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Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 1

By Reuben Archer Torrey


      A Deacon Who Went Fishing on Sunday

      One night when I arose to preach in the Chicago Avenue Church I saw sitting just to my left in the front seat underneath the gallery one of my deacons and side by side with him a flashily-dressed and hard-looking man. I at once concluded that he was a sporting man and I said to myself, "Deacon Young has been fishing to-day." It is a good thing to have deacons that go fishing on Sunday--fishing for souls.

      Every little while as I was preaching, I would turn around and look at that man. His eyes were riveted upon me. He was paying the closest attention. Evidently the whole scene was strange to him and some power, mysterious to him, had taken hold of him. When we went to the inquiry room below, Deacon Young brought him along.

      I was late talking to inquirers that night, and about eleven o'clock Deacon Young came over to me as I finished with one inquirer and said, "Come over here and talk to a man that I have." I went over. It was this big sporting man. He was shaking and groaning with emotion.

      "Oh," he groaned," I don't know what is the matter with me. I never felt like this before in all my life. I never was in a place like this before," he continued. "My mother keeps a gambling house in Omaha, and we are Roman Catholics, but this afternoon as I was going down the street over here, I saw some of your men holding an open air meeting. As I passed, one of them rose to speak. I had known him before when he was leading a wild life, and out of curiosity I stopped to listen. I listened until he was done speaking and then continued on my way, intending to go down on Cottage Grove Avenue to meet some men to pass the afternoon gambling. But I had not gone two blocks before some strange power took hold of me and brought me back to the meeting. When the meeting broke up, this man (pointing to Deacon Young) brought me to your church to the Yoke Fellow's Supper, and then to the meeting afterwards, then took me up-stairs to hear you preach. Then he brought me down here. Oh," he groaned again, "I don't know what is the matter with me. I feel awful. I never felt this way before in all my life."

      "I will tell you what is the matter with you," I said. "You are under conviction of sin. The Spirit of God is dealing with you. Will you take Christ as your Saviour?"

      The huge man fell on his knees on the floor and commenced to cry to God for mercy. Jesus Christ met him there. His sobs ceased, a look of peace came into his face and he left the building rejoicing in Christ.

      An Infidel Converted Beside a Coffin

      A YOUNG lady in the Bible Institute, Chicago, started to call upon every family on a certain street in the poorer quarter of the city. One day she pushed open a door and found a man lying ill in bed, dying with consumption. When she began to speak to him, he told her crossly that he was an infidel and did not believe in the Bible. She spoke a few words and left.

      The next day she took him a glass of jelly, and the next day took him some other delicacy and a few days after that something else. She kept up her kindly ministrations for about a month. One Sunday afternoon she came to me as I was leaving my Bible class and said, "There is an infidel dying down on Milton Avenue. I know you are very busy, but could you not take a few moments to go and see him?"

      "Yes," I replied, "I will go now." She took me to the home and introduced me to the man and left. I sat down by his bed and asked if I could read from the Bible to him. He replied that I could. I read him a part of the fifth chapter of Romans, dwelling upon the places that told of God's love for the sinner. I read him the place where it told how Jesus Christ bore all our sins in His own body on the cross. Then I asked if I could pray. I knelt by his bed. I felt his time was short. I asked God to open his eyes to see that he was a lost sinner, and also to open his eyes to see that Jesus had borne all his sins in His own body on the cross, and to show him that he could find pardon and salvation then and there by simply trusting in Jesus. When I finished the prayer I began to sing in a low tone,

      "Just as I am without one plea,
      But that Thy blood was shed for me,
      And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee --
      O Lamb of God, I come, I come."

      I sang on verse after verse. When I reached the last verse he broke in in a feeble voice (he had evidently heard the song somewhere in his boyhood days) and he sang with me,

      "Just as I am -- Thou wilt receive.
      Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
      Because Thy promise I believe --
      O Lamb of God, I come, I come!"

      When we had finished, I looked up and said, "Did you really come?"

      He said, "I did."

      I talked with him a little while and found that he really was trusting in the Saviour. That night he passed away to be with Him.

