breast, is thus making a confession of his connection with the police department and the authority vested in him as an officer of the law. The bank messenger, with his blue uniform and the name of the bank on his cap, is confessing by these that he is employed by the great bank in the heart of the city. The soldier in his khaki uniform, with the marks on the collar, is confessing that he has entered the service of his country and is no longer his own master, but is governed entirely by the will and the law of his superior officers.
Near the back of the room in this little schoolhouse, sat a boy twelve years of age with tousled hair, and wearing a soiled, torn pair of overalls. One could easily see that he came from a family which had been denied the luxuries of life and many of the necessities. In his home were eleven other children, and the father worked on the section along the railroad. All through the service this lad listened closely and attentively. He had never heard a message like that before. There was a tug at his little heart as he heard the story of the Saviour calling and inviting boys and girls, men and women to come and put their trust under the shadow of His wings.
At the close of the meeting, the little lad elbowed his way through the crowded aisle toward the front. He dodged under the arms and between the bodies of the folk who crowded the little room, until he came to where I was standing. Looking up at me with an eager face and attractive countenance, he said: "Mister, how old does a boy have to be to be saved?"
What a question is this? Many older ones have asked it. Sunday school teachers have pondered over it. Parents have inquired concerning it; but never before had I been asked about it by a child. Praying quickly for wisdom, I slipped one arm around his shoulders, and said: "My little friend, you must be just old enough to know that the Lord Jesus came to save you, and to tell Him that He can have you to be His own. Would you like to tell Him so?"
He bowed his head for a few moments in meditation and then looking up with a sweet smile said: "Yes, Mister, I'll take Jesus right now." That was all! Others crowded up to converse and he was soon lost in the crowd.
Later on, I learned his name and made some inquiries about little Joe, and whether he really was walking with the Lord and trusting this new-found Saviour. The report came back: "Yes, Joe is really saved. Someone has given him a Bible. He carries it to school with him. He has it on his desk with his other books. At recess when the boys are playing their games, Joe is sitting in the grass over by the fence, reading his Bible and meditating on the precious Lord and Saviour he had found."
Joe is still carrying his Bible, though several years have passed. He has learned to know the gospel so well that he is able to tell it to others publicly and privately; and has proven by his godly life, that on that eventful day he really did take the Lord Jesus Christ for himself and the blessed Saviour took him to be His very own.
A boy of twelve is not too young to be saved, nor is he too young to be lost. I trust that every boy and girl who reads this beautiful story may do as Joe did, and say at once: "I will take God's gift; I will receive the Lord Jesus, for He died for me."
A great evangelistic meeting was in progress in C---, Illinois. The evangelist in charge sent me a hurried call to come at once to see him. My train arrived at C--- in the early morning at five o'clock, in a dense fog, making it impossible for me to see any object whatever as I alighted from the train.
Leaving me standing beside the track in absolute darkness, and with no knowledge whatever of the location of the depot nor of the town, the train pulled out of the little village. As I walked along the track, feeling my way cautiously, I finally found the platform and the station, for the density of the fog with which I was enveloped necessitated my walking very slowly. The windows and the doors of the depot were closed and the weather was cold. I therefore sat down, huddled up in my ulster, and awaited the break of day.
About seven o'clock, the sun appeared through the clouds and revealed the form of a man walking along the road near the station, carrying a dinner bucket. Hailing the gentleman, I welcomed his cordial response, as he inquired whether or not he might render any assistance to me as a visiting stranger.
"Is the Rev. H--- now preaching in this city, and can you tell me where he is stopping?" I asked.
"I am sorry," he replied, "but the meeting has been moved up to A---, and the evangelist is there this week. It is only three miles up the track, and I am working up there in the roundhouse. If you will walk along with me, I will show you the house in which the preacher is being entertained."
Gladly I accepted the invitation, and started to walk up the railroad track with the new friend. The conversation that followed was frequently interrupted, both of us stopping now and then to discuss some point or seeking to remove some doubt.
"What kind of a preacher is the Rev. H---?" I asked.
"He is a wonderful man," was the response. "He has the whole country stirred up in these parts, and many have been converted."
"Did you get converted in the meetings?"
"No," said the friend, "God will not save me. Several times I went to the mourner's bench, and I have talked with the preacher, and I have prayed, but God will not have me."
Seeing that this splendid man, standing six feet four inches -- a physical giant -- was in deep soul trouble, I immediately took him by the arm, and said: "Would you like to be saved right now?"
"Do you mean right on this railroad track? Nobody gets saved on a railroad track; you have to be in a church."
"You did not answer my question," I remarked. "Tell me, do you want to be saved right now?"
"Indeed I do," he answered, "more than anything in the world; I do wish God would save me right now."
Again the question was asked: "Would you like for the Lord Jesus to save you right now?"
Quickly the answer came, "Do you mean all by Himself? He cannot do it without my help."
