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of the awful havoc of sin, especially of
gambling, drunkenness, quarreling and
fighting in that very commimity;



How an Oregon Town Was Captured. i08

and now, with absolute fearlessness, I
went straight at them about their own
sins. I tried to show them that the
devil was a hard master, and that they
had been serving him and working for
him very hard, and had very poor satis-
faction for it. I only preached about
twenty-five minutes, but it was long
enough to make some of them fighting
mad, to melt others to tears, and to send
some others away looking very solemn.
At the close of the service I announced
that I would preach that night on " The
Sin and Doom of Drunkenness.' '

As soon as I had pronounced the bene-
diction a stage-driver, who had the repu-
tation of being the most wicked man
in the community, and who was ruining
his family by drunkenness and gambling,
came up, swore a horrid oath, and said

I must find it lonesome, and he

pitied me, interlarding every sentence
with an oath. But he ended by asking
me to go home with him to dinner. I



104 Soul-Winning Stories.

accepted, and as we walked along home
I became convinced that, in spite of all
his swearing and his bold manner, the
man was hard hit, and that God had used
the morning service to deeply convict him
of sin. I acted on this idea, and stuck
to him that whole afternoon like a leech,
and prodded at him in every way I
could. I charged him with ruining his
boys, and told him that unless he re-
pented now and turned over a new leaf
they would soon be so far gone he never
could bring them back. In spite of his
wickedness he was by nature a generous-
hearted man, and I urged upon him
the good he might do by boldly turning
his back on the devil and leading in a
surrender to Christ.

He made me no promises that after-
noon, and tried to make me believe that
he was indifferent. But I felt sure that
he was not. At night we had as big a
crowd as we had had in the morning.
The school-house was lighted with can-



How an Oregon Town Was Captured. 105

dies hung up around the walls. I
preached that night on, ^^Know ye not
that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God?'' I read that
awful list that Paul gives, in which
drunkards are specially named, and with
all the power that was in me I uncovered
the horrors of drunkenness. I illustrated
it with incidents that I had gathered
during the week in their own neighbor-
hood, with which they were acquainted.
If I had done this in a hard way, no
doubt they would have mobbed me.
But I was dead in earnest, and I was
young, and so evidently tender and sin-
cere about it that the Holy Spirit made
them listen to it. I had not spoken
thirty minutes when tremendous con-
viction fell upon the congregation. Men
as well as women were sobbing and
crying. I asked the men to get up from
a bench in front of me, and then I pleaded
for those who would cease their sins and
tiu-n to Christ to come to that bench



106 Soul-Winning Stories.

and kneel down there. The first to
come was the stage-driver, and his wife
came with him. His prompt action
had great effect. Others crowded for-
ward, and every bit of room on both
sides of that bench was soon crowded
with those who were kneeling there. I
prayed awhile, then I talked awhile,
and then prayed again. There was no-
body to sing, and nobody else to pray,
until after half an hour or so the stage-
driver was happily converted, and then
he exhorted and prayed. The meeting
did not break up till nearly midnight.
Some ten men were hopefully converted
that night, and three or four women.

I announced that there would be a
meeting every night that week, and asked
them to bring any old hymn-books they
had, no matter what kind. I spent the
days of that week visiting among the
people, and talking and praying in their
homes, and preaching at night. We
bega^i to have good singing. They



How an Oregon Town Was Captured. 107

brought all sorts of books, but we sang
the old hymns that were in all of them,
and as the people were converted it was
wonderful how it aroused their musical
powers. Before the week was out we
had good congregational singing.

I could only stay ten days at that
time, as I had appointed a meeting in
another place, but I left a class of sixty-
five men and women. It became the
main point on my circuit. Before the
year was out we raised money for a
church, and had land and money given
to build an academy, and it has been
for years a church-going academy town.
But that revival was the way the trans-
formation was begun.



CHAPTER VIII
A SERVANT GIRL'S QUARTET



CHAPTER VIII.



