Send I You"
feel a bit of sadness as we begin our final Bible study lesson with
you. But, although the lessons are at an end, this is just the beginning
of what could be something very exciting and rewarding for you.
You have come to know some very wonderful truths contained in the
Bible that perhaps you never knew before.
Jesus was on the earth His mission was to reveal the Father to this
sin darkened world and give us the hope of rescue and eternal life.
He did this by sharing the same truths with His disciples that we
have been sharing with you. Before leaving earth to return to heaven,
Jesus gave His disciples this commission in Matthew 28:19,20, "Go
ye therefore, and teach all nations . . . Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you
alway, even unto the end of the world." Now that you have received
the knowledge and the hope that the disciples had, you too are sent
by Jesus to go and tell others what wonderful things He has done
following stories are about people who did just that, shared with
others the wonderful truths they learned through the study of the
Scriptures. May they inspire you with the same desire to follow
the commission that Jesus has given to each one of us.
Drummer Boy's Prayer
or three times in my life, God in His mercy touched my heart, and
twice before my conversion I was under deep conviction.
the American War, I was surgeon in the United States Army, and after
the Battle of Gettysburg, there were many hundreds of wounded soldiers
in the hospital, twenty-eight of whom had been wounded so severely
that they required my services at once; some whose legs had to be
amputated, some their arms, and others both an arm and leg. One
of the latter was a boy who had been but three months in the service,
and, being too young for a soldier, had enlisted as a drummer. When
my assistant surgeon and one of my stewards wished to administer
chloroform previous to the amputation, he turned his head aside
and positively refused to receive it. When the steward told him
that it was the doctor's orders, he said, "Send the doctor
I came to his bedside, I said, "Young man, why do you refuse
chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield you were so far
gone that I thought it hardly worthwhile to pick you up, but when
you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere,
who might at that moment be thinking of her boy. I did not want
you to die on the field, so ordered you to be brought here; but
you have lost so much blood that you are too weak to endure an operation
without chloroform, therefore you had better let me give you some."
He laid his hands on mine, and looking me in the face, said, "Doctor,
one Sunday afternoon, in the Sunday-school, when I was nine-and-a-half
years old, I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then.
I have been trusting Him ever since, and I know I can trust Him
now. He is my strength and my stimulant; He will support me while
you amputate my arm and leg." I then asked him if he would
allow me to give him a little brandy. Again he looked me in the
face, saying, "Doctor, when I was about five years old my mother
knelt by my side with her arm around my neck and said, `Charlie,
am now praying to Jesus that you may never know the taste of strong
drink. Your papa died a drunkard, and went down to a drunkard's
grave, and I promised God, if it was His will that you should grow
up, that you would warn young men against the bitter cup.' I am
now seventeen years old, but I have never tasted anything stronger
than tea and coffee; and as I am, in all probability, about to go
into the presence of my God, would you send me there with brandy
on my stomach?"
look that boy gave me I shall never forget. At that time I hated
Jesus, but I respected that boy's loyalty to his Saviour, and, when
I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the last, there was something
that touched my heart, and I did for that boy what I have never
done for any other soldier I asked him if he wished to see his chaplain.
yes, sir!" was the answer.
Chaplain R_______ came, he at once knew the boy from having often
met him at the tent prayer meetings, and, taking him by the hand,
said: "Well, Charlie, I am sorry to see you in this sad condition."
I am all right, sir," he answered. "The doctor offered
me chloroform, but I declined it; then he wished to give me brandy
which I also declined; and now if my Saviour calls me, I can go
to Him in my right mind."
may not die, Charlie," said the chaplain; "but, if the
Lord should call you away, is there anything I can do for you after
you are gone?"
please put your hand under my pillow and take my little Bible, in
which you will find my mother's address. Please send it to her and
write a letter and tell her that, since the day I left home, I have
never let a day pass without reading a portion of God's Word, and
daily praying that God would bless my dear mother, no matter whether
on the march, on the battlefield, or in the hospital."
there anything else I can do for you, my lad?" asked the chaplain.
