The Backwoodsman and His Message

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
One summer's evening the writer was crossing Lake Ontario. In Toronto Bay were numbers of smart pleasure craft sailing to and fro in the breeze. As we watched, the scene lit up with splendor by the setting sun, there was a sudden cry. One of the brisk little vessels had capsized, and its white sail now lay extended on the surface of the lake. Three men with pallid faces were seen to be clinging to the boat for dear life. Our captain turned his ship in their direction, and gladly they allowed themselves to be saved from their danger by strong arms stretched out to their aid, not caring even to look again at their frail craft which soon would have dragged them to a watery grave.
Looking back over the years that have passed since this incident, he is reminded of the far greater risks, he, for a long time ran, of an infinitely worse fate. For many years he went on careless and indifferent to his danger, and of God's righteous claims. But there came a time when concern for these things began to arouse him; he began to attend religious services and to attempt reformation, hoping thus to atone in some measure for the sins of the past.
Becoming interested in Christian work, he identified himself with any effort put forth in the Name of Christ, and began to be satisfied with himself, feeling certain that God would see that he was seeking to serve Him and be propitiated, not knowing either the fact or the import of.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:1010Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10).
There came to him a great sorrow. Health broke down, and life became a burden as a result.' When weak and ill, serious thoughts about his soul's eternal welfare kept coming before him. In the hour of darkness and trial, when Eternity seemed near, he realized that in all his self-effort he was but clinging, like the capsized men, to a frail baroque that might drag him beyond hope.
He had come under the care of a Christian lady nurse, who, well knowing him to be religious, soon perceived his true condition, and that there was "one thing lacking." She persuaded him to take a trip to where a plain backwoodsman was preaching the Gospel to large crowds.
On a certain day he found himself in a crowded hall listening to the "old, old story" as he had never before heard it proclaimed. As the preacher fearlessly pleaded with sinful men, and exposed the sham and futility of any effort that could be made by man to obtain Salvation, the truth dawned upon him that only through what Christ had done could he obtain peace with God. The text was John 1:3636And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36),
"Behold the Lamb of God."
As the preacher explained that Christ Himself became the sin bearer as He hung on Calvary's tree.
"But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God." Heb. 10:1212But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Hebrews 10:12), and that through faith in His atoning work all might receive Eternal Life as God's "free gift,"
"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23), he was able to trust alone in the efficacy of "the Blood of the Lamb." All things became new, and like the great apostle of old, he now cried,
"Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"
The apathy and spiritual darkness prevailing, determined him to devote himself to the work of preaching the Gospel, his one desire to point sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only refuge from the storm of wrath, so soon to burst upon this guilty world.
Flee to Christ, from the wrath to come.