Charles Stanley



Chapter 6



It is important to look to the Lord every day, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we never know when or where He may use us in sovereign grace.  I was crossing the country one day, from Bristol, where I had been preaching to Tetbury.  I had never been in that part of the country before.  On arriving at Wootton-under-Edge, I had some time to spare before going on.  It was about five o’clock on a hot day in the midst of harvest.  There was scarcely a person to be seen in the little town.  I was very distinctly impressed from the Lord, that I must preach the gospel there that afternoon, yet there appeared to be no people to preach to. Nearly all seemed to be out in the harvest field.  Yet the conviction deepened, that I must preach.  I took a few tracts, and gave them where I could find any one.  I was standing in a little shop, speaking to a woman about her soul, when a man came running up the road,  the perspiration streaming off his face.  He turned into the shop, and said, “Please sir, are you a preacher of the gospel?”  “Yes,” I said, “I am, through the Lord’s mercy but why do you ask?”  He replied, “I am the bell-man, and if you will preach to-day I will cry it.”  “Well,” I said, “it was very much laid on my heart to preach the gospel here to-day, but I do not see any to preach to.  Tell me, how is it you came in such haste, and asked me the question?”  He replied, “I was working in the field, and a woman came past and told me some one was distributing tracts in Wootton, and it was just as if a voice had said to me, You must run, and there must be a preaching in Wootton to-day.  That is why I left my work, and came immediately.”  As he was the bellman, I involuntarily put my hand in my pocket to give him the shilling.  “Oh dear no, sir,” he said, “I don’t want the money, I want souls to be saved;”  and the earnestness and solemnity of the man confirmed his words.  In half – an – hour he had washed himself, cried the preaching, and we were on the way to the Chipping, to preach.  To human reason it seemed impossible to get any to preach to.


Just as we came outside the town, we were passing a gentleman’s house on the right.  The Spirit of God stopped me, and distinctly directed me to stand on that door-step, and on that end of it nearest the town. By this time, perhaps, half a dozen people had collected, and came and stood before me.  I gave out the hymn,


“Just as I am, without one plea,

 But that Thy blood was shed for me,

 And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

 Oh Lamb of God, I come.”


There were very few to hear; but I was much led out in shewing the exceeding riches of the grace of God, in receiving the sinner just as he was; and that in perfect righteousness, through the accomplished work of Christ.  That it was not so much the joy of the prodigal, as the great joy of the father, in receiving him.  I found afterwards that the master and mistress of the house hearing some one singing on their doorstep, had come into the passage behind me, and had heard every word.


When I closed, the gentleman, who was a doctor, begged me to go in, and see his aged mother, upstairs.  He said, as tears of joy rolled down his face, “I never heard this before: I thought I had a great work to do before I could be saved, and now I hear it has all been done, and God has joy in receiving me, just as I am.”  I found the aged, bedridden, mother had heard every word, her window being exactly over that end of the door step.  The circumstances of this day had almost passed from my mind, when years after, I was preaching at Cheltenham, and a lady there told me that the Lord blessed the word that day, in the conversion of the doctor, his wife, and also the aged mother, through the chamber window.  The doctor and his mother had both departed to be with the Lord.


Is it not true that “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy”?  Up to that day the doctor had been enveloped in the dark cloud of ritualism. What a contrast when the gospel is heard for the first time.  How blessed, when the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.


There was often much blessing at that time when preaching at the seaside places.  At Llandudno there was remarkable attention for twenty-one days.  I had no need to give it out, if I went up Orme’s Head the people followed, and we had preaching on the hills.  There was a great commotion one night owing to the ritualist clergyman hiring a band of music to down the sound of the gospel. There was great resentment felt by the people.  Several magistrates and clergymen stood by me every night.  They advised me to retire into the house, whilst they quieted the people, who were with difficulty restrained from throwing the instruments into the sea.  After a time all was quiet again, and I continued the preaching.  It was a remarkable time, I could not step out of doors but I met with anxious souls.  And many passed from death unto life. (John v.24)


There was also considerable awakening as to the coming of the Lord.  It was there the diagram on the Lord’s coming was drawn, with the assistance of Colonel B---.  The day will declare the harvest of those three week’ sowing.  “He knoweth them that are His.”


The way the diagram originated was this:  I was speaking on the coming of the Lord.  And finding some difficulty in explaining the difference between the present gospel period and the millennium, or the period of the reign of Christ, I took up a piece of chalk, or lime, and made two circles on a garden door, and said, “Now we will suppose one of these to represent the present period, and the other the millennium.”  I then read out such scriptures as describe the present period, during which Jerusalem is trodden down under-foot, as Luke xxi.24.  Then, during the millennium, or kingdom of God on earth, this same Jerusalem shall be the centre of blessing to the whole world.  Many other scriptures were also read, to shew the great contrast between these two periods.  Then different questions being asked, a line was marked to indicate the history of the Jews, and the ministry of Christ previous to the commencement of this present circle of time.  Then another line, to shew the ascension of Christ to heaven, the heavens retaining Him during this period of grace on the part of God, and impious rejection of that grace on the part of man.  Then another line was marked, to shew the coming of the Lord Jesus to fetch His saints.  (1 Thess.iv.)  Then a short line between this period, after the saints are taken to meet the Lord.  The time of judgments, described in the book of Revelation.  Then another straight line downwards, to shew the coming of Christ WITH all His saints, to execute judgment and to commence the millennial reign.  Then at the end of that blessed dispensation, a short line was marked, to shew the short period when Stan will be let loose ending with the judgment of the dead, and the beginning of an endless circle, to shew the eternal state.  All these were crude marks, on the garden door, but wonderfully helped the audience to understand dispensational truth; As noticed above, Colonel B. kindly drew it correctly, on pasteboard.  Such then was the simple origin of the diagram tract on the coming of Christ.  It will be known to many who read this, how God has been pleased to use this little paper.  Thus He gives, and thus He uses what He gives.