ONE can never tell how great a
victory has been won when a
man or a woman or a child has
been captured for Christ. There are al-
ways possibilities of values in the case
of which it is impossible for us to dream.
I suppose when Naaman captured the
little girl who afterward led to the cure
of his leprosy, it was considered a very
insignificant achievement, and yet the
capture of a major-general would have
been a small thing compared to that
victory. For it not only led to the heal-
ing of Naaman^s body, but it led to his
conversion to a happy and comforting
faith in God. The story is told that at
a certain revival meeting, which lasted
some weeks, only one little tow-headed
boy was converted, and that there was



112 Soui-Winning Stories.

a feeling of great disappointment among
the people of that church. But that
tow-headed lad turned out to be Bishop
Matthew Simpson, who led multitudes
to Christ.

I have had many experiences illus-
trating this same thought, but I think
one of the most delightful of them was
the conversion of a little English girl
who came to South Boston, Mass., during
my pastorate there. She had just come
from the Old Country, and had taken
service as a cook in a home not far away
from my church when I first met her.
She was a little slip of a thing, and looked
altogether too young and inexperienced
to be away from home. I well remem-
ber the feeling of pity and the awakened
sympathy I had for her the first time
I met her at the church door and in
reply to my questionings she told me
that she was only a month from the Old
Country and that all her family were on
the other side of the ocean. She was



A Servant Girl's Quartet. 113

not a Christian, but I saw that she was
in that first period of loneliness and
homesickness where a little sympathy
and kindness would win her to the Lord,
and so I did everything that I could to
make her feel at home, and as she started
to go up the stairs I followed her to say :
"There never could be a better time to
give your heart to the Lord than to-night.
He was lonely and homesick himself
sometimes, when he was here on earth,
and he knows how to be good and kind
to homesick folks. Give your heart to
the Lord now, and you won't be alone
any more, for there will be a whole
church full of people who will be your
brothers and sisters in Christ. ''

The poor little girl was so utterly alone
that a kind word went straight to her
heart, and with tears in her eyes she went
on up the stairs, saying, "I will try."

Sure enough, in the after-meeting that
very night that httle English servant
girl was converted. She was a quiet



114 Soul-Winning Stories.

body, and did not make much show
about her emotions, but a very sweet
glow was on her face, and all the lonely
homesick shadows had gone out of it
as she went away from the church.

She went back to the place where she
was at work, and the next morning her
mistress was surprised when she came
into the kitchen and found Annie singing
over her work. The girFs loneliness
had touched the kind-hearted woman,
and she had been very sorry for her,
but when she came in Monday morning
all this was gone, and the girl seemed
so happy that she wonderingly inquired :
^'What makes you so happy, Annie?
All your blues seem to have blown away/'

^'Oh, Mrs. G , something wonder-
ful happened last night. I went down
to the church, feeling so lonesome and
sad that I almost wished I were dead.
And the minister was standing at the
door, shaking hands with the people, and
he shook hands with me, and asked who



A Servant Girl's Quartet. 115

I was, and where I came from, and before
I knew it he had the whole story out of
me and knew all about me. I did not say
a word about being homesick, but he
knew it, somehow, and told me that the
best way to get rid of it was to give my
heart to Christ, who used to be so lone-
some and homesick, and who knew how
to comfort us. I never dreamed of
starting to be a Christian when I went in
at the church door, but by the time I
got to my seat I had almost made up
my mind that I would. And during
the sermon I said to myself, ' If he gives
me a chance to-night, 1^11 start.' And
so I went to the altar in the after-meet-
ing, and as I prayed to God all my lone-
liness and homesickness left me and I
felt that my sins were forgiven and that
God would take care of me and not let
anything bad happen to me over here
alone. And I came home happy last
night, and I went to sleep happy for the
first time since I left home. And this



116 Soul-Winning Stories.

morning I feel like siiiging all tht
time."

Now Mrs. G was not only not a

Christian, but she was a woman whose
associations had led her very far from
Christ and the church. She had felt
very bitter and unbelieving about the
church and about Christians, and so
she watched this new convert very
narrov/ly.