      His wife, who was a Roman Catholic, came to me the next day and asked if I would conduct the funeral. I said I would. Around the coffin were gathered a considerable number of his old infidel friends. I told them the story of his death; how his infidelity had failed him in that trying hour and how he had been led to see his need of the Saviour and that Jesus Christ was just the Saviour he needed, and how he had been led to accept Christ. Then I said, "Are there any of you here to-day who have been infidels who will accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour?"

      A stalwart man standing on the other side of the coffin reached his hand across to me and said, "I have been an infidel with him. I have sympathized with him in all his views, but I now give them up and take Jesus Christ as my Saviour."

      The Holy Spirit's Power to Convict of Sin

      The officers of Chicago Avenue Church were greatly troubled at one time that there was not more conviction of sin in the meetings, and had a number of prayer meetings that God might send His Holy Spirit in mighty convicting power.

      Not long after that, one Sunday night as I was preaching, I noticed a man in the front seat in the gallery to my left, leaning forward listening most intently. A great diamond flashed upon his shirt front and he had every appearance of a sporting man. He proved to be a travelling man but was also leading a sporting life.

      In the midst of my sermon, without any intention of drawing the net at the time, but simply to drive a point home and make it definite, I said, "Who will accept Jesus Christ to-night?" Scarcely had the words left my lips when this man sprang to his feet and cried so that it rang through the church like a pistol shot, "I will," and sank back into his seat overcome with emotion. His action produced a sensation in the audience like a shock of electricity. I saw it was no time to finish the sermon. I was not there to save sermons but to save souls, and I immediately gave the invitation. I said, "Who else in this building will accept Jesus Christ here and now as his personal Saviour?" All over the church men and women, young and old, began to rise to their feet and a large company that night accepted Jesus Christ.

      Among the number was an old white-haired colonel belonging to a very wealthy family in the east, but who was entirely overcome with strong drink. His family had sent him out to Chicago and boarded him at a hotel there while he drank himself to death, but that night the Spirit of God touched his heart.

      Saved at Ninety-two

      When we were in Warrnambool, Australia, for two or three successive nights, I noticed an old man sitting up in the front seats drinking in every word I said. I afterwards learned that he was ninety-two years of age. One night after having come two or three times, when I gave out the invitation, this old man rose to his feet and professed to accept Christ. It was a very clear case of conversion. He said, "I have never been to a religious meeting since I was ten years of age until these meetings began, but I have been led to see myself a sinner and to accept Jesus Christ as my Saviour."

      He was a very happy convert. Every day he would come and whenever he could he would bring others and he was always ready to testify to the saving grace of God. It filled our hearts with joy to think how this old man was plucked from the fire at the last moment, but how much more it meant for the kingdom when some of the children of Warrnambool at the age of eight or nine accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. This old man was a soul saved, "saved so as by fire," but with little work accomplished for the Master. The boy of eight who was converted was a soul saved, plus fifty, or sixty or seventy or eighty years of service.

      Do You Believe That, Sir?

      One night when I was speaking in a hall on the ground floor in Washington Avenue, there staggered into the room a man very much under the influence of liquor. He had once been prominent in his home town, postmaster of the town, but he had gone down through drink. He had drifted to Minneapolis. For a while he served beer in one of the lowest dens in the city, but afterwards became too low even for that and was kicked out on to the street. This night everything he had in the world but one small coin was gone. As he entered the hall, which by mistake he had taken for a saloon, his hat was on his head, a cigar in his mouth and he began to stagger down the aisle. A lady by the door stepped up to him and kindly asked him to take off his hat and let her have his cigar. Then she conducted him down the aisle to a seat near the front.

      Just as he took his seat, a man who had formerly been in the deepest depths of degradation was giving his testimony to the saving power of Christ. The drunken man leered up at me as the other man gave his testimony and said with a hiccough, "Do you believe that, sir?"

      "Yes, sir," I replied, "I know that story is true. I know this man, and what is more the same Jesus that saved him can save you." Then as the other man finished his testimony I turned to him and said: "Joe, take this man out into my office and talk with him." He took him out into my office and talked with him and kept him there until the meeting was over. Then I went out and found him partly sobered and was able to point him to Christ. He went away that night with the knowledge of sins forgiven. He was taken to a cheap lodging house where he spent the night.