"But," said I, "have you not tried to help Him for several weeks and failed? Why do you not let the Saviour do it for you? Let me show you." Whereupon I produced my Bible, turned to Isaiah 53:5, and with my tall friend looking over my shoulder, slowly read the passage: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities."
"Wait a minute, Mister," he said; "who is that verse about?" To which I replied: "It is about Jesus Christ and you."
A look of astonishment came over the face of this new friend, as he said: "Do you mean that Christ was taking the punishment for ME? Did He really die for ME? Was it MY sins He was being punished for?"
"Yes, my friend," and turning quickly to 1 Peter 2:24, we read slowly and carefully: "Who his own self bare OUR sins in his own body on the tree."
A look of happiness and peace appeared in the face of this hard-working mechanic and quickly looking heavenward, he said: "Lord Jesus, I never knew before that it was MY sins you were dying for, and it was ME you came to save. Thank you Lord Jesus; I believe it, and I believe you; and you are MY Saviour."
Picking up the dinner bucket and the satchel which had been sitting on the railroad ties, we resumed our journey, while I continued giving to the mechanic further revelations of the value of the Lord Jesus Christ. I quoted: "He that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:12), and explained that because Christ Jesus had been received, therefore eternal life had been imparted. Many other truths also were presented, and when we came to the village of A---, we parted, to meet again the same evening at the church where the special meetings were being conducted.
Finding the evangelist at the hotel, I took care of his needs, supplied what was necessary, and then was invited to attend the evening service -- since my train did not leave until quite late. This I was glad to do, that I might see what testimony would result from the morning experience with my friend. At the close of the evening service, when the evangelist called for testimonies, the workman from the roundhouse quickly arose, and facing the congregation, said: "Friends, you all know what a bad actor I have been in this neighborhood. You know how I have tried to get religion, but never could find peace. Now I am happy to say to you that this day has been a heaven on earth to me. This morning as I left my home at C--- in the fog, I met this doctor who is our guest tonight. Taking his Bible, he showed me that Jesus died for me, bore my sins away, blotted them out, and gave me eternal life. I trusted Him between the rails -- right out on the railroad track, and I praise God tonight I am born again and have peace in my soul."
With joy in my soul, I left the service that night to board the train for my homeward journey. The joy came because the Holy Spirit had revealed Christ to this seeking sinner. There was also a sadness in my heart, because the evangelist had failed to make the way of salvation clear and plain. Let me urge every teacher and Christian worker to present Christ Jesus clearly in His Person and Work, in order that souls may not be left in the dark.
The Village of T--- is a quiet little spot on the Missouri River, surrounded on three sides by hills. In this district there resided many country folk who had heard and learned to love the gospel.
One day, I received a call from these friends to spend the following Sunday with them. Having an open date, I was glad to go and thus take advantage of the opportunity to minister to those who did not possess very much in the way of earthly goods.
Arriving at the depot, I was met by the station agent who at once extended a very cordial invitation to have lunch at their modest little home about two and one-half miles up in the hills on a winding dirt road. I gladly accepted the invitation so that I might have a visit with these friends who were actively seeking to spread the gospel in their narrow sphere.
On the way out to the home, my hostess explained that the real reason for requesting this visit was that I might help a carpenter, who happened at that time to be working on their house, making a few repairs. She had been giving the gospel story to this neighbor and he seemed to be quite interested, but could not find his way to the Saviour. The path was not clear and the gospel was not fully understood.
We reached the little cottage just before noon, and found a nice warm fire burning in the sitting room stove. I was urged to make myself at home, while my friend went to the kitchen to see how the mother was progressing with lunch. Meantime, I stood near the stove to gain more advantage of its warmth, and was praying that the Lord might give some message that would help the carpenter.
When my hostess returned to the room, the carpenter followed her. She introduced him by saying: "Doctor, this is Mr. Pool, the carpenter, who is making repairs on our home. Mr. Pool, this is Dr. Wilson."
We shook hands cordially, and I said to him: "I am so happy to meet you, Mr. Pool, for I read in the Bible about a 'pool' that was troubled by the Lord."
"My!" he exclaimed, "that is strange, for I'm that fellow, but I didn't know it was in the Bible; tell me about it."
Sitting down with him beside the stove, I said: "Mr. Pool, has the Lord been troubling you about your sins and your soul?"
"Yes," he replied, "very much. For the last several months I have been troubled about the matter, and would like to know how to get peace with God."
I soon had my Bible open to the fifth chapter of John, there we read the story of the impotent man lying helpless beside the pool. At certain times an angel of the Lord came down and troubled the waters of the pool. The helpless cripple said: "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool. ... Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." Immediately the man was healed, and found the peace and blessing which his heart had been wanting for thirty-eight years.
"You see, Mr. Pool," I said, "all that was necessary there was a meeting between the suffering sinner and the sufficient Saviour. You need Him, too, Mr. Pool. He came to put away your sins. 'The son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost' (Luke 19:10). You are the lost man and the Saviour came for you. 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life' (John 3:36). And again, Mr. Pool, look at this verse, 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.' If you will take Him right now to be the Lord of your life and the Saviour of your soul, you will be His, Mr. Pool, and He will be yours. If you consider yourself to be an ungodly man, then hear this Scripture: 'Christ died for the ungodly' (Romans 5:6)."