I omit a great number of incidents of those days, some of which are related in the Railway Tracts; and here I would observe that those few incidents in the Railway Tracts are strictly true.  They were written at the time, and word for word, as exactly as could be remembered.


We will now pass on to what was called the revival time, 1859.  I had heard of the wonderful effects of a quarter of a pound of gospel tracts, in the highlands of Scotland.  I believe that wave of blessing rolled on to Scotland. The tracts were single leaves, “Bread Cast,” and only one left in each village.  I had also been deeply moved by the faith of one aged man, in America.  He was over seventy years of age, and a few of the tracts had somehow reached him.  He found the Lord graciously using these tracts to many souls.  The dear old man ordered a Ton of them to be sent to him.  He said he would send them throughout the States.  He had no money to pay for them, but he was sure faith could trust the Lord across the Atlantic, and HE would pay in the coming day.  It is only known to God how the faith of this dear aged H. was honoured.  We did not send a ton, but we sent many cwts., and the dear aged servant of the Lord sent them throughout the States of America.


Well, the wave of divine power reached Scotland.  Dear W.T., now long with the Lord-one who ever did, and does to this day leave the precious savour of Christ behind him- had been to Glasgow, and had seen hundreds of souls seeking mercy, and being brought to Christ.  He came over and told me of the wonderful works of the Lord.  A most remarkable sense of the Lord’s presence came over me, I felt moved by divine power to go at once to Birmingham.  A Strength of faith and expectation that souls would be saved, such as I had never had before, filled my soul.


The large room in Broad Street was crammed night after night.  At the after meetings nearly all stayed.  There was no excitement in the preaching.  There was not even much invitation, or pressing of sinners.  It was more the rightousness of God in justifying the sinner, and the completeness of that justification in the risen Christ.  Indeed, I have always found the more God is revealed in Christ, in preaching, the more lasting the results.  There must also be undoubting confidence in the word of God: that all who are brought by the Holy Ghost to believe God, ARE justified from all things. 


Whilst these meetings were being held in Birmingham, a brother in Christ came over from Stafford. He was filled with faith that God was about to bless souls there.  He returned, and asked some brethren to come together to cry to God in prayer, at six o’clock the next morning.  Quite a number came together, to ask the Lord to bless the word there that same night.  But when this brother borrowed chairs and forms, so as to seat every available space in the large meetingroom, some did not know what to make of it.  At a quarter to seven the large room was simply packed.  Several were fainting, but could not be got out.  A gentleman present stood up, and said, “the danger from the crush was so great, that he would, as deacon of a large chapel near, open it on his own responsibility.”  In a very short time it was filled.  I remember seeing a man come in in a state of drunkenness.  The solemnity of the presence of God seemed to sober him in a moment.  He professed to be converted, but I never heard whether it proved to be real.  I have never had a doubt that God was working in a remarkable way at these meetings.  Many professed to be saved.  Some fell away as stony-ground hearers; but the day will declare what was of the Spirit of God. 


A few days after, three of us felt led to go to Leamington.  We had a little notice printed, about the size of a small envelope, asking the Christians of Leamington to come together in the music hall at three o’clock, for prayer, for the Lord’s blessing on the word to be preached in the hall that night.  About two hundred came together.  And oh, what a cry of united expecting prayer went up to the throne of grace.  It must have been truly blessed when the assembly were gathered in the unity of the Spirit, as in Acts iv.  At seven, the large hall was filled.  That night God answered prayer.  It was the birth-night of many precious souls, and the deliverance of many more.  It was said some hundreds found deliverance and blessing that night.  At nine o’clock there was no inclination to leave, and the meeting continued until eleven.  The people could not go away.  Great numbers were in deep concern about their eternal salvation, and all classes were alike moved by the Spirit of God.  It was not so much during the preaching, as in simply quoting scripture, after the preaching had closed.


The case of one lady was striking, and at the same time illustrated many others.  She had been brought up with soul-destroying Unitarian ideas.  She was arrested in hearing of the righteousness of God revealed in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. But it was whilst I was quoting those blessed words of Jesus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (Judgment,) but is passed from death unto life.”  She exclaimed, so as to be heard by all around, “HATH oh does Jesus say HATH, hath everlasting life?”  I read the words of Jesus again: and assured her they were His very words.  Therefore he who believes Jesus cannot have a shadow of a doubt that he HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life;.  I do not know what exercise of soul she had had previously, but no sooner had she realized that Jesus was the Son of God, God speaking to her, than she felt a deep sense of her sins.  She said, “What about my sins?”  I told her the blood of Jesus, the infinite and holy One, cleanseth from all sin.  The exact words I do not remember, but that was the substance.  It was a hard struggle, but is anything too hard for the Lord?  She passed from death unto life.  The pressing upon her John v.24 and Acts xiii.38,39, gave her the certainty of two things.  She knew that she was justified from all things, and that she had eternal life.  She believed God.  This is a sample of what took place that night with great numbers from 9 to 11 o’clock.


I know some may question the grace of God in such immediate conversions.  About eighteen years after that remarkable night, I met a lady in M---, who told me she came to that preaching at the request of her mother, with a number of other young ladies, in fact, a ladies’ school.  She came in a most unprepared state of soul, having just returned from a kind of convent school in France.  She and all (if I remember rightly) of the young ladies, who sat with her on that seat were converted that night, and she knew that all had manifested, in after life, that the work was of God.  Thus hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy.