THE SECRET OF SUCCESS
Complaints are often made, and surprise expressed by individuals who have never found a blessing rest upon anything they have attempted to do in the service of God. “I have been a Sunday School teacher for years,” says one, “and I have never seen any of my boys or girls converted.” No, and the reason most likely is, you have never been really anxious about it. You have never made up your mind that, in dependence on the power of God’s Spirit, converted they should be; and that nothing should be left undone until they were. You have never been led by the Spirit to such a degree of earnestness that you have said, “I cannot live unless God blesses me. I cannot rest until I see some of those dear children saved.” Had it been so, you would not have be disappointed. I give you an illustration:
A pious young lady was requested to take a class of girls in a Sunday School. She was seen to be earnest, faithful and affectionate with her youthful charge. In a little while one scholar after another became thoughtful, serious and anxious, until every member of her class converted. She was then requested to take another class, and had not been long in it before similar effects were produced, and ultimately every member of this class also believed in Jesus. She was finally induced to give up this class, and take another one of children, in which again she had not labored long, when the same results followed as before, every pupil having been brought into the Shepherd’s fold. Her work was now done. She fell asleep in Jesus. After her death her friends, on examining her journal, found the following resolution:
Resolved, “That I will pray once each day for each member of my class by name.”
On looking further into this faithful teacher’s journal, they found the same resolution rewritten and readopted with a slight addition, as follows:
Resolved, “That I will pray once each day for each member of my class by name, and agonize in prayer.
On looking still further into the journal, the same resolution is found rewritten and readopted with another slight addition, as follows:
Resolved, “That I will pray once each day for each member of my class by name and agonize in prayer, and expect a blessing.”
— New York evangelist.
In the war between France and England previous to the Revolution, an English drummer, not more than fifteen years of age, having wandered from camp too near the French line’s, was seized and brought before the French commander. On being asked who he was, he answered, “A drummer in the English service.” This not gaining credit, a drum was sent for and he was asked to beat a couple of marches, which he accordingly did. The Frenchman’s suspicions, however, not yet quite removed, he asked the boy to beat a retreat. “A retreat, sir?” said the boy, “I don’t know what that is.” And, long ago the word retreat was banished from the vocabulary of the Christian. It is a feature of military tactics about which he knows nothing. With him it is always “Onward!” It is victory through the blood of the Lamb.
COULD PRAY NO MORE
A pastor relates this: When I was a young pastor in Brooklyn, just thirty years ago, I had in my congregation for several years a dear old saint of God, the widow of Nicholas Snethen, of blessed memory. O what a saint she was! And every week, twice almost always, on given days, I went to her upper room on Fulton Avenue, and talked with her about the kingdom just coming to her immortal vision, and the young pastor was greatly helped and confirmed in the faith every time he went. One Thursday afternoon one of her daughters in my class-meeting, said to me: “Mother is in trouble, and would like to have you call.” I had not time to ask her what was the matter, so many were coming up to shake hands. But I said I would be there in a few minutes, and in twenty minutes I was by her bedside. And as I walked up the avenue I asked myself what last hold the old enemy could have got on that mature and triumphant saint. I could not make it out.
I came to her room, stepped to her bedside, and concluded at once that it was a curious sort of trouble, for her face shone as though a passing angel had dropped a smile upon it. I took her by the hand and said, “Mother Snethen, your daughter said you were in trouble. What is it?” “Well,” said she, “I would have been glad if the Lord would have permitted me to spend my remaining days on earth praying for the Church and my friends, but I cannot pray any more.” She had the same experience with that sainted man of God — the Rev. Charles J. Clark, D. D., of the Maine Conference — that dear brother of this General Conference, who went to his reward two weeks ago today. When his faithful wife knelt and said: “Shall I pray for you?” he sweetly answered, “Prayer for me is done.” “I cannot pray anymore,” said that old saint in Brooklyn thirty years ago. Then said I, “Let me pray for you.” I had just begun, but there was no more praying to be done there. I had scarcely said the first word when she said, “Hallelujah,” and I said, “Hallelujah,” and her daughter said, “Hallelujah,” and Heaven seemed to answer back “Hallelujah.” And so it lasted four days, and there was no more praying to be done there. I said, “If God pleases, Mother Snethen, to let you begin the employments of Heaven now, never mind; it is all right.”
During those four days she would say, “Now, don’t you hear anything in particular in this room?” “No, do you?” “Yes.” “What do you hear?” “The angels of God singing my welcome home.” And then she would say, “Don’t you see anything there, right there?” “No, do you?” “Yes.” “What do you see?” “I see the angels of God waiting to carry me home.” All imagination, some blear-eyed doubter may say! A Sanhedrin of philosophers cannot prove that it was not the dawn of the eternal vision.
A DAY OF THE LORD
It was not a day of feasting,
Nor a day of the brimming cup;
There were bitter drops in the fountain
Of life as it bubbled up,
And over the toilsome hours
Were sorrow and weakness poured,
Yet I said “Amen,” when night came;
It had been a day of the Lord.
A day of His sweetest whispers,
In the hush of the tempest’s whirl;
A day when the Master’s blessing
Was pure in my hand as a pearl.
A day when, under orders,
I was fettered, yet was free;
A day of strife and triumph,
A day of the Lord to me.
And my head as it touched the pillow,
When the shadows gathered deep,
Was soothed at the thought of taking
The gift of child-like sleep;
For what were burdens carried,
And what was the foeman’s sword,
To one who had fought and conquered
In the fearless day of the Lord
— Margaret E. Sangster
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“Exchanged his poverty for eternal riches, and his rags for a crown which fadeth not away — at Winchester poor-house, Nov. 6, 1864, Jas. C. Smith, aged 67. The pall-bearers were few on this side, — not so many perhaps as they that waited on the ‘shining shore’ and went up with the old man to his ‘Father’s house.'”
THE CONDUCTOR’S STORY
It was the summer of 1873. I was running extras on the railroad. A circus, traveling about the country, came into the town on our line. An order was issued for an extra train on Sunday morning. I received notice early on Tuesday. I read the order carefully.
It gave the time of arrival in our city as 9 A. M. I looked again to see if it was not 9 P. M. I was a teacher in the Sabbath School. I had a bright class of boys about sixteen years of age, just the right age to be interested in circuses, and to be wide awake when one arrived in town. My heart sank. I, a professing Christian, and withal, a Sabbath School teacher, detailed to run a circus train on the Sabbath, and to arrive, too, in my own city, where everybody knew me, just as Christians were ready for church.
What should I do? I had worked hard nearly nine years as a brakeman, and had been promoted to conductor. Could I afford to lose all by refusal to do as ordered? Then I thought of my family dependent upon me, and I said, I cannot throw away all these years of hard toil to satisfy conscience. For I expected to be discharged if I refused to do as ordered. Then I thought of the boys in the Sabbath School. What if some of them happened to be at the depot to see the train, or if they were just on their way to church as we arrived, and should see me, as they doubtless would? I thought of the church and the prayer-meeting. What should I do? I thought of my own influence as lost for good, and there was a desperate struggle between the evil and the good.
I had yet four days in which to decide. How strange it was! Notice did not usually reach us until the day previous. What long, dreary days they seemed! And the boys heard of the order, and were guessing what I would do. They knew what I had said in prayer-meeting about desecrating the Sabbath, for some of them were there. Would he go, or would he quit?” “No, he would not quit, for he would not dare to refuse to go,” they said.
Saturday morning came. I must notify the office what I would do. Sleepless nights and weary days had passed, and I had thought and prayed, but I was decided. Duty seemed clear, very clear, and it was that a Christian man should not run excursion trains on the Sabbath.
My father was a deacon in the orthodox church, and, just before going to my work, I went to him and told him the story, reserving my decision to myself, and asking his advice what to do. I knew well what he would say. What a look went over his face as he spoke! “But,” I said, “father life to this business, and now I must turn to something else.”
“Trust in God, my boy,” he answered, promptly, “and I will help you, too.”
I returned to the office, and walked up to the manager as he sat, and said in a respectful tone: “I have been detailed to run the circus train Sunday morning, and I cannot do it on the Sabbath.” Imagine my astonishment as he looked me in the face and said: ‘You! been detailed to run Sunday trains! I am surprised! You go right home, and don’t you worry about Sunday trains.”
I have never been detailed for Sunday work since. But the men who offered to do work for extra pay upon the Sabbath have long since been discharged.
RELIGIOUS TRIUMPHS IN SUDDEN DEATH
If any one should ask, “Does the religion of Jesus meet every need of man?” I want to answer, yes, and stands every test of human experience. Never was I more impressed with this blessed truth than when I stood by the side of Mr. C. C. Van Dusen, of Sprout Brook, N. Y., who was so terribly injured in the dire disaster on the Grand Trunk in this city on the morning of the 20th. I was at the scene very shortly after the collision. It was dark and raining, the light from the burning wreck, the moans from the wounded and mangled ones here and there in buildings and in cars making a scene we can never forget. I entered a caboose, and, as there were a great many wounded in it, some one accosted me saying, “Are you a surgeon?” to which I replied, “I am a Methodist minister.” Instantly one wounded unto death said, “I want to see you, come here.” At once I was by his side. He said: “My name is C. C. Van Dusen, of Sprout Brook, N. Y. I’m a Christian and I’m nearing home. My wife has gone, and I’ll soon be with her. (His wife thirty minute’s before had gone up in a chariot of fire.) She was a good woman and a teacher of the infant class in the Sabbath school.” As I inquired of him as to his personal salvation he replied: “I am in the hands of my Savior and I’ll ‘n be with Him.” A physician entering the car, I called him at once to this brother’s side. After examination he calmly looked the doctors in the face and said: “How soon will I be with Jesus?” He very deliberately talked of his affairs, the disposition to be made of his property, saying, “I would like to live for my children, but I must go. In my Father’s house are many mansions.” When he was told that the remains of the precious Christian wife and mother were in the hands of the undertaker, he said: send us ‘back together.” Knowing he was among strangers, he said: “Dominie, don’t leave me,” and I promised he should not be left alone. We conveyed him to the Nicholas Memorial Home, a hospital of which Battle Creek may well feel proud, an arranged him as comfortably as possible under the circumstances. Soon the chill and darkness of death approached. Said he, “Dominie, is the sun shining?” “No, my brother, it is cloudy and raining.” “I thought it was growing dark and I don’t breathe as easily as I did.” It was death. A little longer, and husband and wife were united, while back in the home in New York there were two children bereaved of both father and mother at once I never saw such calmness and peaceful triumph in the presence of death in all my ministry of nearly twenty years.
Frank Smith, of Fort Plains, N.Y., was also one of the party, a splendid Christian young man. Being removed to the hospital, a limb was amputated, but he sank rapidly and “was not, for God took him.” A lovely father, mother and sister Nellie left behind, all injured, but each with the blessed hope, “Frank is at rest and we will all meet again in Heaven.” It was my privilege to bow with this father at the casket of his son and commend him to the God of all comfort. The remains of Frank were sent back to Fort Plains with friends, but the parents and sister were compelled by injuries to remain. They are comforted by the Divine presence. Ah, thank God, for a religion that stands any test of human experience. Thank God for a Savior who is always with us. That caboose, on the morning of October 20, was a precious place, for He was there.
— Geo. B. Kulp.
I AM GOING TO HEAVEN TONIGHT
Such were the words with which Arthur Dawe, of Deerfield, greeted the friends who called to see him on the day before he died. His joyful anticipation of Heaven, together with his last words, were remarkable in a boy of his age.
Five weeks ago Arthur was taken with a severe cold, which was followed by measles. This was again followed by capillary bronchitis, which brought to a close his bright little life. The skill of three physicians could not restore him to health, and to his weeping parents. He had been called by the Lord, and for several days before he passed away, he knew it was the Lord’s voice calling him home. Dr. Jones wished him good on Wednesday morning, and about one hour later Dr. Bliss said: “Good bye, Arthur. You have been a patient boy, and made a brave fight.” His little face lighted up as he replied: “Good-bye, doctor. I am going to Jesus.” Then the doors were opened to any one who wished to see him, and from this time on his bedside was lined with the many who came in to say farewell. He heard the schoolbell, and he said, “That bell will never call me again, for I am going to school in Heaven.” He asked his father to read and pray with him once more. He followed his father word for word in the prayer, and at its close added “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Then He said: “Papa, would you like to hear the prayer I prayed to Jesus last night? ‘O Lord Jesus, if you want me very badly, please take me at once; but my mamma wants me very badly, and if you do not need me as badly as she does, please let me stay for her sake.'” While the Scriptures were being read to him his mother leaned over and said: “That last verse is on your grandma’s tombstone.” He replied: “I have chosen my text and I want it on my tombstone; ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest'” And he turned to his father and said: “I am heavy laden, and I want rest.” His father said “Arthur, what will you do when you first reach Heaven?” He replied: “I shall go right up to Jesus first.” The father said: “But won’t you be afraid to talk to Jesus? You know that you would not like to go up and speak to a strange gentleman, unless he first spoke to you.” He replied: “But this is different, papa; Jesus is not a stranger to me — He is my Savior.” When the professor of the high school came in, Arthur wished him farewell, and said: “I am going to Heaven tonight.” One by one he called his school companions to him and kissed them and urged them to be good boys and come to him in Heaven. He called for some of his treasures and distributed them among his most intimate companions. Every now and then he would say: “Don’t cry, mamma.” His mother replied: “But it will be so long before I shall see you again.” He replied: “It will not be long to me, for a thousand years are as one day in God’s sight.” He then wanted to know what message he should take to his grandma and grandpa (his mother’s parents) in Heaven. He asked his father to get him pen, ink and paper that he might write to his grandma and grandpa, and aunt in England. When he was assured that he had not strength to write, he sent his love to them, and told his father to telegraph to them to take the first steamer and come over, saying that if he kept his body a little longer they would be able to come to the funeral. During the night one of the ladies said, as she listened to his heavy breathing: “Poor little fellow.” He roused up and replied, “I am not poor; I am richer than anyone in this room, for I shall be the first to reach Heaven.” He did not die that night as he expected; but next morning, Thursday, March 29, at ten minutes to ten he entered into rest.
TWO WAYS OF RESISTING TEMPTATION
A classical illustration of the two ways of resisting temptation is found among the beautiful myths that cloud the dawn of Grecian history. In the wanderings of Ulysses after the taking of Troy, the wind drove his ship near to the island of the Sirens, somewhere near the west coast of Italy. These enchantresses were fabled to have the power of charming by their songs anyone who heard them, so that he died in an ecstasy of delight. When the ship of Ulysses approached these deadly charmers, who were sitting on the lovely beach endeavoring to lure him and his crew to destruction, he filled the ears of his companions with wax, and with a rope tied himself to the mast, until he was so far off that he could no longer hear their song. By this painful process they escaped.
But when the Argonauts, in pursuit of the golden fleece, passed by the Sirens singing with sweetness, Jason, instead of binding himself to the mast and stuffing the ears of his men with wax, commanded Orpheus, who was on board the ship, to strike his lyre. His song so surpassed in sweetness that of the charmers, that their music seemed harsh discord. The Sirens, seeing them sail by unmoved, threw themselves into the sea and were metamorphosed into rocks. They had been conquered with their own weapons. Melody had surpassed melody.
Here is set forth the secret of Christian triumph. Joy must conquer joy. The joy of the Holy Ghost in the heart must surpass all the pleasures of sense. When all Heaven is warbling in the believer’s ear, the whispers of the tempter grate upon the purified sensibilities as saw-filing rasps the nerves.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength,” to resist sin as well as to endure toil. Fullness of joy is the Christian’s shield. Christ has such a shield for every believer.
— Mile-Stone Papers
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A German soldier, during the Franco-German War, was ridiculed by a French soldier, who said: “What a clumsy set of soldiers you Germans are; just look at your shoes; why, you can’t run in those shoes.” He answered. “Those shoes are not made to run, but to stand. We propose to stand and make you do the running.”