Mr. Pool arose slowly from the chair, walked over to the window, looked out upon a large pasture, and there with folded arms, he was in meditation for some moments. After a while, he turned about and said to me: "Doctor, I believe that Christ Jesus came to save sinners and to save me. I accept Him as my own Lord and Saviour. I believe He blotted out my sins when He died for me, and that I am saved today because I have accepted Him."
We knelt together beside the chair and there with thankful hearts praised the God of all grace for His gift of such a wonderful Saviour. We praised the Saviour Himself, who had given His life to bring peace to this troubled POOL. We worshipped together the One who had made us both children of God by His sovereign grace and saving power.
When my hostess returned to the room, she saw at once the joy and peace that illuminated the face of her carpenter friend, and joined with us in a season of rejoicing. You, too, my friend, may find this same Saviour if you will accept Him and trust Him. He will blot out your sins and make you His own forever.
Not long since, I had occasion to make a trip from St. Louis to New York. Being rather a long journey, I desired to obtain a lower berth, which to my mind offered the greater comfort and rest. However, to my dismay, I was obliged to take an upper, as the lowers, unfortunately, had all been taken. The berth just beneath mine was occupied by a young Italian mother with two babies -- one of them about six months old and the other about two and a half years.
As the train pulled out of the station, I took from my case a Bible bound in pig-skin leather of an unusual color. Having read passage after passage, I noticed that the young woman was watching me closely and apparently with a great deal of interest. This curiosity continued to increase, until she addressed me, saying: "Pardon me, sir; what strange book is that which you are reading? I have never seen one that looked like that in my life."
"This is a Bible. It is God's precious Word and is a wonderfully fine book to read."
"What a strange title for a book," she exclaimed. "What is the story about, and who is the author?"
This unusual ignorance was a great surprise to me, and I quickly slipped a prayer to heaven for guidance, saying: "God is the author if this book, the Holy Spirit wrote it as He inspired holy men of God, and the story is largely about you. Did you never see this book, nor hear about it from any one?"
"No," she replied, "I never did."
"Where were you raised?" I then asked. "Were you never in church?"
"I was born in Italy," she said, "and was brought to this country when I was about one year old. None of my people here ever went to church, and I was never in a church of any kind. I would like to know about that book though, and what it says about me. May I look at it with you?"
"Most certainly," I said, eager to help her. Upon receiving this reply, she called for the porter, requested two pillows which she placed on the seat in front of the babies to keep them from falling off, while she sat beside me on the other seat.
As this change was being made, and taking advantage of the opportunity, I said to her: "This book was written by the saints. Did you ever hear of them?"
"Oh, yes," she answered, "they were great people and knew many things about God and the angels, but I did not know that they knew anything about me; and I certainly did not know that they had written anything about me."
She took her seat beside me, and I pointed out to her the names at the top of the pages: "Saint" Paul, "Saint" John, "Saint" Luke, "Saint" Peter, and the others. This brought a feeling of expectancy and hopefulness into the heart of the young woman, who felt that whatever the SAINTS said surely must be true. "What did they write about me?" again she asked.
"Let me show you," said I, and turned at once to Romans 3:9-19.
The passage referred to reads (in part) as follows: "There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. ... Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; ... destruction and misery are in their ways." After reading the entire passage, this young mother was trembling and perspiring, and showed evidences of a very deep conviction of sin. "My!" she said, "that's terrible. The worst of it is, Mister, that it's all true; but I never dreamed that the SAINTS knew it and had written it all out in this strange book. Please do not read any more to me about that. Do tell me how to escape from the results of it. Is there any remedy? Is there any forgiveness?"
The Lord very quickly had revealed to this young mother her true state in His sight and her condition before Him. She had accepted the accusation and denied nothing. She believed God's Word and received the indictment as being true. Of course it was not necessary to go further with this line of reading, therefore I turned at once to Isaiah 53:5-6. We read it together -- 'But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
"Who was suffering so?" she inquired. "Whose iniquities were laid on Him?"
Replying to this, I turned to 1 Timothy 1:15 and read -- "'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation (worthy of you accepting it, lady), that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' The One who suffered was the Saviour; the one that He suffered for was YOU."
"But how do I know it was for me?"
"Because you are the sinner, are you not?"
"Oh, yes, I am a terrible sinner, and I do need someone to put away my sins."
"Christ came to do that," I said. "We will see. In Hebrews 9:26, we read: 'But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself'."
"How can all this be mine?" she asked, earnestly and with deep emotion. Turning the pages to John 3:16, together we read that beautiful passage -- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"Will you now believe in the Lord Jesus, that He came to save you, that He suffered for your sins, and that you may accept Him as God's gift to you?"
"Yes, indeed, I do take Him right now. Oh, how glad I am that He suffered for my sins. I do accept Him as my own Saviour."