please write a letter to the superintendent of the Sands Street
Sunday School, Brooklyn, N.Y., and tell him the kind words, many
prayers, and good advice he gave me I have never forgotten; they
have followed me through all the dangers of battle, and now, in
my dying hour, I ask my dear Saviour to bless my dear old superintendent;
that is all."
towards me, he said, "Now, doctor, I am ready, and I promise
you that I will not even groan while you take off my arm and leg,
if you will not offer me chloroform."
promised, but I had not the courage to take the knife in my hand
to perform the operation without first going to the next room and
taking a little stimulant to nerve myself to perform my duty.
cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned, but when
I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of
his pillow in his mouth, and all that I could hear him utter was,
"Oh, Jesus, blessed Jesus! stand by me now." He kept his
promise and never groaned.
night I could not sleep, for whichever way I turned, I saw those
soft blue eyes, and when I closed mine, the words, "Blessed
Jesus, stand by me now," kept ringing in my ears. Between twelve
and one o'clock I left my bed and visited the hospital a thing I
had never done before, unless especially called, but such was my
desire to see that boy. Upon my arrival there, I was informed by
the night steward that sixteen of the hopeless cases had died, and
had been carried down to the dead-house.
is Charlie Coulson? is he among the dead?" I asked.
sir," answered the steward, "he is sleeping as sweetly
as a babe."
I came up to the bed where he lay, one of the nurses informed me
that about nine o'clock two members of the Young Men's Christian
Association came through the hospital to read and to sing a hymn;
they were accompanied by Chaplain R_______, who knelt by Charlie
Coulson's bed and offered up a fervent and soul-stirring prayer,
after which they sang, while still upon their knees, the sweetest
of all hymns, "Jesus Lover of My Soul," in which Charlie
joined. I could not understand how that boy, who had undergone such
excruciating pain, could sing.
days after I had amputated that dear boys arm and leg he sent for
me, and it was from him that day I heard the first gospel sermon.
he said, "my time has come. I do not expect to see another
sunrise, but thank God, I am ready to go; and before I die I desire
to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. Doctor,
you are a Jew, you do not believe in Jesus; will you please stand
here and see me die trusting my Saviour to the last moment of my
tried to stay, but I could not; for I had not the courage to stand
by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of that Jesus
I had been taught to hate, so I hurriedly left the room. About twenty
minutes later a steward, who found me sitting in my private office,
said, "Doctor, Charlie Coulson wishes to see you."
have just seen him," I answered, "and can not see him
doctor, he says he must see you once more before he dies."
now made up my mind to see him, say an endearing word and let him
die, but I was determined that no word of his should influence me
in the least, so far as his Jesus was concerned. When I entered
the hospital I saw he was sinking fast, so I sat down by his bed.
Asking me to take his hand, he said: "Doctor, I love you because
you are a Jew; the best Friend I have found in this world was a
asked, "Who was that?"
answered, "Jesus Christ, to whom I want to introduce you before
I die; and will you promise me, doctor, that what I am about to
say to you, you will never forget?"
promised, and he said, "Five days ago when you amputated my
arm and leg,
prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul."
words went deep into my heart. I could not understand how, when
I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about
himself, and think of nothing but his Saviour and my unconverted
soul. All I could say to him was, "Well, my dear boy, you will
soon be all right." With these words I left him, and twelve
minutes later he fell asleep, "safe in the arms of Jesus."
of soldiers died in my hospital during the war, but I followed only
one to the grave, and that one was Charlie Coulson, the drummer
boy, and I rode three miles to see him buried. I had him dressed
in a new uniform, and placed in an officer's coffin, with a new
United States flag over it.
dear boy's dying words made a deep impression upon me. I was rich
at that time, so far as money is concerned, but I would have given
every penny I possessed if I could have felt towards Christ as Charlie
did. But that feeling can not be bought with money.
several months after his death, I could not get rid of the words
of that dear boy. They kept ringing in my ears, but, being in the
company of worldly officers, I gradually forgot the sermon Charlie
preached in his dying hour; but I could never forget his wonderful
patience under acute suffering, and his simple trust in that Jesus
whose name to me at that time was a byword and a reproach. For ten
long years I fought against Christ with all the hatred of an orthodox
Jew, until God in His mercy brought me in contact with a Christian
barber, who proved himself a second instrument in my conversion
to Christianity. At the close of the American War, I was detailed
as inspecting surgeon, to take charge of the military hospital in
Galveston, Texas. Returning one day from an inspecting tour, and
on my way to Washington, I stopped to rest a few hours at New York.
