From Aberdeen to London

Two Things Necessay for Salvation

Halt - About Turn

My passport to Glory

Wheat or Chaff

The man who died for me




‘Many years ago I wanted to go as a foreign mission­‘ary, but my way seemed hedged about. After a few years I went to live on the Pacific coast. Life was rough in the mining country where I lived, and this was my chance for missionary work.

I heard of a man over the hills who was dying of con­sumption. “He is so vile,” they said, “no one can stand it to stay with him; so the boys place food by him and leave him for twenty-four hours. They’ll find him dead sometime, and the quicker the better. Never had ‘a soul, I guess.”

The pity of it haunted me as I went about my work, and I tried for three days to get some one to go and see him and find out if he was in need of better care. As I turned from the last man, vexed with his indifference, the thought came to me:

“Why don’t you go yourself? Here’s missionary work, if you want it.”

I’ll not tell how I weighed the probable usefulness of my going, or how I shrank from one so vile as he. It wasn’t the kind of work I wanted.

At last one day I went over the hills to the little mud cabin. It was just one room. The door stood open, and up in one corner on some straw and colored blankets I found the dying man. Sin had left awful marks on his face, and if I had not heard that he could not move, I should have fled.

As my shadow fell over the floor he looked up and greeted me with a dreadful oath.

“Don’t speak so, my friend,” I said.

“I ain’t your friend,” he said. “I never had any friends, and I don’t want any now.”

I reached out, at arm’s length, the fruit I had brought him, and stepping back to the doorway I asked him, hoping to find a tender place in his heart, if he re­membered his mother, but he cursed her. I asked him if he ever had a wife, and he cursed her. I spoke of God, and he cursed Him. I tried to speak of Jesus and His death for us, but he stopped me with his oaths, and said:

"That's all a lie. Nobody ever died for others.”

I went away discouraged. I said to myself:

“I knew it was no use.”

But the next day I went again, and every day for two weeks, but he did not show the gratitude of a dog. At the end of that time I said:

“I’m not going any more.”

That night, when I was putting my little boys to bed, I did not pray for the miner, as I had been accustomed to do. My little Charlie noticed it and said:

“Mamma, you did not pray for the bad man.”

“No,” I answered with a sigh.

“Have you given him up, mamma?”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“Has God given him up, mamma?”

That night I could not sleep, “The man dying, and so vile, with no one to care!”

1got up and went away by myself to pray, but as my knees touched the floor I was overpowered by the sense of how defective had been my prayers. I had had no faith, and I had not really cared, beyond a half-hearted sentiment. Oh, the shame, the sham, of my missionary zeal! I fell on my face literally, as I cried:

“Oh, Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul.”

I stayed on my knees until Calvary became a reality to me. I cannot describe those hours. They came and went unheeded, but I learned that night what I had never known before, what it is to travail for a human soul. I saw my Lord that night as I had never seen Him before.

The next morning brought a lesson in Christian work I had never learned before. I had waited on other days until the afternoon, when, my work being all over, I could change my dress, put on my gloves, and take a walk while the shadows were on the hillsides. That day, the moment my little boys went off to school I left my work, and hurried over the hills, not to see “that vile wretch,” hut to win a soul. There was a human soul in the balance, and I wanted to get there quickly. As I passed on, a neighbor come out of her house and said:

“I’ll go over the hills with you, I guess.”

I did not want her, but it was another lesson for me. God could plan better than I could. She had her little girl with her. As we reached the cabin she said:

“I’ll wait out here; and you’ll hurry, won’t you?” I do not know what I expected, but the man greeted me with an awful oath. It did not hurt me as it did before, for I was behind Christ, and I stayed there. I could bear what struck Him first.

While I was changing the basin of water and towel for him, things which I had done every day, and which he had used but never thanked me for, the clea.r laugh of the little girl rang out upon the air like a bird’s note.

“What’s that?” said the man eagerly.

“It’s a little girl outside who is waiting for me.”

“Would you mind letting her in?” he said, in a dif­ferent tone from any I had heard before.

Stepping to the door I beckoned to her, and then, taking her by the hand, said:

“Come in and see the sick man, Mamie.”

She shrank back as she saw his face and said:

“I’se ‘fraid.”

But I assured her with, “Poor sick man! he can’t get up, and he wants to see you.”