It was now the noon hour, and the dinner call had come from the dining car. The little mother took her two babies away for their lunch, and shortly after I followed -- but not to the same table. When we returned to our seats, the mother again placed the pillows in front of the babies, sat down beside me, and said: "Please tell me some more about Jesus. He must have loved me very much to make Him willing to die for me."
The passage chosen was Acts 8:26-40. This is the story of the Eunuch riding along in his chariot reading Isaiah 53:5-6. Phillip came by the direction of the Holy Spirit, explained the passage, and the Eunuch trusted Christ and was saved. After reading through the story carefully, with such explanations as seemed helpful, the new convert exclaimed! "How wonderful it is that this man and myself should have such a similar experience. He was riding in his chariot and I on this train. Phillip came with a Bible and you came with yours. Phillip read in Isaiah 53 about the sufferings of Christ, and that is the passage you read to me. This man believed the message and accepted Jesus, and so have I accepted Him. I do wish there was some water here, so that I, too, could be baptized. I want to go ALL THE WAY WITH THE SAVIOUR."
Before parting, I promised to send a nice new Bible to this new-born child of God, so that she might read for herself the wonderful story of this wonderful Saviour. This I did upon reaching New York. Have you met Christ Jesus the Saviour? Be sure that in the maize of your religious experiences you do not miss meeting and trusting Him for yourself.
All morning long, I had sought time and opportunity to shave myself before starting on a trip to Los Angeles from the neighboring village in which I was visiting. One circumstance after another combined to prevent this, until it was time to leave for the city. Hurrying up the long road to the Interurban station, I went to the ticket window to purchase a ticket to the city, and there the agent told me that the electric train was two hours late.
I felt that the Holy Spirit had some special work for me to do, else I would not have been hindered from shaving in the home of my host. I surmised that somewhere He had a barber to whom I was to have the privilege of giving the gospel that day.
Upon learning the train was late, I started walking down the street, seeking a barber shop, at the same time looking to the Lord to guide and direct me aright. Two blocks down the street was a small revolving sign which attracted me and I approached the shop. As I opened the door, a bell rang, arousing the barber, who was then in the rear of the shop, behind a partition.
We met near the barber chair and I observed that he was a Japanese, a young man of about thirty-five. I asked for a shave and he politely requested me to sit in the chair, which I did. Adjusting the chair to a reclining position, he soon had the warm lather on my face, with a hot towel to soften the beard. While he sharpened his razor, I asked the Holy Spirit for wisdom to approach this man in a wise way, so that I might win him for Christ.
I inquired of him whether he knew a Mr. Kimura, who is called the "Billy Sunday" of Japan.
"Where is he from?" he asked.
"His home is in Kioto, but he preaches all over Japan."
"Oh, I came from Kioto. I was born there," he said. "Is this Mr. Kimura a little man who builds big, wooden tabernacles, with sawdust on the ground?"
"Yes," I said, "that is his method."
My answer produced a deep impression. He obtained a clean towel, wiped the lather from my face until it was dry, raised the chair in order that I might assume a sitting posture, then leaning over the chair, with solemn countenance and a serious voice, he said: "I will never forget that little man. I went to one of his meetings in Kioto and heard him preach. When he finished, he came from the platform down the aisle, placed his hand on my shoulder, and said: 'Young man, how are you going to get rid of your sins?'"
"Have you found out how?" I asked at once.
"No," he answered, "I wish I could. When you rang the bell, I was walking up and down in my little room at the back of the shop, saying those words over and over again, and wishing that I knew. Can you tell me?"
"Yes, indeed, I can," said I; whereupon I arose from the chair, obtained my Bible, and returned to read to him the story of the Saviour's love.
Acts 10:43 impressed his heart very much -- "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Another Scripture was read --Colossians 2:14 -- "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."
"Have you any sins?" I asked.
"Oh, yes," he answered, "lots of them."
"Would you like to have them put away today?"
"If it could be so," he eagerly answered, "I would get peace in my heart, for now only trouble is there."
"Well, Jesus came to blot out your sins for you. I will read it for you in Isaiah 44:22 -- 'I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.'"
These passages seemed to deeply affect the heart of the barber, but still he did not have peace. He seemed in deep meditation as I explained the Scriptures to him, and told him about the Saviour of sinners who came to save him. I then turned to 1 John 1:7 -- "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I explained it to him, saying, "Do you not see, Mr. Barber, that the Lord Jesus was dying for you? He suffered on the cross the punishment that you should have had." We then read Romans 5:6 -- "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
These Scriptures brought the light to his dark and troubled soul. The peace of God came into his heart as he confessed his belief in the work of Christ at Calvary and his acceptance of the person of Christ for his own soul. "Jesus put my sins away," he said. "The Bible says so. I believe the Bible. I believe God sent Jesus to save me and I take Him. He is mine." These were the expressions from the heart of this man who had first met the Saviour and received the gift of a new and eternal life.
I then said to him, "Did none of your customers ever tell you of the Saviour?"
