Folly of Infidelity
HE PROVED IT
Recently the evangelist, E. L. Hyde, was conducting a revival meeting at B___, in New Jersey, and in the course of his remarks said “he could prove to the satisfaction of any infidel within ten minutes, that he was a fool.” little thinking that he would have occasion or opportunity of doing so. The next morning while walking, a gentleman accosted him very abruptly by saying, “Aren’t you the evangelist preaching up here at the church?”
“Well, I supposed you were a gentleman.”
“I claim to be one.”
“Well, I don’t think you are one. Didn’t you say last night that you could prove to the satisfaction of anyone within ten minutes that all infidels are fools? If you don’t prove it to my satisfaction I will publish you in all the city papers as the most consummate liar that ever struck the city.”
Seeing there was no possibility of reasoning with the man, Mr. Hyde said:
“Where is your infidel?”
“I claim to be one,” was the reply, “and I want you to know I am no fool, either.”
“You don’t mean to say there is no reality in Christianity?”
“I do, sir. I have studied all phases of the subject and have traveled and delivered lectures against Christianity for more than twelve years, and I am prepared to say there is nothing in it.”
“You are certain there is nothing in it?”
“Yes, sir, there is nothing in it.”
“Will you please tell me,” said Mr. Hyde, “if a man who will lecture twelve years against nothing is not a fool, what, in your judgment, would constitute a fool?”
He turned away in a rage. Mr. Hyde, drawing out his watch, insisted he still had six minutes; but the infidel would not hear him, nor was Mr. Hyde published in the city papers.
NO COUNTERFEIT INFIDELS
“Did you ever see a counterfeit ten-dollar bill?”
“Why was it counterfeited?”
“Because the genuine bill was worth counterfeiting.”
“Did you ever see a scrap of brown paper counterfeited?”
“Because it was not worth counterfeiting.”
“Did you ever see a counterfeit Christian?”
“Why was he counterfeited?”
“Because he was worth counterfeiting.”
“Was he to blame for the counterfeit?”
“Of course not.”
“Did you ever see a counterfeit infidel?” “Why, no.”
We pass the above catechism along.
WHY GOD DID IT
A man one time got down on his knees with his wife that he had just married and they said, “O God, we will give Thee a portion of all our income; we will be only Thy stewards.” This went along for years and they kept their vows. But finally they began to get rich, and in time he became the richest man in the richest county in the state. He had the finest home, the nicest farm, the best cattle; he devoted himself to the raising of sheep, and of these there were none so fine in all the state. Then he began to withhold from God; he kept back that which he vowed to give; he would not give of his money to missions; he forgot, or refused entirely to do as he had promised in his early days. He had a beautiful little daughter and death came and took that daughter away. Instead of softening that man’s heart, it made him worse. He got harder hearted; he would not go to church, he would not hear a preacher preach, he would not go within the sound of the Gospel, and when people would go to him to talk to him about giving himself to God, he would curse God and say, “I do not want anything to do with Him. He took away my daughter. I hate Him. I hate Him. I won’t serve such a God. I would not have anything to do with such a God.”
After awhile there came a revival meeting, and the wife was converted, converted through and through, and sanctified wholly; but she did not dare to invite the evangelist to come to her house. She said to him, “You pray to God, and I will ask my husband if I may invite you.” He prayed, and then the wife asked the husband, and he replied that he might come, but he must not talk about his God or he would put him out of the house. The day came, and the wife told the evangelist that he might come, but he was not to say anything about God. He said to the lady, “Pray that God will give me wisdom to do and say just the right thing.” He visited the home, and the lady received him very kindly. By and by the wife said to her husband who was in another room, “The pastor and evangelist are in the parlor.” “I don’t want to see them.” After awhile it came time for dinner, and they were invited to sit down to the table. The farmer spoke up and said, “I suppose you want to say a little prayer before we eat; you may go ahead and do that, but that is all you are going to pray in this house.” The evangelist thanked God for the food, for the privilege of being there, and for the privilege that that opportunity afforded. Then the man began to talk politics, and soon it was seen that the preacher knew more about politics than the farmer. After that they talked about the weather; then about the neighborhood and community, and then the farmer said, “I have got ‘to go out and see my sheep.” Instantly the reply came from the preacher that he was interested in sheep, and if he was willing he would be pleased to go and see his sheep. By this time the farmer had begin to think that he was a wonderful preacher — he knew politics, all about the community, knew the good points of the cattle and sheep and horses. Then he said to the preacher, “I have another flock over here of very fine sheep; they are the finest I have, and there are only thirty-five of them. They are