      The next day he found work, very humble work but enough to pay for his lodging and food. In a little while he found a better position and soon a still better one. He entered the employ of one of the large railways entering Minneapolis. He soon won the confidence of his employers. He was beginning to think about going to Chicago to prepare for Christian work when his health broke down. The company that employed him were very kind to him and sent him to the southwest in the hope that he would recover his health but he gradually failed and in a few months died of rapid consumption.

      At his death his mother, who had rejoined him sent me a letter telling of his last days, days of triumph, and also sending me the last picture he had had taken. For years that picture stood on my mantel with his story written on the back of it. To have looked into the face one would never have thought that it was the face of a man who had been down into the deepest depths of degradation. It was a frank, open, genial, true Christian face. But the same Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who transformed this man's life can transform yours.

      A Deep Spiritual Concern for Your Soul

      In a small country town there was an infidel blacksmith. He was a hard-headed, well-read man, strong in argument. An old deacon in the town became deeply interested in this infidel blacksmith and determined to lead him to Christ. He studied up as best he could all the infidel arguments and the answers to them. When he thought he had all the infidel arguments and answers at his fingers' ends, he called on the blacksmith and engaged him in conversation, but the blacksmith was far more than a match for him in argument and in a few moments had fought the old deacon to a standstill. The old deacon knew that he was right, but he could not prove it to the blacksmith. He burst into tears and said, "Well, I cannot argue with you, but I simply want to say, I have a deep spiritual concern for your soul," and then left the shop.

      The deacon made his way home and went in to his wife and said, "I am only a botch on God's work. God knows I am sincere and that I really do desire the salvation of the blacksmith but I could not meet him in argument. He laid me out cold in five minutes." Then the deacon went into his own room by himself and knelt down. "Oh, God," he cried, "I am only a botch on Thy work. Thou knowest that I sincerely desired to lead the blacksmith to Thee, but I could not talk with him. Oh, God, I am only a botch on Thy work."

      But soon after the deacon had left the blacksmith shop, the blacksmith went into the house and said to his wife, "Deacon brought up an argument to-day that I never heard before. He said he had a deep spiritual concern for my soul. What did he mean?" His wife was a canny woman and said, "You had better go and ask him." The blacksmith hung up his apron and went cross lots to the deacon's home. Just as he stepped on the front porch, through the open window he heard the deacon's prayer," Oh, God, I am only a botch on Thy work. Thou knowest that I sincerely desired to lead the blacksmith to Thee but I could not talk with him. Oh, God, I am only a botch on Thy work." He pushed the door open and went into the room where the deacon was kneeling and said, "Deacon, you are no botch on God's work. I thought I knew all the arguments for Christianity and could answer them but you brought up an argument I never heard before. You said you had a deep spiritual concern for my soul. Won't you pray for me?" and the blacksmith broke down and accepted Christ.

      Real earnestness and love succeed where all argument fails.

      How the Devil Got Us an Audience

      One night all of my workers that were to help me in an open air meeting failed to come except one man. This man could not sing much better than I could, and I turned to him and said, "George, shall we go out and try to hold an open air meeting?" And he said, "Yes, let us go anyhow."

      We went to the corner where we usually held the meeting and stood in the road facing the sidewalk and began to sing to an audience of one. Our singing did not seem to attract any one that night, but soon a drunken man came along, and thought he would have some fun. He began to shout and dance and go through all sorts of antics in the street right beside us, and the crowds began to gather together to watch him. When the crowd was large enough, I held him by the hand and said to my companion, "Now, George, give your testimony." He commenced to tell what the Lord had done for him and also to preach a short sermon, using the drunken man as a text. When he had finished, he held the drunken man by the hand to keep him quiet and I spoke, using the drunken man as a text. Hardened characters in the audience began to say, "I would not like to be in that drunken man's place." But God blessed the Word and we had one of the best meetings we ever had. We had been unable to draw a crowd but the drunken man had drawn the crowd for us and then God had given us the message.