But Annie^s religion would bear watch-
ing. It was just as natural and simple
as a child^s trust in its parents. And
as her mistress noticed her good cheer
and happiness, a great hungering took
possession of her own heart. She had
recently had many things to trouble her
and her heart was very heavy and sad,
and through the night of her gloom
shone constantly the cheerful ray of the
happiness of Annie's new-found religion.
The girl never preached to her; she just
lived, cheerful, happy, and loving, but
somehow everybody in the house felt



A Servant GirPs Quartet. Wi

that this sweet happiness came from
Annie's reUgion.

Mrs. G stood it for two weeks,

and then to Annie's astonishment and
deUght she said to her on Sunday morn-
ing, ^' Annie, if you don't mind, I would
Uke to go with you to your church
to-night." She had never even been
inside the church door, though she had
lived in the community for years. Of
course Annie was greatly pleased, and

that evening she introduced Mrs. G

to me at the door of the church.

She had no opportunity to say any-
thing to me about her, and I knew noth-
ing more of it until the after-meeting.
There were several seekers at the altar
that night, and w^e had already had a
season of prayer, when, on rising to sing,
I noticed that Annie was talking to the
woman whom she had introduced to
me, and that this woman was crying as
if deeply affected. I at once reopened
the invitation for any others who would



118 Soul-Winning Stories.

like to seek Christ to come to the altar,
and a moment later the lady arose and
came with Annie to the mercy seat. She
was converted that night, and told me
that very evening the story I have
related. The cheerfulness and happiness
of the little cook^s religion had appealed
to her until she had felt that she could
not live longer without it.

In less than a month after Mrs. G 's

conversion she, with Annie, came to the
altar one evening with the daughter
of the family, who was happily cod*
verted.

A little later Annie told me one Sunday
afternoon that her brother, with his wife
and two children, had arrived from
England during the past week, and that
she was going to try to bring her brother
with her to church that night. He had
been a drinking man, and his family
had encouraged his coming to America,
hoping that if he got away from his old
associates he might break off his evil



A Servant GirPs Quartet. 119

habits and live a new life. But Annie felt,
as I did, that the only real hope of his
reformation lay in his becoming a sin-
cere Christian, and so I agreed to unite
my prayers with hers and to make a
special effort that evening to reach him
with the Gospel.

Sure enough, he was on hand that
night, a ruddy-faced Englishman, with
the traces of dissipation written on his
countenance. I had been forewarned,
and I make it the rule of my life never
to disobey such warnings. If I know of
a special sin of a man in the congrega-
tion about whom somebody is greatly
interested at that moment, I never fail
to find some way to thrust my harpoon
there, and so I went directly for the
heart of Annie^s brother that night.
God blessed the message. He came into
the after-meeting broken-hearted. She
came with him to the altar, and he knelt
there, crying like a child, sobbing and
calling aloud for mercy. He confessed



120 Soul-Winning Stories.

his sins and went away with a new peace
in his heart.

I was not at all surprised the next
Sunday evening to see the whole family
at church. They came early — Annie,
with her brother and his wife, and the
two little children, one a baby and the
other scarcely more. That night it was
her brother^s wife she had on her heart.
She marshaled them well front in the
church, and I knew she was praying
every minute. It was not a remarkable
thing that the wife was at the altar that
night. It is the rarest thing in the
world where a wife does not readily
follow her husband when he sincerely
repents and gives himself to God. And so
I should have been disappointed indeed
if she had not yielded to the invitation.
The young man came with his wife to
the altar while Annie stayed with the
babies.

The sister-in-law did not readily come
into the light. There was some hesita-



A Servant Girl's Quartet. 121

tion, perhaps some lack of clearness in
her mind about the simplicity of the
Gospel. Annie stood this delay as long
as she could, and then I saw her reach
over to a motherly old woman sitting
in front, and arrange with her to take
care of the babies, while she slipped away
to the altar where, throwing her arms
around her si^ter^s neck, she talked with
her, meanwhile the tears running down
her own cheeks. But she successfully
pointed her to 'Hhe Lamb of God that
taketh away the sins of the world,''
for not five minutes after she came, " the
light that never was on sea or land''
shone in the face of the seeking woman.
And that was the way the little servant
girl won her quartet.



CHAPTER IX
x\N INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT



CHAPTER IX.