"No," he replied, "They do not talk about Jesus to me."
"Have you not been to any of our American churches?"
"Yes," he said, "but they did not tell me that Jesus blotted out my sins for me and that I could have Him as my own Saviour. No one seemed to care whether I was saved or not. It was mostly religion and singing and talking about many things, but I could not find peace in what they said. I am so glad you have come with your Bible to show me how to get rid of my sins."
Before continuing with the shaving, I said, "Are your sins gone now? Are they blotted out?"
"Yes," he replied, "Jesus has put them away, and I believe in Him."
The shave I received that day will never be surpassed. How carefully he handled the razor and me. How kind he was and how grateful. I left him with joy and peace, for his sins had been blotted out.
Some years ago a great movement was inaugurated in this country and was termed "The Interchurch World Movement." Their headquarters were in the old Siegel-Cooper Building, New York, which was of unusual size and capable of accommodating a large army of workers.
As I was riding along in the subway, reading The New York Times, I noticed an article in which it was reported that the office of this company in the Siegel-Cooper Building was considering the purchase of tents to be used in the harvest fields of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. In these tents religious meetings were to be held at night and social accommodations offered for other times.
Being interested in this movement, I went to the purchasing department to make inquiry about the situation. Here I was met by a young lady of about twenty-six years of age who expressed regret that the party that should be seen was out of the building. Since I could not come again that day, I suggested that I would return in about two days. She advised me that no doubt he would be glad to see me then.
The young woman was indeed quite pleasant and seemed greatly interested in the work she was doing, and was delightfully enthusiastic over the progress being made by the various departments in that huge institution. She asked me whether or not I was familiar with the operations of the various departments, and the results that were being obtained. Upon receiving a negative reply, she at once began to explain the workings of the art department, the map section, the social service plans, and other divisions of the enterprise. Addressing her, I said: "Do you suppose that this great army of people will be like Noah's carpenters?"
"I was not aware that Noah had any carpenters," she replied.
"Neither am I sure that he had them," I said, "But he must have had help in building that great ship, and it is quite certain that all of those helpers, except his own three sons, refused to go into the ark and were drowned. Do you think that these friends on the floor where you work, including yourself, might possibly be like those men? You and the others here are working earnestly to bring the gospel and the way of salvation to millions of lost souls scattered throughout the world. Have these been saved who are doing this work, and have you been saved yourself?"
The young woman looked quite surprised, and in her astonishment, said, "Why no, I am sure I have never been saved, and I have not heard anyone among the hundreds on this floor say he was saved. What do you mean by being saved?"
"To be saved," I assured her, "is to know that the Lord Jesus has put your sins away by His work at Calvary, has written your name in the Book of Life as one of His own children, and has given you the gift of eternal life which entitles you to a place in heaven. Has this happened to you?"
"No, it has not," she answered; "I have never heard of it before."
"Do you not go to church?" she was asked.
"Yes, I am in a Sunday school class of twenty-four girls about my own age, but the teacher has never told us of this. I never heard it before. Is there anything more in the Bible like this story of Noah?"
Noting the honest heart and the deep interest of this young life, I took out my Bible and read to her Romans 10:1-3 -- "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS, and going about to establish THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves unto the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD."
"You will see from this Scripture," I explained, "that there are two kinds of righteousness. One kind is called 'God's' and the other kind is called 'yours.' You have been striving evidently to make a righteousness by being good, going to church, keeping out of sinful practices, and in various ways endeavoring to live a good life."
Just at this point, a gentleman came and called for the young lady, so that it was necessary for me to say, "I will be back Wednesday to see the purchasing agent." During those intervening hours, I prayed earnestly that the gentleman would not be in when I returned, so that the conversation with the young lady might be resumed. Others were asked to pray also.
Wednesday morning, at ten o'clock, I again entered the great office on the fourth floor. The young lady was watching for me and hurried across the floor to meet me in the center of the room. "The gentleman you came to see is not in this morning. I am sorry, but he has been delayed. Really, sir, I am rather glad he is not here, for since our conversation last Monday, I have had no peace in my heart. My appetite has gone and I have been unable to sleep with comfort. I see that I am lost and on the outside of the door, and I DO want you to tell me how to escape the terrible wrath of God which must come upon me for my sins."
Immediately I turned to John 5:24, and read, "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 (judgment); but is passed from death unto life."
"Christ is God's Ark of safety for the sinner today. You may come to Him with your guilt and sin just as you are, and just now, here in this office, the Saviour will accept you, for that is His work. He loves to forgive. God has sent Him to save. He is waiting for you to present yourself to Him and thus prove that you believe in Him as the One whom God has sent to save you." Thus I explained the passage.
"But will I be saved if I take Christ just now, and give myself to Him?"
Seeking wisdom, I turned 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, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
"Here God Himself assures you that forgiveness of sins and justification are yours the moment you believe in Christ Jesus. Will you now take Him, believe in Him, and trust Him with your soul?"