      The Meanest Thief in Minneapolis

      I WAS preaching one hot summer night in Minneapolis. The room was packed, mostly with men. The windows had been taken out of the cases to get a little additional fresh air. When I gave out the invitation a man arose by one of these windows near a door. As soon as I pronounced the benediction, he shot through the door, not waiting for the after-meeting. I forgot all about the after-meeting and saw only that man. I do not know to this day what became of the after-meeting. I reached him just as he was about to go down the stairway. I laid my hand on his shoulder and said, "My friend, you stood up to-night to say you wished to become a Christian."

      "Yes."

      "Why did you not stay to the after-meeting?"

      "It is no use."

      "God loves you," I said.

      "You don't know who you are talking to," he replied, "I am the meanest thief in Minneapolis."

      "Well," I said, " if you are the meanest thief in Minneapolis, I can prove God loves you," and I opened my Bible to Romans 5:8, "God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

      "Now," I said, "if you are the meanest thief in Minneapolis, you are certainly a sinner, and this verse says that God loves sinners." It touched the man's heart and he went quietly with me to my office.

      "I was released from prison," he said, "to-day, and started out to-night with three companions to commit one of the most daring burglaries that was ever committed in Minneapolis. By to-morrow morning I would either have had a pile of money, or a bullet in my body. I passed by the corner and heard your open air meeting. A Scotchman was speaking. I am a Scotchman and my mother was Scotch. When I heard that Scotch tongue, it made me think of my mother. The other night in prison I dreamed of my mother. I dreamed that she came to me and besought me to give up the evil life I was leading. When I heard that Scotchman speak it brought it all back. I stopped and listened and my companions tried to pull me along but I would not go. They cursed me but still I stayed. When you gave out your invitation for your meeting in the hall, I followed you and listened to your sermon."

      I explained to him the way of life and he accepted the Saviour. We knelt side by side in prayer. He offered the most wonderful prayer but one I ever heard in my life, and went out of my office rejoicing in the knowledge of sins forgiven.

      A short time before the meanest thief in Minneapolis but now a happy child of God.

      Forgiven by Both Fathers

      Some years ago an English farmer, William Dorset, was preaching in London. In the course of his sermon he said, "There is not a man in all London whom Jesus Christ cannot save."

      At the close of the meeting a lady missionary in London came to him and said, "Mr. Dorset, did you say that there wasn't a man in all London that Jesus Christ cannot save?"

      "Yes, madam, that is what I said."

      "Well, there is a man here in London I wish you would see. He says that he is beyond salvation."

      "I will go and see him to-morrow morning," replied Mr. Dorset, "if you will take me to him."

      They started out early the next morning for East London, stopped before a high, wretched tenement building. "You will find him," she said, "in the top story in the back room. You had better go up alone as he will talk more freely with you than if some one else is with you."

      Mr. Dorset began to climb the stairs. Each flight of stairs seemed more wretched and filthy than the one that preceded it. At last he reached the top story and found the door hanging by one hinge which he pushed open as best he could. There was not a window in the room but when his eye became accustomed to the darkness, over in the corner he saw a young man lying on a pile of filthy straw. He walked softly across the floor and leaned over the young man and said, "My friend."

      The young man looked up with a start and said, "You are mistaken, sir, I am not your friend; you are not my friend. I haven't a friend in the world."

      "Yes, you have," said Mr. Dorset, "I am your friend and what is better Jesus Christ is your Friend too."

      "No," he replied, "Jesus Christ is no Friend of mine. I have disobeyed His laws. I have trampled Him under foot all my life, and He is no Friend of mine."

      "Yes, He is," insisted Mr. Dorset, and sat down by his side and from the Bible proved that Jesus Christ was the Friend of sinners and his Friend.

      The young man listened to the story of redeeming love and at last put his trust in Jesus Christ and found pardon. Then he turned to Mr. Dorset and said, "My Heavenly Father has forgiven me. I could die happy if I only knew my earthly father had forgiven me also."

      "I will go and see him," said Mr. Dorset.

      "No, I don't wish you to do that. You would only be insulted. My father does not allow my name to be mentioned in his presence. He has taken it off the family register. He has not allowed my name to be mentioned to him for two years."

