INCIDENTS OF GOSPEL WORK
Soon after this, I paid my first visit to
In the midst of such service, my Father and God saw it well
and needful to afflict me. I can truly
say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.” I had repeated hemorrhage from the lungs
very seriously several times. until I
was brought nigh to the grave in consumption.
I spent a winter at Torquay in 1850, and few expected to se me return
alive. Dr. T. told me one lung was
nearly gone, and that I could scarcely live in the north, but might, as an
invalid, in the south. There was much
When unable to preach to large companies in towns, the Lord
has given me great joy and blessing in village work. I will here give a sample.
A poor widow invited me over to her house at W.-on-D. I went, and she asked a few professors to
meet me. They were quite sure there was
no need of any preaching at W-, but there was a very neglected, and, as they
said, wicked colliery and pottery village a mile away. Immediately I felt assured this was the
place where I should preach. I went and
preached in a house there that night or afternoon. In twelve months, to a day, I felt led to go again. I may say, when going to preach at a fresh
place, I have often felt the exceeding importance of being guided to just the
right place in the village. In this
case, I was guided to take a stand exactly opposite the little homestead of W.
M. His wife’s name was
We had a preaching of the gospel one night in the Pottery,
just after the close of the day’s work, in one of the large workshops, called
the Throw room. A number of colliers
had also come in, just as they left the pit.
It was a strange-looking company, some as white as millers, some as
black as sweeps. It was a very quiet
preaching, the word only was preached with expecting faith; and there was a
deep solemnity on the whole company. At
the close, I was repeating the following
scriptures, slowly, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My
word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” Precious words of Jesus.( John v.24.) Also, “Be it known unto you therefore, men
and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of
sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye
could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
(Acts xiii. 38.) I did not make
a single remark, but there was the deep sense felt that God the Holy Ghost was
speaking these words to lost, guilty sinners.
You have seen the wind pass over a field of corn, bowing every blade and
stalk. It was just like that. The divine presence passed over the meeting,
from end to end, and bowed every heart and every head. A deep sigh was heard from end to end, many
fell, some against the wall, some on forms.
There was a profound silence, only broken by sobs. Then the Christians present began to speak
to the unconverted. I will give one
instance. D. M. Said to one who leaned
against the wall, one who had been a very careless youth, “David, are you anxious
to be saved?” “No,” he said, “I am
saved, I have everlasting life.” David
had passed from death unto life, and the new creation was manifested in him to
the last; he is with the Lord. There
were few words said to any, but the Lord opened their hearts to receive His
word. They heard His words, they
believed God that sent Him, and the Spirit imparted faith to believe it,
because He said it. And is not that a
blessed moment when the ear is opened to hear God’s message of forgiveness of
sins, and then to know one is justified from all things, for God says so? But what was so remarkable, Lydia, a
Christian of very clear judgment, told me years after this meeting, that she
had carefully watched the result, and she had no doubt, that every unsaved
person at that meeting was converted, and had either departed to be with the
Lord, or were living proofs of the grace of God. Dear
There are few joys more deep and real than to see your
children in the Lord depart in peace.
What a picture of calm, perfect peace was the face of aged
My heart lingers on these village labours, but I must hasten away to other scenes.
I would now relate how the Lord laid it on my heart to write
the Railway Tracts, and from them all that followed. I had been preaching the word at Tetbury, where I frequently went
in those days. Our Brother W. said to
me, “Why don’t you print some of those incidents of the Lord’s work in the
railway carriages? I am sure the Lord would use them.” I said, I had never thought of it. He urged me to do so. I felt the Lord had spoken to me thus to do
it for Him, expecting Him to bless them to souls. How little did I think, at that moment, how the Lord would use
them in so many languages all over the world.
Nos. 1,2,3, 4 Railway Tracts were the first that were written, and how
many souls have been saved through the Spirit of God using those four little
papers. I had already written “What is
the Sabbath?” I will name a few
thoughts I had in writing every tract.
To look to God to give me to write just what He pleased, and to enable
me to write it plainly, without many adornment. To never allow me to write with a party feeling, but to write for
It has thus been my constant habit to write a paper, as I
believe the Lord has led me to do so; such tracts as “Mephibosheth,” “Joseph,”
“Ruth,” “Jonathan,” “Job,” “Nehemiah,” etc., etc., etc., These have been written after preaching
them in different parts of the country, during a period of over forty
years. I believe the Lord rarely ever
led me to preach from Mephibosheth, as a type of Christ, without souls being
converted. He has also been pleased to
use that tract very often, when repeated or read to the sick and dying, and
also through others preaching it. Mr.
M. told me he had preached it in almost every city and town in
Over thirty years ago, I was told of a tract, I think it was
“Smashed to Pieces,” that was given to a poor woman in Rutlandshire. She was taken ill. The Lord spoke peace to her soul through this little paper. She died with it enclosed in her hand. Her dying request to her husband was, that
he should read it to her children.
After her departure, that tract was blessed to the conversion of eight persons. Many similar cases have occurred, and many
An overlooker on a very large sheep run, far out in the Australian bush, found a poor, lonely shepherd, on a distant station, in a dying state, and greatly alarmed at the prospect of death and judgment. There was no person near him to point the way to Christ. The young man rode a great distance to his residence, and took a tract, and read it to the dying man. God spoke peace to his soul. He departed from the lonely bush to be with the Lord, which is far better.
And how many of that deeply interesting class, the sailors,
have been blest through a tract. I was walking one day in
I am sure it is God who thus is pleased to use these little
papers, because, in themselves, they are so unlikely to meet the cases. Take the following: A poor Hindu coolie, in
Demerara, was in great distress about his soul. He could no more bathe in the