quite a way off, on another farm.” The preacher said he would like to go, and so together they went to where that other flock was in pasture. After viewing them, the farmer said, “This pasture is too far away; I will have to take them up nearer home; but unless I can get them across that stream I will have to take them around the road, which is a mile and a half.” The preacher in his heart said, “Lord, give me words to say.” Then the farmer said, “If I just put this lamb on the other side of the stream, its bleating will attract the attention of the flock, and every other sheep will go over to it.” Then the preacher talked on about the sheep, and by and by he said to the Lord, “What do you want me to say? Tell me now.” Then the preacher turned to the farmer and said, “You have been very kind to me; you have treated me with the greatest courtesy; we have had a most pleasant conversation together all this afternoon; I have enjoyed seeing your fine stock; but I do not want to go away without saying a word about your salvation. God has provided salvation — ” “Stop!” said the farmer, “don’t you say a word to me about your God; He took away my little girl. Tell me why He did it.” And he began to curse. The preacher said, “O God, what shall I do?” Then the preacher went and picked up a little lamb and started right down toward the water, waded through the stream and placed the lamb on the other bank, and then said, “O God, help.” The little lamb began to bleat to the mother sheep over on the other side, and as fast as it could come, it came to the water’s edge. Only an instant it lingered, and into the stream it plunged and was soon with its little one. Then every last one of the sheep followed and were soon over on the other side of the stream. The farmer said, “Say, friend, what made you do that?” “Shall I tell you?” said the preacher. “God took away your little girl. You did not care for God. You promised to serve Him; you promised to be His steward; you promised to give your life to Him, and you forgot all these vows in your care for this world, and God came and took your little lamb and put it there on the other side, and on the other side it is calling for you, calling for you, calling for you.” Say, that farmer threw his arms around that preacher’s neck, and said, “Why, preacher, I never saw it in that way before. I will go to it.”
A TESTED REMEDY
It is related that Bishop Kavanaugh was one day walking when he met a prominent physician, who offered him a seat in his carriage. The physician was an infidel, and the conversation turned upon religion.
“I am surprised,” said the doctor, “that such an intelligent man as you should believe such a fable as that.”
The bishop said, “Doctor, suppose years ago someone had recommended to you a prescription for pulmonary consumption, and you had procured the prescription and taken it according to order, and had been cured of that terrible disease, what would you say of the man who would not try your prescription?”
“I should say he was a fool.
“Twenty-five years ago,” said Kavanaugh, “I tried the power of God’s grace. It made a different man of me. All these years I have preached salvation, and wherever accepted have never known it to fail.”
What could the doctor say to such a testimony as that? And such testimonies are what men need to turn them from the error of their ways, to the personal experience of the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“How would you prove the divinity of Christ?” said some ministers to a young backwoods preacher whom they were examining.
“What?” said he, puzzled by their question.
“How would you prove the divinity of Christ?”
“Why, He saved my soul,” was the triumphant reply. But to give this answer one must be saved, and know it in his heart, and show it in his life, and he then becomes a living epistle known and read of all men.
HUGO TOOK GOD
The Index publishes the following incident from a late Life of Victor Hugo, contributed by Theodore Stanton. One day, when he was up for election, a delegate from one of the revolutionary societies of Paris called, and in the name of his fellow-members complained rather rudely of Victor Hugo’s theistical ideas. “I would like to know,” said the delegate, “whether you stand by us or the priests.” “I stand by my conscience,” answered the poet. “Is that your final answer?” began again the exasperated visitor. “If so it is very probable that you will not be elected.” ‘That will not be my fault said the candidate, calmly. “Come now,” continued his self-appointed catechizer, “there is no muddle course must choose between us and God.” Well was the response, “I’ll take God!”
KNOCKING INFIDELITY OUT
An English paper says that, after concluding a lecture, Mr. Bradlaugh called upon any one present to reply to his arguments. A collier arose, and spoke somewhat as follows: “Maister Bradlaugh, me and my mate Jim were both Methodist till one day one of these infidel chaps came this way. Jim turned infidel, and used to badger me about attending prayermeetings; but one day in the pit a large cob of coal came down upon Jim’s head. Jim thought he was killed, and, ah! mon, but he did holler and cry to God.” Then turning to Mr. Bradlaugh with a knowing look, he said, “Young man, there’s now’t like cobs of coal for knocking infidelity out of a man.” It need scarcely be said that the collier carried the audience with him.