      "I will go and see him anyway," said Mr. Dorset. He secured his address, and hurried to the West End of London where the father lived. It was in a beautiful mansion. He was met at the door by a liveried servant and taken into the reception-room. The father, a fine-looking English gentleman, soon came into the room, and extended his hand in a cordial way towards Mr. Dorset.

      "I have come to speak to you about your son Joseph," said Mr. Dorset.

      The father dropped his hand as if he had been shot. "I have no son Joseph," he said. "I do not allow that young man's name to be mentioned in my presence. I have had it taken off the family register. I simply want to tell you if you have had anything to do with that young man, you are being deceived. Good day." He turned upon his heel and started to leave the room.

      As he was about to cross the threshold Mr. Dorset said in a gentle voice, "Well, he is your son anyway, but he won't be very long."

      The father turned around quickly and said, "Is Joseph dying?"

      "Yes, he is dying. I haven't come to ask you to do anything for him. I do not ask you even to pay his funeral expenses. I will gladly do that; but his Heavenly Father has forgiven him and he says he could die happy if only his earthly father would forgive him too."

      "Forgive him," said the father, "I would have forgiven him long ago if he had only asked it. Take me to him."

      The gentleman ordered his carriage and they hurried down to the wretched tenement in the East End of London, hurried up the stairs and to the dark room where the son lay dying. As the father entered the door the son looked up and said, "Father, my Heavenly Father has forgiven me. I could die happy if you would forgive me too."

      "Forgive you," cried the father as he hurried across the floor, "I would have forgiven you long ago if you had only asked it." The boy was too ill to be moved and the gentleman sank on the floor by his side and took his son's head upon his shoulder and he died happy, knowing that his Heavenly Father had forgiven him and his earthly father had forgiven him too. God stands ready now to forgive any sinner, even the vilest and most hopeless who will trust Him.

      No Greater Joy

      One of the greatest joys on earth is the joy of bringing others to a saving knowledge of Christ. I have heard people tell that when they were converted the whole world seemed different; that the sun seemed to shine with a new light; there was new music in the song of the birds; all nature seemed clothed with new beauty and glory. I had no such experience when I was converted. In fact, I was converted in the middle of the night, and the sun was not shining at all. But I did have such an experience the first time I led another to the definite acceptance of Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour.

      Looking across one of Mr. Moody's inquiry meetings in the city of New Haven, I saw a young lady that I had known when I was living a worldly life. I went over to her and spoke to her and invited her to accept the Saviour that I had found, but she was stubborn and unwilling to give up the world. I dealt with her for two solid hours and seemed to be making but little headway. Then at the very close she yielded and accepted Christ. When I left the building where this decision was made, it was nearly sunset in the spring-time; the whole world seemed to have a beauty in it that I had never seen in it before. It literally seemed as if I had never seen such a light in the sun, nor such beauty in the flowers and trees and grass. It seemed as if I were walking on air. My heart was filled with a joy I had never known before. There is no joy like the joy of saving men and it is possible for every child of God, no matter how humble nor how ungifted, to have this joy.

      A Converted Jewess

      When after an absence of two years from America, I returned to spend a month with my church in Chicago, I found that a young Jewish woman, a very brilliant woman in the work she had to do, had been converted during my absence. Her conversion was very genuine. She was full of love to Christ as Jews generally are when they are converted. She went to the place where she worked, a well known house in Chicago, and commenced talking of Christ to the other employees. Some of them did not like it, and they went to the head of the firm and said, "Miss -- is constantly talking to us about Christ. We don't like it."

      The manager of the firm called her in and said, "We have no objection to Christianity, no objection to your being a Christian. We think it is a good thing, but you must not talk it about this establishment."

      "Very well," she said, " I will not work in a place where I cannot take Christ with me and talk for my Master." She had a family to support, an aged mother and other members of the family, and did not know where she was going -- just converted from Judaism to Christianity. But she would not give up her loyalty to her new Master.

      "Very well," they said, "you will have to lose your position."

      "Very well," she said, "I will give up my position before I will be disloyal to Jesus Christ."

      They said, "Very well, go back to your work."