After dinner I stepped down stairs to the barber's shop. On entering
the room I was surprised to see hung around it beautifully framed
scripture texts. Sitting down in one of the barber's chairs, I saw
directly opposite me, hanging up in a frame on the wall, this notice:
"Please do not swear in this room." No sooner had the
barber put the brush to my face than he began also to talk to me
about Jesus. He spoke in such an attractive and loving manner that
my prejudices were disarmed, and I listened with growing attention
to what he said.
the while he was talking, Charlie Coulson, the drummer boy, came
welling up in my mind. I was so well pleased with the words and
deportment of the barber that, no sooner had he finished shaving
me, than I told him next to cut my hair, although when I entered
the room I had no such thought or intention. All the while he was
cutting my hair, he kept steadily on with this sermon, preaching
Christ to me, and telling me that, although not a Jew himself, he
was at one time as far away from Christ as I was then.
listened attentively, my interest increasing with every word he
said, to such an extent that when he had finished cutting my hair,
I said: "Barber, you may now give me a shampoo;" in fact,
I allowed him to do all that one in his profession could do for
a gentleman at one sitting. There is, however, an end to all things,
and, my time being short, I prepared to leave. I paid my bill, thanked
the barber for his remarks, and said, "I must catch the next
train." He, however, was not yet satisfied.
was a bitter cold February day, and the ice on the ground made it
somewhat dangerous to walk on the streets. It was only two minutes'
walk to the station from the hotel, and the kind barber at once
offered to walk to the station with me. I accepted his offer gladly,
and no sooner had we reached the street than he put his arm in mine
to keep me from falling. He said but little as we were walking along
the street. When we arrived at the station, however, he broke the
silence by saying: "Stranger, perhaps you do not understand
why I chose to talk to you upon a subject so dear to me. When you
entered my shop, I saw by your face that you were a Jew."
still continued to talk to me about his "dear Saviour"
and said he felt it his duty, whenever he came in contact with a
Jew, to try and introduce him to One whom he felt was his best Friend,
both for this world and the world to come. On looking a second time
into his face, I saw tears trickling down his cheeks. I could not
understand how it was that this man, a total stranger to me, should
take such a deep interest in my welfare, and also shed tears while
talking to me.
reached out my hand to bid him good-bye. He took it in both of his
and gently pressed it, the tears still continuing to run down his
face, and said, "Stranger, if it is any satisfaction for you
to know it, if you will give me your card or name, I promise you
on my honor as a Christian man that during the next three months
I will not retire to rest at night without making mention of you
by name in my prayers. And now, may my Christ follow you, trouble
you, give you no rest, until you find Him what I have found him
to be a precious Saviour and the Messiah you are looking for."
thanked him for his attention and his consideration, and after handing
him my card, I said, rather sneeringly, I fear, "There is not
much danger of my ever becoming a Christian."
then handed me his card, saying, as he did so, "Will you please
drop me a note or letter if God should answer my prayer on your
smiled incredulously, and said, "Certainly I will," never
dreaming that within the next forty-eight hours God in His mercy
would answer that barber's prayer. I shook his hand heartily and
said good-bye, but in spite of outward appearance of unconcern,
I felt he had made a deep impression upon my mind.
the weather was bitterly cold, the passengers were not numerous
on this train. The carriage I had entered was not more than half
filled, and, without being conscious of the fact, in less than ten
or fifteen minutes I had occupied every empty seat in the compartment.
passengers began to look upon me with some suspicion as they saw
me change my seat so frequently in so short a time without any apparent
object. For my part I did not think at that time the wrong was in
my heart, although I could not account for my erratic movement.