THEIR SINS SENT THEM THERE
Milton Williams was a personal friend of mine down in Arkansas. There were five young men in Fort Smith. They were there to be hung. The youngest of them was fifteen years of age; the oldest, twenty-two. The judge of the United States Court said to Milton Williams, “I have five young men in Fort Smith to be hung a week from next Wednesday. I want you to go and pray with them.” Milton Williams said, “Judge, I will do it. I want you to give one a letter so that I can get in there and talk to them.”
Milton Williams and his wife went together. They went into the room; they heard the clanking of the chains; five young men came in with handcuffs on their wrists and chains on their feet. Clank, clank, clank as they came into the room where Mr. Williams and his wife were. Mr. Williams said to them, “I have come here to talk to you about your souls. You are within eight or nine days of eternity. It is time you were giving yourselves to God.” They replied, “Oh, we don’t believe it. Our lawyer has applied for a stay of execution, and he says that it is going to be granted by the court, and we are going to be set free. We do not believe what you say.” They sneered in his face and cheered one another. Then he said, “Look here, I would like to pray with you.” They said, “You can pray if you want to.” Mr. Williams got down on his knees and prayed for them, and while he was doing so, Mrs. Williams was talking with them. Then Mrs. Williams prayed awhile, and Milton Williams talked with them; but they sneered and laughed, and said, “It is not so. We are not going to be hung. Our attorney says we are not. We are in no more danger of the gallows than you are, sir, and in two weeks more we will be out of this and we will be free.” Mr. Williams said, “Boys, let me tell you something. I have just come from the judge, and the judge says the stay of execution has been denied. He said you will be taken a week from next Wednesday. and you will be hung by the neck until you are dead.” They sneered at him, scorned him. “Our attorney says we will be free within two weeks, and there is no danger.”
Time went on. The fateful Wednesday came. Milton Williams and a Catholic priest went down there, went into the jail, and directly five young men came out. They were handcuffed. They went straight to the scaffold. The scaffold was one long plank, and that one long plank had a bolt through one end of it, and those men were placed right on that plank. Then the marshal behind them caught them by the elbows, pulled the elbows back and tied them behind the back, and as they stood there, Milton William’s talked to them. He said, “Men, pray! I told you there was no hope for you. In a few minutes you will be in eternity. Pray!” But they still sneered; and, beloved, they put over their faces a black cap and pulled it down over their eyes. But before it was pulled down over their eyes, tears began to run down the face of the one that was twenty-two years of age. When they pulled the cap down over their eyes, it shut out the light and the tears were hid. Then Mr. Williams prayed, then the Catholic priest prayed, then they stood a few moments more. The United States jailer stooped down and caught hold of the bolt. The marshal stood there with a handkerchief, and the dropping of that handkerchief was the signal for the pulling of the bolt. He pulled the bolt and they went down like lead, and there they were hanging by the neck.
They did not believe the hanging would take place; they had been told by their attorney that there was to be a stay of execution. But there they were — their bodies swinging to and fro. In the case of the young man twenty-two years of age, the rope slipped from his ear around under his chin, so his neck was not broken, but he was strangling; and they saw why his hands were tied together — to prevent him from getting his hands to his neck. There was a man there that tried to put his hand on that boy, tried to tear the noose away from his neck. Mr. Williams said, “Mr. Marshal, for God’s sake why don’t you take that man away?” And he said, “I can not do it. He is the father of two of the boys, and uncle of the third.” Listen, you say that the law of the land sent them there. THEIR SINS SENT THEM THERE! the law never sends a man to the scaffold — it is his sins that send him there.
THE DYING DAUGHTER
Dr. Elliott, who was well acquainted with the celebrated Colonel Ethan Allan, visited him at a time when his daughter was sick and near to death. He was introduced to the library, when the Colonel read to him some of his writings, with much complacency, and asked, “Is not that well done?” While they were thus employed, a messenger entered and informed Colonel Allen that his daughter was dying, and desired to speak with him. He immediately went to her chamber, accompanied by Dr. Elliott, who was desirous of witnessing the interview. The wife of Colonel Allen was a pious woman, and had instructed her daughter in the principles of Christianity.
As soon as her father appeared at her bedside she said to him, “I am about to die; shall I believe in the principle, you have taught me, or shall I believe in what my mother has taught me?’ He became extremely agitated: his chin quivered, his whole frame shook; and after waiting a few moments, he replied, “Believe what your mother has taught you.”