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Anecdotes and Illustrations: Part 3

By Reuben Archer Torrey


      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?"

      "No, sir."

      "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.

      Fighting Whiskey

      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.

      Persistence Pays

      In the early days of his work in Chicago, Mr. Moody was always on the watch for children for his Sunday-school. Wherever he saw a child, he would approach them and invite them to the Sunday-school. One day he saw a little girl standing on the corner with a pail in her hand in which she was going to fetch beer. He accosted the little child pleasantly and invited her to his Sunday-school, and she promised to come. The next Sunday Mr. Moody was on the lookout for her, but she did not put in an appearance. Then he began to hunt for her everywhere, but days passed without seeing her. One day he noticed her on the street and started towards her. But no sooner did she see him coming than she broke into a run. He began to run down the street after her. She went flying as fast as her feet would carry her. Mr. Moody was after her in hot pursuit. She turned the corner; he after her. She went down an alley, up another street, Mr. Moody still in hot pursuit. She dashed into a saloon. He dashed after her. Through the saloon she went; Mr. Moody following. Up the stairway at the rear. Mr. Moody still in pursuit. She dashed into a bedroom, and Mr. Moody never stopped. She plunged under a bed, and Mr. Moody drew her out by the leg. She proved to be the child of a widow with a large family that were living over the saloon. The circumstances of the family were anything but elevating, but Mr. Moody won that whole family for Christ. In later years, the child grown to womanhood, was one of the most honoured workers in the church and the wife of a highly esteemed office-bearer.

      Won by a Smile

      As a Sunday-school worker hurried down the streets of Chicago one day on his way to Sunday-school, he noticed a little baby being held at the window by some one in the family. He turned towards the baby and smiled. The baby smiled back. The next Sunday the baby was there again and again he smiled at the baby and waved his hand. The next Sunday there were several at the window with the baby watching for him to pass and again he recognized the baby and smiled and waved his hand. Some one in the house followed him. They saw him turn into the Sunday-school and went back home and told where he had gone. The next Sunday some of the children appeared at the Sunday-school and finally the whole family was won for Christ. Won by a smile. No one can ever tell where some little act of kindness will end.

      Could Not Get Over Her Father's Life

      I ONCE received an anonymous note asking me to call on the lady principal of a school. She was a woman of very brilliant gifts but professed to be an utter unbeliever. I called one day at the school and received a very cordial reception, but the woman said, "I do not believe anything. I do not even read the Bible because it seems wrong for one to read it and disbelieve everything in it as I do."

      As I talked with her, she insisted that she was confirmed in her unbelief, and that there was no possibility of her being led out of it. But suddenly she began to weep and I said to her, "Why are you crying?"

      "Oh," she said, "there is one thing I cannot get over, and that is my father's life. My father was a minister of the gospel, and whenever I think of the holy life he lived, I feel that there must be something in Christianity. I cannot get over his life." She had tried hard to do so, but she had failed utterly.

      Starting out from this point, I was able to tell her how she could find out for herself that beyond a peradventure the Bible was the Word of God, and Jesus Christ the Son of God. She promised to follow the plan suggested, and I afterwards had the privilege of receiving her into membership in the church.

      But my reasonings would have been of no avail if she had not been prepared to listen to them by the insurmountable argument of her own father's holy life. The best argument for Christianity is a Christian life.

      Converted at Nine Years of Age

      A CHILD can be a true Christian. Some people do not believe that. Some people think a boy or girl must grow up until they are twenty or twenty-one, or at least until they are fifteen or sixteen before they can understand what it means to be a Christian. This is a great mistake. Boys and girls that can understand anything can understand that Jesus died for them and that He rose again and is able to help and keep them day by day, and they can take Jesus and trust Him as their own Saviour.

      Long, long years ago over in Western Asia, there was an old man ninety-five years of age with long beard hanging down upon his bosom, and long white hair hanging down upon his neck. His name was Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. A new Roman governor came to Smyrna who bitterly hated Christianity and determined to stamp it out of his province. His councillors said to him, " If you are going to stamp out Christianity, you would better deal with Polycarp, for he is the best and most influential Christian in Smyrna." Polycarp was away from Smyrna in the country at the time but the governor sent for him and had him dragged to Smyrna.

      When Polycarp was brought before the governor, he said to him, "Are you a Christian?"

      "Yes, I am a follower of Jesus."

      "But," said the governor, "you must renounce Jesus and sacrifice to the idols or I will throw you to the lions and they will tear you limb from limb." But Polycarp refused. The governor grew more angry and said, "Unless you renounce Jesus, I will have them burn you at the stake."

      Polycarp replied, "These eighty and six years have I served my Lord and He never did me any harm, and I cannot deny my Lord and Master now."

      They took old Polycarp out and tied him to the stake. They piled the fagots around him and they came with a torch and touched the light to the wood. Hotter and hotter grew the flames and Polycarp's flesh began to burn, but the aged saint stood there triumphant, rejoicing to suffer for the name of Jesus.

      He was ninety-five years old when he died. He had been a Christian, according to his own testimony, eighty-six years. Polycarp must have been converted when he was nine years of age.

      It is plain that a boy can be a Christian and a good one too. It is also plain that the good children do not all die young. Ninety-five years of age is not very young to die.

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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