Finally I went to an empty seat in the corner of the carriage with
the firm intention of going to sleep. The moment I closed my eyes,
however, I felt myself between two fires. On the one side there
was the Christian barber of New York, and on the other side there
was the drummer boy of Gettysburg both talking to me about Jesus.
I felt it impossible either to go to sleep or to shake off the impression
made upon my mind by these two faithful young Christians and so
continued troubled and perplexed all the while I was on the train.
my arrival in Washington, I purchased a morning newspaper, and one
of the first things which caught my attention was the announcement
of a revival service in Dr. Rankin's Congregational Church, the
largest church in Washington. No sooner had I seen that announcement
than an inward monitor seemed to say to me, "Go to that church."
I had never been inside a Christian church during divine service,
and at any other time I should have scouted such a thought as from
the devil. It was my father's intention, when I was a boy, that
I should become a rabbi, and so I promised him that I would never
enter a place where "Jesus, the Impostor," was worshiped
as God, and that I would never attempt to read a book containing
that name. I had faithfully kept my word up to that moment.
connection with the revival meetings just referred to, it was stated
that there would be a united choir from the various churches in
the city, who would sing at each of the services. Being a passionate
lover of music, this attracted my attention, and I made it my excuse
for seeking to visit the church during the revival service that
night. When I entered the church, one of the ushers, attracted,
doubtless by my gold epaulets (for I had not changed my uniform),
led me to the front seat of the church, right in front of the preacher
an evangelist well known both in England and America. I was charmed
with the beautiful singing; but the speaker had not been talking
more than five minutes before I came to the conclusion that some
one must have informed him who I was, for I thought he pointed his
finger at me. He kept watching me, and every now and then appeared
to be shaking his fist at me. In spite of all this, however, I felt
deeply interested in what he said. But this was not all, for still
ringing in my ears were the words of the two former preachers the
Christian barber and the drummer boy emphasizing the utterances
of the evangelist, and in my mind I could plainly see those two
dear friends also repeating their sermons. Growing more and more
interested in the words of the preacher, I felt tears trickling
down my face. This startled me, and I began to feel ashamed that
I, an orthodox Jew, should be childish enough to shed tears in a
Christian church, the first I had ever shed in such a place.
omitted to say that, during the service, and whilst the preacher
was watching me, the thought occurred to me that possibly he might
be pointing his finger at some person behind me, and I turned round
in my seat to discover who the individual was, when, to my astonishment,
a congregation of more than two thousand persons, of all grades
of society, seemed to be looking at me. I at once came to the conclusion
that I was the only Jew in the place, and heartily wished myself
out of the building, for I felt I had got into bad company. Being
well known in Washington, both by Jews and Gentiles, the thought
flashed across my mind, how will it read in a Washington paper that,
"Dr. Rossvally, a Jew, was present at the revival services,
not five minutes' walk from the synagogue he usually attends, and
was seen to shed tears during the sermon." Not wishing to make
myself conspicuous (for there were faces there I recognized) I made
up my mind not to take out my handkerchief to wipe off the tears;
they must dry up of themselves; but, blessed be God, I could not
keep them back, for they came flowing faster and faster.
a while the preacher finished his sermon, and I was surprised to
hear him announce an after-meeting, and invite all who could do
so to remain. I did not accept the invitation, being only too glad
of the opportunity to leave the church.
that intention, I got up from my seat and had reached the door when
I felt that someone held me by the skirt of my coat. Turning round
I saw an elderly-looking lady, who proved to be Mrs. Young, of Washington,
a well-known Christian worker.
me, she said, "Pardon me, stranger, I see you are an officer
in the army. I have been watching you all this evening, and I beg
of you not to leave this house for I think you are under conviction
of sin. I believe you came here to seek the Saviour and you have
not found Him yet. Do come back; I would like to talk to you, and,
if you will permit me, I will pray for you."
I answered, "I am a Jew."
replied, "I do not care if you are a Jew; Christ Jesus died
for Jews as well as Gentiles."
persuasive manner in which she said these words was not without
effect. I followed her back to the very spot which I had just left
so abruptly, and when we came up to the front she said: "If
you will kneel I will pray for you."
that is something I have never done and never will do."
