Power of Example
“Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in purity.” — l Tim. 4:12. In our travels here and there we have noticed how easily and naturally leaders influence their followers. Paul must have been very exemplary in life in order to say, “The things ye see and hear in me do.” If the ministers and missionaries are light or serious, plain or worldly, contentious or sweet-spirited, their underlings invariably take their imprint and follow them. For instance: When a prominent lady evangelist dresses and does her hair up in the latest style, her converts follow her example. When in India we noticed that some of the missionaries wore their rings, beads and bracelets. As a result the native Christians did the same, and some went further and wore jewelry in the nose and on the toes.
On the other hand, in Egypt, under Rev. J. C. Black, of the Holiness Movement Church of Canada, we found about the cleanest work in all our travels. As one reads of the bondage of the Children of Israel in Egypt, he naturally thinks, “Can any good thing come out of Egypt?” But at Assuit, near the tombs of the kings, we held one of the best Holiness Conventions we ever attended. This was one place where our crowds were too large. At least 5,000 people crowded in and around the big tent; they were so eager that we could not make room to kneel, but stood and prayed.
There were a score or more of Spirit filled native preachers and many laymen from far and near. The men and women were very clean and plain, with out a bit of jewelry (even the wedding ring). The best of all, they had the Holy Ghost. Now, if this high standard can succeed in dirty, cruel, superstitious Egypt, a clean work can be dug out anywhere, but only as the leaders themselves are exemplary.
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A Sad But Glorious End.
During this convention a very unusual thing occurred. A number of the preachers slept on the floor in the large mission hall. Early one morning one of the best and strongest men was in prayer on his bunk. Then, as was his custom, he sat up and quietly hummed an anthem. This time he was singing the twenty-third Psalm. But when he reached the fourth verse and sang, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear –,” his head bowed low and there was silence. Finally one of the brethren ventured to shake him gently, but — he was gone, and henceforth need “fear no more evil” forever. I desire to go like this, or from the pulpit after having delivered a Heart-Searching Sermon.