She looked like an angel, with her face framed in golden curls, her eyes tender and pitiful, and in her hand the flowers she had picked from the purple sage brush. Bending towards him she said:

“I sorry for ‘ou, sick man. Will ‘ou have a posy?” He laid his great bony hand beyond the flowers on the plump hand of the child, and tears came to his eyes, as he said:

“I had a little girl once, and she died. Her name was Mamie. She cared for me. Nobody else did. Guess I’d been different if she’d lived. I’ve hated everybody since she died.”

I knew at once I had the key to the man’s heart, and the thought came quickly, born of that midnight prayer service:

“When I spoke of your mother and your wife you cursed them, and I know now that they were not good women or you could not have done it.”

“Good women! Oh, you don’t know about that kind of women. You can’t think what they was.”

“Well, if your little girl had lived and grown up with them, wouldn’t she have been just like them? You would not have liked to have her live for that, would you?”

He evidently had not thought of this, and his great eyes looked off for a full minute. As they came back to mine he cried:

“Oh, no! no! I’d killed her first. I’m glad she died.”

Reaching out and taking the poor hand I said:

“The dear Lord didn’t want her to be like them. He loved her better than you did. So He took her away where she could be cared for by the angels. He is keeping her for you. To-day she is waiting for you Don’t you want to see her again?”

“Oh, I’d be willing to be burned alive a thousand times over if I could just see my little gal once more, my little Mamie.”

Oh, what a blessed story I had to tell that hour, and I had been so close to Calvary that night that I could tell it in earnest!

The poor face grew ashy pale as I talked, and the man threw up his arms as though his agony was master­ing him. Two or three times he gasped as though los­ing breath. Then clutching me he said:

“What is that, woman, you said t’other day about talkin’ to somebody out ‘o sight?”

“It’s praying. I tell God what I want.”

“Pray now! pray quick! Tell Him I want my little gal again. Tell Him anything you want to.”

I took the hands of the child and placed them on the ­trembling hand of the man. Then dropping on my knees, with the child in front of me, I bade her pray for the man who had lost his little Mamie and wanted to see her again. As nearly as I remember, this was Mamie‘s prayer:

“Dear Jesus, this man is sick. He has lost his ‘ittle girl, and he feels bad about it. I‘se so sorry for him, and he’s sorry too. Won’t you help him, and show him where to find his ‘ittle girl? Do, please. Amen.”

Heaven seemed to open before us. There stood One with the prints of the nails in His hands and the wounds in His side.

Mamie slipped away soon, but the man kept saying:

“Tell Him more about it, tell Him everything—_but oh! you don’t know.”

Then he poured out such a torrent of confession that I could not have borne it but for the One that was close to us that hour, reaching out after that lost soul.

It was the third day when the poor, tired soul turned from everything to Him, the Mighty to save, “The Man that died for me.”

He lived on for four weeks, as if God would show how real was the change. I had been telling him one day about a meeting, and he said:

“I’d like to go to meetin’ once. I never went to one of them things.”

So we planned a meeting, and the boys came from the mills and the mines, and filled the room.

“Now, boys,” said he, “get down on your knees while she tells about that Man that died for me.”

I had been brought up to believe that a woman shouldn’t speak in meeting, but I found myself talking, and I tried to tell the simple story of the Cross.

After a while he said, “Oh, boys, you don’t half believe it, or you’d cry; you couldn’t help it. Boys, raise me up. I’d like to tell it once.”

So they raised him up, and between his short breath­ing and coughing he told the story, and this, as well as I can recall, is a part of what he said:

“Boys,” he said, “you know how the water runs down the sluice-boxes and carries off all the dirt and leaves the gold behind. Well, the blood of that Man she tells about went right over me just like that; it carried off ‘bout everything. But it left enough for me to see Mamie, and to see the Man that died for me. Oh, boys, can’t you love Him?”

Some days after, I saw that the end was near, and as I left him I said:

“What shall I say to-night, Jack?”

“Just ‘Good-night,’” he said, “and when we meet again I’ll say ‘Good-morning’ up there.”

The next morning the door was closed, and I found two men sitting silently by a board stretched across two stools. They turned back the sheet, and I looked on the face of the dead, which seemed to have come back nearer to the “image of God.”

“I wish you could have seen him when he went,” they said. “He brightened up ‘bout midnight, an’ smiling said, ‘I’m going, boys. Tell her I am going to see Mamie. Tell her I’m going to see the Man that died for me’; and he was gone.”

(From "CALVARY'S CROSS" - a book published in 1900)