Young looked me calmly in the face and said, "Dear stranger,
I have found such a dear, loving, and forgiving Saviour in my Jesus
that I firmly believe in my heart He can convert a Jew standing
on his feet, and I will go on my knees and pray for that."
fell on her knees, and began to pray, talking to her Saviour in
a simple, child-like manner that completely unnerved me. I felt
so ashamed of myself, to see that dear old lady kneeling near me
while I was standing, and praying so fervently on my behalf. My
whole past life floated so vividly before my mind that I heartily
wished the floor would open and that I might sink out of sight.
When she arose from her knees, she extended her hand, and, with
a motherly sympathy, said: "Will you pray to Jesus before you
I replied, "I will pray to my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob, but not to Jests."
your soul!" she said, "Your God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, is my Christ and your Messiah."
madam, and thank you for your kindness," I said, as I slowly
left the church.
my way home, reflecting on my recent strange experiences, I began
to reason with myself: "Why is it that these Christians take
such an interest in Jew or Gentile, perfect strangers to them. Is
it possible that all these millions of men and women, who, during
the last eighteen hundred years, have lived and died, trusting in
Christ, are mistaken, and a little handful of Jews, scattered all
over the world, are right? Why should that dying drummer boy think
only of what he was pleased to call my unconverted soul? And why,
also, should that Christian barber manifest such a deep interest
in me? Why should t`e preacher tonight single me out and point his
finger at me, or that dear woman follow me to the door, and hold
me back? It must be all for the love they bear for their Jesus,
whom I despise so much." The more I thought of this, the worse
I felt. On the other hand, I argued:
it possible that my father and mother, who loved me so dearly, should
teach me anything that is wrong? In my childhood they taught me
to hate Jesus; that there was but one God, and that He had no son."
I now felt a desire springing up in my heart to become acquainted
with that Jesus whom the Christians so much loved. I started to
walk faster, fully determined that if there was a reality in the
religion of Jesus Christ I would know something before I slept.
I arrived at home, my wife (who was a very strict orthodox Jewess)
thought I looked rather excited, and asked me where I had been.
The truth I dared not tell her, and a falsehood I would not, so
I said: "Wife, please do not ask me any questions. I have some
very important business to attend to. I will go to my private study
where I can be alone."
went at once to my study, locked the door, and began to pray, standing
with my face towards the east, as I always had done. The more I
prayed the worse I felt. I could not account for the feeling that
had come over me. I was in great perplexity as to the meaning of
many prophecies in the Old Testament which deeply interested me.
My prayer gave me no satisfaction, and then it occurred to me that
Christians kneel when they pray. Was there anything in that? Having
been taught never to kneel in prayer, a fear came over me that if
I should kneel I might be deceived in thus bowing my knee to Jesus
whom I had been taught to believe in my childhood to be an impostor.
the night was bitterly cold and there was no fire in my study, I
never perspired so much in my life as I did that night. My phylacteries
were hanging in my study on the wall and I caught sight of them.
Never since I was thirteen years of age had I missed a day wearing
them, except on Jewish Sabbaths and feasts. I loved them dearly.
I took them in my hand, and, while looking at them, Genesis 49:10
came flashing across my mind: "The secptre shall not depart
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come:
and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." Two passages
also which I had often read and pondered over, presented themselves
vividly to my mind; the first of them being from Micah 5:2: "But
thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands
of Judah," etc. The other passage is the well-known prediction
in Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you
a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall
call his name Immanuel."
three passages impressed themselves so forcibly on my mind, that
I cried out: "O, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Thou
knowest I am sincere in this thing. If Jesus Christ is the Son of
God, reveal Him to me tonight, and I will accept Him as my Messiah."
sooner had I said this than almost unconsciously I flung my phylacteries
into a corner of the room, and I found myself on my knees, praying
in the same corner where my phylacteries were lying on the floor.
