?Him Who Is Athirst

A winter drizzle made the streets both cold and unpleasant, but it did not dampen the fervor of a veteran Christian, who for more than fifty years had been an open-air preacher. On that Sunday evening we went with him to tell the gospel story on the streets before going into a nearby hall for a further service.
As the old preacher proclaimed salvation through the Lord Jesus, a young medical student drew near and listened. He had come to the city from a Christian home, but contact with other students who held skeptical views and laughed at religion had shaken the faith that he had held. It may have been through his own reasoning, or his desire to be like his new friends; I cannot tell; but be that as it may, he was that night an agnostic in thought and intention.
But the plain words of this rugged old man made an impression on him. Here was not light-hearted inexperience toying with the realities of life and death, God and eternity, like a juggler tossing his balls at a circus. The student had grown used to that kind of thing in the class and dissecting room; but now he heard one who, near the end of his long life, was telling the story of what had given him peace and joy in time, and a certain hope for eternity. This impressed the young man, and when an invitation was given to all to come to the evening service in the hall, he came along with others.
The preaching in the hall deepened the impression of reality that had been made upon him in the street, and he remained in his seat when the meeting closed.
A Christian man sat by his side, but after a few minutes conversation with him, our young friend rose up to leave the hall, disconsolate and sad.
I had noticed him earnestly listening to the preaching. Extending my hand to him at the door, I asked him what his trouble was. He said, "That gentleman refuses to talk with me because I do not believe that the Bible is God's Word."
"Oh!" I said, "you do not believe that this Book is the Word of God?"
"No," he said, "I don't, for even if there is a God I do not see how He could write a book for us; it is the work of men."
"I see," I said; "then it is evidently useless to discuss that question, so I will put my Bible in my pocket. Now tell me, are you happy?"
He confessed that he was not, so I said: "If you don't mind, I should like to introduce you to some of my friends here."
I called two young men, the sons of the street preacher, to come and sit beside us. Having introduced them to him I said, "Do you think that my friends look happy?"
He thought they did. Then I said, "I am going to ask them to tell us how God made them happy."
Glad of an opportunity of bearing witness to the grace of God, the elder of the two told how as a youth he attended a certain gospel preaching. Though at that time he did not lay hold of the sermon, the text laid hold of him. It was that wonderful word from the lips of Jesus: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The lad had seen that there was room for him in that great and blessed WHOSOEVER, and that salvation from everlasting perdition and the gift of eternal life were for him. Yes, more truly for him than if his own name had been in the verse, for there were many in that city bearing his name, whereas God's "whosoever" stretched out its long arms of blessing to embrace all who would simply believe no matter what their name or nation. There and then he, an anxious young sinner, put his faith in the only-begotten Son of God who had died for him; and he had known from that time onward that he had a Savior in heaven who would not let him perish.
The younger brother told us that on the same night that his brother turned to the Savior he also found the blessing. It was at home by the fireside that his father pointed out to him a beautiful verse in the Bible: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9).
He learned that his sins had been laid upon the Lord Jesus, his holy Substitute, and that He had suffered the judgment of divine justice instead of him. He read and believed that Jesus had not only been delivered for his transgression, but had been raised again from the dead—positive proof that the work was finished, the debt paid, that God was satisfied in all His holy claims, and that his sins were gone forever.
Who, seeing this, could refuse to bow the knee and confess Jesus as Lord? Certainly he could not refrain; and then and there he surrendered to the Savior, confessing Him as his Lord.
The lad also told how the next day he confessed the name of Christ at the dentistry establishment where he was at the time an apprentice, and that a fellow-dentist there remarked: "This is an important event! We must make a note of it." And he had written on the wall: "Conversion of St. Edward, January, 1951," and he had added, "but in three weeks St. Edward will be the same as he was before." The scoffer was no true prophet, however, as the happy face of the young dentist proved that night.
I too had a story to tell, a story of sin and need on my part, but of love and mercy and cleansing blood on the Savior's part—a story such as every saved soul delights to tell for the glory of God.
The young medical student listened to us with growing interest; and before we finished our tales of grace he had ceased to be an agnostic. He felt that his need was what ours had been, and that the Savior who had saved us could also save him. And so we knelt together, just the four of us, and we found the Savior very near to us as that anxious sinner sought Him.
Our kneeling there together was an incident that would not have interested the ordinary man of the world; but at that moment that young man's sins were forgiven and his soul was saved, and he could say:
“‘Tis done, the great transaction's done,
I am my Lord's, and He is mine."
This is the greatest event that can happen in the history of any man.