Extending her hand to me, she said with tears, "Yes, I do believe in Him. I never saw it in that way before. I am so glad that today I may enter into that Ark. I do enter in; I do trust Christ Jesus now."
The Lord enable each one who reads this story to do likewise and thus be safe from the coming wrath.
Occasionally, the call of the pulpit reaches the mind and heart of an unsaved young man, who sees in that work a great opportunity for helpful service. He enters a seminary, studies the Bible and allied subjects for four years, is graduated and receives a "charge" in some city or village where he begins his public ministry. Such was the case of a minister about forty years of age, who visited me in my office one Monday morning about ten o'clock.
A Christian friend had driven many miles from a neighboring city to bring his pastor to see me. All night long, the pastor had walked the floor, read the Word, prayed, and conversed with my farmer friend concerning his own need of meeting Christ. He was introduced to me as the Rev. Mr. C--- from G--- City. After the introduction, by friend left and we two were together in my office with the Bible and the Lord.
"Tell me about yourself," I said, "so that I may know what line of thought to pursue, in seeking to help you."
"I am pastor of the C--- church in G--- City, where I have been now for four years. Altogether, I have been in the ministry for fourteen years. I graduated from the seminary and have never been without a pulpit since that time."
"About six months ago," he continued, "I began to search my heart to see why there were so few conversions under my ministry, and why it seemed so difficult for me to pray. The more I looked into the experiences of my heart during the past twenty years, the darker I seemed to get in my soul. I wrote to my superintendent about my distress, and he replied that I was simply restless in my spirit, because I did not have enough to do. He suggested that I should begin a building program and get rid of the old structure which was very old, dusty and dirty, and build an attractive new place."
"Was this the case?" I asked. "Do you think that a new building would give you peace?"
"No, certainly not," he answered, "and I wrote at once to my superintendent, telling him that what I needed was not activity, nor a new building, but a new experience in my heart. I received no reply to that letter."
"The reason I have now come to you is this: Last night, at the close of the service in my church, one of my church officers came to me, and said, 'Pastor, why is it that when you preach nothing happens? You have been with us now for several years, but we see no tears in the audience, no broken hearts over sin, and really you do not teach very much of the Scriptures. What is wrong?'"
"I felt that I had kept up my hypocrisy too long and should not continue it another day. 'My brother, it is because it has never happened to me,' I answered him. 'I have never been really converted myself. This has been a burden on my heart for some months, and I give you my word that I will never again preach in this pulpit, nor any other, until I have found Christ for myself and experienced in my own soul that change of heart which I have been preaching about to others, with so little success.' That, doctor, is why I am here to see you this morning."
This confession from my friend at once presented to me a difficult problem. Here was a man who knew the Bible fairly well, had received four years of training in the study of it, had preached on its texts for fourteen years, and still was in profound darkness and ignorant of the way of salvation!
"How shall I begin with you?" I asked. "You are well acquainted with the Bible."
"Just begin with me," he said, "as you would with a heathen. Just forget that I know anything at all about the Bible and start right at the beginning of the gospel story. As you tell it to me, I will find where I have missed the way; so just start in."
"We will begin our conversation," I said, "by seeing your need of this Saviour. Let us read God's indictment in Romans 3:9-19."
We read the passage through carefully. After each verse I asked him, "Is this true of you? Is this what the Lord thinks of you?" We spent quite a little time on those verses because his heart until then was really not ready to admit that he was that bad.
"This is not what I think of you, my friend, it is what God thinks of you. If God in His love, tells us what He sees in our hearts, we should bow to it. We should not set our judgment of ourselves in opposition to God's revealed judgment of us."
"No," he said, "that is right, and though I had not thought until now that I was that bad, I accept His accusation and confess my guilt."
We next turned to Romans 5:6, which reads, "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
"Are you helpless?" I asked him, "and are you the ungodly one --quite unable to help yourself?"
"Yes, that describes me," he answered. "I know that only the Saviour can save, and I want Him to save me this morning."
We next read John 3:16 and John 5:24, both of which I explained in some detail to him. The explanations did not bring light to his heart, nor peace. His countenance remained sad.
The Holy Spirit was working in his heart, and we realized His blessed presence. I quickly prayed to Him for wisdom and guidance, and then turned to John 1:12, where we read together this passage: "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." With this verse we joined 1 John 5:12, where it is recorded: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
These two Scriptures were used of the Lord to bring the light to his darkened heart. "That," said he, "is the very place where I have missed being a Christian. I have read about Christ and believed what I read. I have preached about Christ and believed what I preached, but I have never made Him my own. There never was a time when I went to Christ Jesus personally and told Him that I would take Him as my Lord and Saviour. But I will accept Him just now. He knows that my heart is hungry and I believe His Word which says: 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out'" (John 6:37).
Two years later, when I met this pastor again in a different city at a Christian Endeavor Conference, he greeted me with unusual affection and said: "Not only do I have peace with God myself, but the Lord is now saving souls through my ministry constantly."