      She went back to her work expecting every day to receive her dismissal. At the end of the week she received a letter from the manager. "Here is my discharge," she said as she tore it open. The head of the establishment said, "We have a place of greater responsibility than the one you now occupy and with a larger salary than you are getting. We think you are just the person for the place, and we offer it to you." They saw she could be trusted. Business men are looking for men and women whom they can trust.

      The Greatest Sin a Man Can Possibly Commit

      One night I was preaching in Chicago for another pastor. At the close of the service, the minister came to me and said, "I have a young man in my congregation who wishes to be a minister. I would like to have you talk with him."

      I replied, "Bring him to me after the after-meeting," and he brought the young man to me. He had one of the cleanest, finest, most open faces I ever saw in my life. I looked into the face of this young man and said, "Your pastor says you wish to enter the ministry."

      "Yes, I do."

      "Well," I said, "let me ask you a question. Are you a Christian?"

      "Of course, I am a Christian," he answered, "I was brought up a Christian, and I am not going back on the training of my parents."

      I said, "Have you been born again?"

      He said, "What?"

      I said, "Have you ever been born again? God says, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Have you ever been born again?"

      He said, "I don't know what you are talking about. I have never heard of that before in all my life."

      I said, "My friend, see here; do you know that you have committed the greatest sin that a man can commit?"

      "No," he said, "I never did in my life. You don't understand me. I have been very carefully reared. My life has been a most exemplary life. I never committed the greatest sin that a man can commit -- never!"

      I asked, "What do you think is the greatest sin a man can commit?"

      "Why," he replied, "murder, of course."

      "You are greatly mistaken. Will you please read what Jesus says about it?" and I opened my Bible to Matt. 22:37,38, and asked him to read. He read, "Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.'"

      "Which commandment is that?" I asked.

      He replied, "The first and great commandment."

      "If this is the first and great commandment what is the first and great sin?"

      "Not to keep this commandment."

      "Have you kept it? Have you loved God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind? Have you put God first in everything -- God first in business, God first in politics, God first in pleasure, God first in study, God first in everything?"

      "No, sir," he said, " I have not."

      "What have you done then?"

      "I have broken this commandment."

      "Which commandment is it?"

      "The first and the great commandment."

      "What have you done then?"

      He replied, "I have broken the first and greatest of God's commandments. I have committed the greatest sin a man can commit, but I never saw it before in all my life."

      And so have you, though, perhaps, you never saw it before in all your life.

      An Angry Father Converted

      When I lived in Minneapolis a child of a man deep down in sin had been converted. This greatly angered the father. One day I was holding an open air meeting at the foot of Washington Avenue. The father thought he saw his opportunity to have revenge. He got a basket of rotten eggs, and went up on the top of an adjoining building to throw the eggs at us as we held the meeting. But as he stood on the top of the building and was about to throw the eggs, the Spirit of God touched his heart and brought him under the deepest conviction of sin.

      At the close of our meeting that night in our hall, a tall muscular man with a hardened face that bore the marks of long-continued sin, came to me overwhelmed with grief and asked me to pray for him. He said, "This afternoon when you were speaking down at the foot of Washington Avenue, I went up on the top of the building with a basket of rotten eggs to rotten-egg you, but I became overwhelmed with a sense of sin and I have come up here to-night for you to tell me what to do to be saved." It was easy work to lead him to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as the One who had borne all his sins in His own body on the cross, and the man left the hall that night rejoicing in the knowledge of sins forgiven.

      The Other Half of the Gospel

      A MAN came to me one day in Chicago and said, "I want to talk with you."

      Mr. Moody was away, so I took him into Mr. Moody's room, and asked, "What do you want to talk with me about?"

      He said, "I am a Scotchman. When I was seven years old over in Scotland, I started to read my Bible through. Before I had read long, I came to a place where it said that if a man should keep the law of God a hundred years, and then break it, he was under the curse of a broken law. Is that right?"

      "Well," I said, "the Bible does not put it in just those words, but it amounts to that. It says, 'Cursed is every man that continueth not in all the things that are written in the Book of the Law to do them.'"