ONE Sunday afternoon a fine-
looking girl, evidently of Irish
extraction, came to see me at the
parsonage in one of our large cities. She
had a very sad stor3^ Her mother had
died some years before, leaving three
gu-ls and the husband. One of the girls
was only a little baby at the time, and
the two older daughters had kept house
for the father and had managed to keep
the family together. But the father had
taken to drink, and it had grown steadily
worse, imtil now he was drunk a good
part of the time. At the time the young
woman came to see me her father was
just getting up from an attack of pneu-
monia, and had gone on a spree which
had come near being the last of him:
He was now laid up in bed, and the



l26 Soul-Winning Stories.

doctor said he would certainly die very
soon unless he gave up drink. The girl
begged me to come and see if I could
do anything for them.

It seemed like a hopeless case, but I
comforted her all I could, and promised
to come before my evening service. Just
before she left — indeed, after she had
risen to go — I inquired if she was a
Christian, and found that she was not.
T asked her to sit down again, and for
half an hour, in the plainest, simplest
vvay I could, I preached the Gospel to
her. After the surprise of the attack,
her sore and wounded heart yielded
readily to the offered comfort and help,
and we kneeled together in the parsonage
parlor, and as I prayed she consciously
accepted Christ as her personal Saviour.

When I arrived at the Irishman's
home, for I found that though the chil-
dren had been bom in this country the
father had come over as a young man
from the North of Ireland, he was still



An International Incident. 127

very much under the influence of drink.'
I had a hard time getting him aroused
enough so that he would appreciate
what I had to say. When I did, I talked
to him very straight, not only about the
sin of his drinking, but the meanness of
it with reference to his daughters, who
were trying to make him a comfortable
home. I never talked straighter to a
man in my life. I was perfectly willing
to make him mad, if only I could stir
him up and get him out of his lethargy.
I have often found it is far better to
make angry a man who is going on in
wicked ways, which his own conscience
disapproves, than it is to leave him
unmoved. It is not a far cry from anger
to other strong feelings, and if you can
get a man good and hot at your rebuke
you can often turn his anger toward
himself for deserving such talk.

I finally got him stirred up sufficiently
so that he began to tell me, as if that
would hide his own shame, that he came



128 Soul-Winning Stories.

of a good old Irish family who were Chris-
tians, and that his brother was an honored
preacher in Ireland. As soon as he told
me this I went for him more strongly
than ever, and tried to make him feel
the shame of bringing such disgrace
on an honored name. Before I left I
prayed with him and his daughters and
promised to come again.

I went again the next day. He was
clear of the whisky now, but was very
hard and seemingly without any hope
of the possibility of becoming a Christian
or much changing his course of life. I
talked and talked, and though he let
me pray with him, I could get no hope-
ful word with him about himself. On
that day the second daughter was present
and she went with me into the hall to
let me out. At the front door I paused
and inquired if she was a Christian.
She said she was sorry to say she was
not. I told her that I was very glad
ehe was sorry ^, for that showed that the



An International Incident. 129

Lord had been speaking to her, and that
she was very near to the kingdom. I
found that her sister had been talking,
with her, and that she was already under
conviction of sin, and very much wanted
to be a Christian. As we stood there
by the door, with my hand on the door-
knob, I told her how simple the terms
were, and we bowed our heads and I
prayed for her. \Vhen the pra3^er was
through the face that she lifted to me
was full of sweet content, and though
her eyes were tearful, there was in
them the glistening promise of a new hope.
I kept going every three or four days
to see my Irishman. The man strangely
interested me. He was a great, tall,
square-shouldered giant of a man, and
with a very strong face. I felt if I
could really capture him for the Lord,
and change him from the deviFs service
to that of Christ, it would be a great
victory. But the work went slowly,
and I think I never have seen a case, in



130 Soul-Winnmg Stories.

which victory was finally won, quite so
discouraging as that proved to be, until
Providence threw into my hands a new
ally.