Are you, my friend, seeking to preach or teach without first having been saved yourself? Do take Jesus Christ NOW. He will save you and you will be His own child.
In a lovely little city in the heart of Kansas, a group of Christians rented an abandoned theatre for a series of gospel meetings, and invited me to conduct the services. The meetings were advertised in surrounding towns and a goodly company of interested folk gathered to hear the gospel.
The leader of this work was standing at the front of the theatre, near the platform, talking to me about the arrangements, just before the service was to begin. We observed a man about fifty years of age walking down the aisle carrying a suitcase. Approaching us, he placed his suitcase on the floor, and then asked, "Where can I see the evangelist?"
My friend said: "This is the preacher who will conduct the services. You may talk with him now if you wish."
I immediately shook hands with the visitor and inquired how I might help him. "I came to be saved," he said. "I have been playing at this business for many years and am now fifty years old. It is time I got it settled. I drove thirty miles to come to this meeting to hear you and I hope you will explain it to me fully."
"Why did you bring the suitcase?" I asked.
"I brought my night-shirt in it, because I expect to stay here until I get saved. I am not going home until I know that I am a real Christian."
It is not often that we see such interest manifested as this. Such determination and purpose of heart will always be blessed by the Lord. I felt confident that the Holy Spirit would reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to this man because of his seeking and his coming. The Lord said: "Those that seek me early shall find me."
We sat down together, occupying seats in the front row, and I said to him: "What part of the Scriptures do you know the best?"
"I only know John 3:16," he replied.
"That is a splendid verse," I remarked. "I wonder if you believe what it says?"
"Of course I do," he said, "every word of it."
"Will you quote it for me?"
"Yes, gladly," he answered, and repeated: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"Since you tell me that you believe this verse, my friend, will you kneel here with me and thank God for several things which I will enumerate to you?"
"Yes," he said, "I am willing to do anything at all that I should do in order to be saved. That is what I came for; that is my only desire."
"Very well," said I, "let us kneel together and I will ask you to thank God first for giving His Son to YOU. Will you do this?"
"Yes," he said.
"Next I will ask you to tell God that you accept this gift and receive His Son to be your own Lord and Saviour. Will you do this, as you tell Him?"
"I certainly will," he replied.
"The third thing is to thank God for giving you everlasting life, right now, just where you are, because you have taken His own Son for yourself. Will you thank Him for this, too?"
"Yes, I will be glad to do it," he answered.
"Also, I will ask you to thank the Lord that you will never perish, never be lost, never go to hell, because you believe that Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, blotted out your sins at Calvary."
"Yes, I will tell Him that right away," was his answer.
"Now, my friend, will you turn your heart to the One who sits at God's right hand on the throne, the wounded Saviour, and say to Him: 'Lord Jesus, I thank Thee for dying for me on the cross. I believe that you bore my sins there and that you blotted them out. I thank you for it, I worship you, and I trust you with my soul'?"
"Yes," he replied quickly, "I will do all that you have told me, for I do want to get peace in my heart."
We then knelt together, and he began to pray. In his prayer, he said: "O God, I thank Thee for sending Jesus into the world to save the world. O God, won't you make me a good Christian. O God, won't you give me peace and help me to live a good life. O God do..."
Just there I reached over, shook his shoulder sharply, and said: "Stop! there is no use of your praying like that; you are just wasting your time as well as God's time."
He turned about quite frightened, arose from his knees, and trembling with emotion, said, "What's the matter; what was I doing wrong?"
"You did not do any one of the five things which I asked you to do," I explained to him. "You did not thank God for giving His son to YOU. You did not tell God that you here and now accepted this gift; neither did you thank the Lord for the gift of eternal life. You said nothing about the joy of knowing that you would never perish. You completely ignored the Lord Jesus, and said nothing to Him whatever about the wonderful <71> work He did for you at Calvary. You must accept God's Christ if you would be God's child. You need not ask God to do anything for you; it has already been done. The Gift has already been given; the sacrifice has already been made; the blood has already been shed. God wants you to believe it and to accept this Saviour just now. Will you do it?"
"Yes," he said, "I will pray again."
We again knelt down together as he prayed again, and said: "O God, since talking with the doctor, I see I told you the wrong thing. O God, I DO take your Son right now. I do accept your GIFT to me, and I believe that He came to save me; and O God, I believe that you have given me eternal life this afternoon. Thank you, O God, I thank you I will never perish. Oh, I thank you for the wonderful peace you have given me. Lord Jesus, I thank you for taking away all of my sins and blotting them out with your blood. You have saved me; I worship you; I believe you."
Thus he poured out his heart in gratitude, and arose with such thanksgiving and praise that the friends who were gathering for the service were deeply impressed with the blessing that God had given him.
Each one who reads this story is urged to make Christ Jesus your own Lord and Saviour; trust Him with your soul and lay at His feet your life. He will save you, keep you, and use you.