      "Well," he said, "that is what I found, and I knew I had already broken the law of God, though I was only seven years old, and I was under the curse of a broken law. I was plunged into the deepest distress. Though I was only a child of seven, I wept over my sins often by day and often by night. I was in distress of soul for a whole year, but I kept on reading my Bible, and at last I got over to the New Testament, and read John 3:16, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' I saw that Jesus died for my sins, and my burden all rolled away, and I was perfectly happy. Was I converted?"

      "Well," I said, "that sounds like an evangelical conversion."

      "Wait a moment," he said, "and listen to the rest of my story. I grew up to manhood; I moved to America; I came over here to Chicago; I went to work in the stockyards, and live down there. You know it is a hard place. I have got to drinking, and every little while I go off on a drunk. Now, what I want to know is this, is there any way I can get victory over drink and over all sin?"

      "You have come just to the right place to get an answer to your question," I replied, "I can tell you the way. You have only believed half the Gospel, and therefore you've got only half a salvation. Listen to the whole Gospel."

      I opened my Bible to 1 Cor. 15:1-4 and I read, "'This is the Gospel that I have preached unto you . . . that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.' That is the first half of the Gospel but it is only half. Listen as I read on and you will see the other half, 'And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.' Do you believe that half of the Gospel also? You have already believed in Christ crucified and found pardon and peace, but the rest of the Gospel is that Christ rose again. Do you believe that?"

      "Oh, yes," he said, "I believe everything in the Bible."

      I said, "Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose again?"

      He said, "I do."

      "Do you believe He has all power in heaven and on earth as He said He had?"

      He said, " I do."

      "Well, if He has all power in heaven and on earth, He has power to set you free from the power of sin. Do you believe that?"

      "Yes, I do."

      "Will you trust Him to do it now? You have believed half the Gospel, you have got half a salvation. You have believed in a crucified Christ and got pardon; now will you believe in a risen Christ and get victory? Will you trust Him now as the risen Saviour to set you free from the drink and other sin?"

      He said, "I will."

      "Let us kneel down and tell God so."

      We knelt down. I prayed and he prayed. After he had prayed he looked up and said, "Lord Jesus, I have believed half the Gospel that Thou didst die in my place and I have found pardon and peace through believing it. I now believe the other half of the Gospel that you rose again and have all power in heaven and on earth and have power to set me free from drink and sin and I trust you to do it. Set me free now."

      When he had finished, I said, " Do you really trust Him to do it?"

      He said, "I do."

      We got up. I gave him a few words of advice and we separated. In a few weeks I received a letter from him, a very short letter, but very much to the point. He said, "I am so glad I came to see you. It works."

      Thank God it does work. A crucified Christ brings pardon; a risen Christ brings deliverance from the power of sin the moment you believe.

      God Uses a Weak Instrument

      Before Mr. Alexander joined me in the work, he was engaged with another evangelist, much of their time being given to meetings in large tents. At one of their meetings in Iowa, a young fellow who was very illiterate was converted. Soon after his conversion, he came to Mr. Alexander and said, "Charlie, I want to go with you in the work."

      Mr. Alexander said, "Fred, you could not go with us in the work. You can scarcely read. What could you do?"

      "Oh," he replied, "I could take care of the tent, black your boots, do anything, but I must go with you."

      Mr. Alexander thought it was only a whim and put him off, but the man was so insistent day after day that he decided to try him. He proved himself invaluable in many ways but to the surprise of all, he not only attended to the janitor work of the tent but proved a most efficient soul winner. So great was his earnestness and his spiritual power that people entirely overlooked his ungrammatical speech, and he succeeded with many cases where every one else failed. He not only led the most desperate cases among the lower classes to Christ, but also was used among the cultured and refined. He kept an accurate record of all those whom he led to Christ. In five years he was used of God in personal work to the salvation of 1,200 persons.

      Why did God so use him? Because, though he had but little, all that he had and all that he was he gave up unreservedly to God. It was a case of absolute surrender, and God kept His promise and gave the Holy Spirit to the man who obeyed Him. (Acts 6:32.)

Back to Reuben Archer Torrey index.

See Also:
   Anecdotes and Illustrations Publisher's Note
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 1
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 2
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 3
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 4
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 5
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 6
   Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 7

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