One morning, a few weeks after I
had first been called in, I received a
letter from Ireland. It was from the
brother of my man, who is a distinguished
and honored minister there. He wrote
to tell me how glad he was that I had
been to call on his only brother, and
to thank me for my interest in him. He
said drink had been the man's curse
all his life. He told me he had been
praying for this brother for many years,
and that his mother was still living, a
very old woman and very frail, but that
she prayed for her boy every day, and
did not feel that she could go home to
heaven until he was saved.

When I got that letter, and especially
when I read about the old mother's
prayers, I took hope. I somehow felt
that the Irishman had to come. I



An International Incid< nt. 131

now, at least, had one new lever, and I
determined to use it for all it was worth.
That afternoon I took my letter and
went down to see him. I told him I
had a letter from his brother. He was
very much interested, and I could see
it moved him. I told him his brother
said he had been praying for him ever
since he left home. Then I took the
letter out of my pocket and read the
lines about his mother, about her in-
firmity and age, and her great anxiety
for his salvation, and how she was just
waiting on earth, praying every day
for her wandering boy.

That letter broke his heart. He had
not yet decided to be a Christian, but
he was full of anguish and remorse.
The tears rolled down his cheeks and
he seemed rather glad that day to have
me pray for him. Yet I could get no
decision out of him.

At the time of this last visit I had
begun holding revival meetings and was



132 Soul-Winning Stories.

preaching every night. I urged him
to come to the meeting that night, but he
Vv^ould not promise. I felt that I could
not give up, for if I could not get him
that day, with the unusual influence
of the message concerning his mother,
which had so melted his heart, I never
would get him. So I kept at it. I must
have plead with him half an hour or
more, simply on the point of coming to
the meeting that night. At last, almost
in despair, he exclaimed, ^'Well, youVe
been so kind, and you're so persistent
about it, I will come.''

I was sure he would keep his word.
He came, and came very early. I was
out at the door, shaking hands with the
people as they came in. His youngest
daughter, a girl now thirteen years of
age, was with him. I stopped him,
and talked a little while in the vestibule,
urging him to make up his mind that
night and give himself to Christ; and
although he would not promise, I could



An International Incident. 132

see that the conversation of the after-
noon had greatly moved him and that
he was in a hopeful condition. I walked
in with him and saw that he and the
little girl had seats immediately at the
front. I did not intend that anything
should interfere with the Gospel having
a fair chance at him that night.

I remained in the vestibule and shook
hands with the people through the song
service, not going in until it was time
for my sermon. When I went in they
were singing, and I could see that the
service was having the effect I expected
on my Irishman. He had been brought
up a Christian. The old hymns brought
sacred memories to him that touched
him to the heart's core. He had not
been to church now for several years,
and it all came back upon him with un-
wonted power that night. And when
the soloist sang a tender and touching
appeal to come to Christ, I saw a tear
rolling down over each cheek. I must



134 SouMYIiming Stories.

have preached the Gospel for all, that
night, for a number accepted Christ and
were converted in the after-service; but
my conscious appeal was to the Irish-
man. I felt as a lavvyer does when he
knows that one juryman is against him
and must be convinced, and so through-
out the sermon I sought to win the
verdict. A man who has not heard a
sermon for several years, but who was
brought up to give reverence to the
Gospel, finds it hard to withstand a
straightforward, simple presentation of
the divine appeal. The Irishman's heart
broke under it. The agony of his face
was something terrible. Finally he hung
his head and sobbed, and at last, when
the invitation was given for sinners to
come to the altar and throw themselves
on the mercy of God, he was the first
man there. The little girl came with
him. How he did prajM With tears
and cryings and groanings he repented
and laid hold upon the Christ who is



An International Incident. 135

able to save unto the uttermost. The
little girl opened her heart to the Lord
as naturally as a morning-glory opens
its bell to meet the dawn, and the two
of them came into the church together.

And that is the way God pays. I
started in on a forlorn hope to save one
poor drunken man, and I came out,
through the mercy and blessing of God
and the prayers of that brother and dear
old mother, with a man saved and re-
deemed and three daughters all conse-
crated to the Christian life.

I have never had a happier task than
that of answering the letter of the brother
in Ireland, telling him the whole story
and sending my love and congratulations
to the dear old mother, who through all


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