Sunday night had come, and the meetings which had been widely advertised were ready for the opening service. The church was crowded. Even the platform, the stairs, and the aisles were filled to capacity. The choir was in its place, the leader of song was on the platform, and the pianist seated at the piano. As I sat beside the pastor on the platform, my attention was attracted to the lady at the piano because of her distinguished appearance, and the evidences of culture and wealth which she presented.
The first hymn was announced, and as the beautiful song was played, I noted that the pianist was one of no mean ability.
"Who is the lady at the piano?" I asked the pastor.
"The worst woman in the church," he said. "She certainly causes me more trouble than any other person, and I wish she were not here in this meeting."
I was not expecting such a reply as this concerning one who seemed to be so able and so attractive. Continuing my question, I asked, "What is the trouble? In what way does she disturb you?"
He answered quickly: "Being a prominent woman in our city, she exerts a great influence on the people of this church."
I could readily see that the woman could do either a great deal of good or harm by her leadership. He continued: "This lady teaches one of the classes in our Sunday school, -- a class of young matrons. She leaves the church after teaching her class and does not attend the church service, but goes to the theatre, enjoys card parties, and is just as much interested in worldly things as in spiritual, and even more so. She is a bad example to all the members of this flock. I can do nothing with her. She will not listen to counsel."
It seemed quite a sad situation to me and so I suggested to the pastor that we slip into his study while the preliminary song service was continuing so that there we might pray together for this leading lady.
"No, I do not care to go," the pastor said; "I have prayed for her and with her; I have pleaded and argued. I have preached against worldliness in her presence, but none of these things touch her, nor change her. I wish she were not in the service at all."
"Is it possible," said I, "that there is a lost soul in this congregation who should not be here -- one who is so hardened that even the living Christ cannot reach her heart? I will go and pray that she may be the first one to be saved."
The pastor's study was quite handy, so I slipped in alone to plead with the Lord that He would make the "worst woman in the church" the very best. When I returned to the platform, it was time for my ministry to begin. I observed that the pianist was forced to remain on the bench, because there were no seats available. Every place was filled. For the first fifteen minutes of the message she paid little or no attention. She had been to many meetings and listened to much preaching, and rather considered that none of it was of interest to her.
The message that evening was an exposition of the gospel. I sought to tell the story from the Gospel of John of the value of the Lord Jesus Christ to the needy soul. A story caught her fancy and attracted her attention. The illustration seemed to appeal to her, and throughout the remainder of the service she listened attentively. I was especially stressing John 3:36 -- "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." I mentioned that it was possible to believe very much about the Son without believing on the Son Himself; that it was possible to believe the facts without accepting and appropriating them.
At the close of the service, our friend left the church without speaking to the pastor or to the evangelist. We wondered if she would return. She did return Monday night and requested one of the ushers to save her a seat in the middle of the front row. After the song service was ended, she came over and sat down immediately in front of me and listened closely to the message on "Justification." The text was Romans 5:1 -- "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." To this text was added the ninth verse. -- "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
This message evidently deepened the work of the night before. She listened closely all through the service, and at the close shook hands with the speaker, but did not wait for a personal conversation. With the soul stirred, she returned Tuesday night and again requested that a seat be reserved for her as before. The message was given on Ephesians 2:8-9 -- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Her deep interest was quite manifest now, and she did not lose a single word of the message.
Wednesday night arrived, and by that time the pastor saw the great change which had taken place in her attitude, and observed that she was following the message closely; so now he was happy to join me in prayer that that Wednesday night might be the night of decision. Our friend did not leave the piano that evening, for some one had taken the seat she had reserved and there was no other place to go. After I had spoken a few moments, she dropped her head in her hands and did not again look up throughout the service. The Lord was working in her heart. Some on the platform were praying while I was preaching.
At the close of the service, I hurried to her side -- for she was still sitting at the piano, and I found she was weeping.
"May I help you?" I asked kindly.
"Yes," she said, "I am a hypocrite and a terrible sinner, and I would like to have peace in my soul from God."
It was not possible, in the midst of the crowd, to have a quiet, personal talk with her, so I took out a card and wrote on it three Scriptures -- John 3:36; John 1:12; and 1 John 5:12. Handing it to her, I said: "Please read these when you go home in the order in which I have written them. The first Scripture tells you of God's gift, the second one tells you to accept the gift, while the third one tells you the blessing that results from accepting the gift. Please read these on your knees alone with God, and then tell me tomorrow night whether you have accepted Jesus Christ and whether He is now your Lord and Saviour."
We prayed much that evening that the Word of God would be effective in her heart. When she returned Thursday night and took her place at the piano, we could see that a wonderful change had been wrought in her heart. The radiant face, the buoyant step, the joy in the playing, all told the story in no uncertain terms. At the close of the service, she hurried to us to tell how, in the upper room at home, she had turned her heart and her soul to Christ, and had within her heart the "peace which passeth understanding."
Are you active in the church,
my friend, and yet a hindrance? Are you a professing Christian without
having Christ? Are you busy in the service of the King without being the
child of the King? Do come to that Saviour now and He will save you to