Professors, or Possessors

William C. was the son of a respectable farmer, and to better his circumstances, crossed the Atlantic, and obtained employment in Chicago. In the providence of God, he was led to board in a hotel kept by a Christian couple known to the writer. Away from parental and home influences, like many young men who move West, he "left his religion" on the other side of the Atlantic. His "religion" had never caused him much trouble; and it was easily kept at the bottom of his trunk along with his Sunday clothes, and taken off and put on with them. On Lord's-day evenings he usually went to hear one of the Chicago preachers, but this was the extent of his religious observance. Having ample opportunities of coming in contact with professors of religion, he "measured" some, and became disgusted with their lives. He saw that they were professors and not possessors, their religion being solely from the teeth outwards. Like multitudes, he reasoned in this way:
"So many profess to be Christians who are not, therefore Christianity is a sham." Alas! that multitudes should argue so illogically.
Donald, an earnest Christian, went to stay at the hotel where William "boarded." Now and again he availed himself of opportunities afforded him of speaking to William about his soul. The way in which God met with him was somewhat peculiar. He had gone to rest, and from his room he heard Donald speaking to a fellow—boarder of God's way of salvation. The young man had taken shelter in William's refuge "so many hypocrites"—and Donald was unearthing him.
"Suppose," said he, "that I took from my pocket a handful of dollars, and there was a counterfeit one among them, would I be so foolish as to throw them all away on that account?”
Applying the illustration, he showed the unreasonableness and absurdity of rejecting Christ, because of some who profess to be believers, are mere counterfeits. The Holy Spirit carried the words through the partition which divided the sleeping apartment from the hotel parlor, into William's heart and conscience.
"That is just what I have been doing," said he. "I have been occupied with the inconsistencies of others; and here am I, a poor, guilty sinner, hurrying to eternal ruin.”
As he lay in bed the Holy Spirit convicted him of the sinfulness of his condition in God's sight. Scenes and incidents of bygone days were recalled. His past life, with its sermon-hearing, psalm-singing, prayer-saying, almsgiving, sacrament taking, and high-handed sinning against the eternal God caused him to tremble. The cry burst from his lips:
"God, have mercy on me.”
For several hours he pleaded for pardon, until the thought took possession of him that he was beyond the reach of hope, and was doomed to spend eternity in the lake of fire.
Despairing of salvation, and giving himself up as one beyond the pale of God's love, he ceased praying. He had, to use a familiar expression, "come to an end of himself," and had reached the borders of the region of despair. When there seemed not a single ray of hope for his poor troubled spirit, the Holy Spirit brought to his mind the wondrous love-message contained in John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16):
"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.”
All at once the soul-saving truth, unfolded in, these glorious words, was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. He saw that on account of what the Lord Jesus had done for him on the Cross—through simple faith in His finished work—he was saved, and had everlasting life.
The new-born soul instinctively thinks about and longs for the conversion of those who are near and dear to him. William was no exception to this rule. His heart went out toward his father and mother, sister and brother, in far-off Scotland. It was true that his father had been fifty years a member of the church, and had maintained family worship. Was he converted? Was his dear mother "saved"? Though they were upright, "religious" people, he feared that they had never really accepted Jesus as their own Savior.
From a heart overflowing with love, he wrote to his father, telling him of the great change which had taken place, and put the Gospel before him as plainly as he could. Mail after mail carried letters brimful of love and sympathy, giving his reasons for the hope that was in him, and urging his father and mother to have the "great question" settled. Mr. C. was so vexed with his son's communications that he declined to acknowledge their receipt or reply to them. Becoming greatly concerned about the conversion of "the old folks at home," and fearing that they might die and be eternally lost, William resolved on re-crossing the Atlantic to plead with his dear ones about their souls. He went to New York, and from thence sailed for the British shores. To the astonishment of his relations, William turned up at the old homestead in L—. The night of his arrival he told his parents the story of his conversion to God.
Day after day William spoke to God about them, and spoke to them about God and His great salvation. His mother became deeply troubled, and she besought William to pray for her. A week after his arrival he had the joy of seeing her rejoicing in Christ. His brother and sister were brought to accept of God's "unspeakable gift"—the Lord Jesus. His father fought hard ere he yielded to the truth of God. Though professing to believe that men were justified by faith apart from works, deep down in his soul he clung to the popular doctrine, that "simply believing in Christ" was not enough. While believing that Christ's death was necessary in order to satisfy the claims of offended justice, he had not learned that it was enough. Besides, it was a very humbling thing for him to admit, that he who had been for over fifty years a member "in good standing" in the church, was all the time a lost sinner on his way to hell.
William's heart was gladdened by seeing his father rejoicing in the Lord. They had been speaking together regarding some passages of Scripture in the Epistle to the Romans. The old gentleman retired to rest still unconverted. In the morning the scales with which Satan had been blinding his eyes were removed, and he saw himself to be lost. Scriptures he had read were recalled, especially Rom. 10:9,109That 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. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9‑10):
"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.”
God's "simple, easy, artless, unencumbered plan" of salvation was perceived by him, and he believed in Christ, who was "wounded for his transgressions, and bruised from his iniquities" (Isa. 53:55But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)), and was saved, gladly confessing with his mouth the Lord Jesus.
Unsaved reader, do not delay a moment longer. Accept of God's "great salvation" by believing on Him who loved you and gave Himself for you, and you too will be saved.