To throw the phylacteries on the floor as I had done was, for a
Jew, an act of blasphemy. I was now praying on my knees for the
first time in my life, and my mind was much agitated and in doubt
as to the wisdom of my proceedings.
first prayer to Jesus I shall never forget. It was as follows: "O
Lord Jesus Christ, if Thou art the Son of God; if thou art the Saviour
of the world; if Thou art the Jew's Messiah, for whom we Jews are
still looking; and if Thou canst convert sinners as Christians say
Thou canst, convert me, for I am a sinner, and I will promise to
serve Thee all the days of my life."
prayer, however, went no higher than my head. The reason was not
hard to see. I had tried to make a bargain with Jesus, that if He
would do what I asked, I would do what I then promised. I remained
on my knees for about half an hour, while drops of sweat came running
down my face. My head felt hot and I put it against the wall of
my study to cool it. I was in agony, but I was not converted. I
arose and paced to and fro in my room, and then the thought came
to me that I had gone too far already. I vowed I would never go
on my knees again. I began to reason with myself: "Why should
I go on my knees? Can not the God of Abraham, whom I have loved,
served and worshiped all the days of my life, do for me what Christ
is said to do for the Gentiles?"I looked at it of course, from
a Jewish standpoint, and went on reasoning: "Why should I go
to the Son? Is not the Father above the Son?"
more I reasoned, the worse I felt, and became increasingly perplexed.
In one corner of the room lay my phylacteries, which still possessed
a magnetic influence over me; I instinctively turned towards them,
and I involuntarily fell on my knees again, but could not utter
any words. My heart ached, for I had a sincere desire to become
acquainted with Christ if He was the Messiah. I changed my posture
time after time, alternately kneeling and then walking about the
room, from a quarter to ten until five minutes to two in the morning.
At that time light began to dawn on my mind, and I began to feel
and believe in my soul that Jesus Christ was really the true Messiah.
No sooner had I realized this, than, for the last time that night,
I fell on my knees; but this time my doubts were gone, and I began
to praise God, for a joy and happiness had penetrated my soul such
as I had never known before. I knew I was converted, and that God,
for Christ's sake, had pardoned my sin. I now felt that neither
circumcision availed anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
unspeakable joy I arose from my knees, and in my new-found happiness
thought that my dear wife would at once share my joy when I told
her of the great change which had come over me. With that thought
uppermost in my mind, I rushed out of my study into the bedroom,
for my wife had already retired to rest, I threw my arms around
her neck, and began to kiss her eagerly, saying: "Wife, I have
found the Messiah."
looked annoyed, and pushing e from her, coldly asked, "Found
Christ, my Messiah and Saviour," was my ready reply.
spoke not another word, but in less than five minutes was dressed,
and had left the house and went across the street to the house of
her parents, who lived immediately opposite. I did not follow her,
but dropped on my knees, imploring my newly-found Saviour that my
wife might also have her eyes opened as I had, and afterwards went
the following morning my poor wife was told by her parents that,
if she ever called me husband again, she would be disinherited,
excommunicated from the synagogue, and accursed. At the same time
my two children were sent for by their grandparents, and told that
they must never call me father again; that I, in praying to Jesus,
the "Impostor," was fully as bad and as mean as He was.
days after my conversion I received orders from the Surgeon-General
at Washington, to proceed west on Government business. I tried all
the means in my power to communicate personally with my wife and
to bid her good-bye, but she would neither see me nor write to me.
She, however, sent me a message to the effect that so long as I
called Jesus Christ my Saviour, I should not call her my wife, for
she would not live with me. I did not expect to receive such a message
from my wife, for I loved her and my children dearly, and it was
with a sad heart, therefore, that I left home that morning to travel
thirteen hundred miles to my sphere of duty, without being able
to see my wife and children.
fifty-four days my wife would not answer any of my letters, although
I wrote her one daily; and with every letter sent I prayed that
God would incline her heart to read at least one of them. I felt
that if she would but read at least one of them (for Christ was
preached in every one of them), she would consider what she had
said and done before I had left home. Never in my experience were
Cooper's words more signally fulfilled, "God moves in a mysterious
way His wonders to perform," for it was through the disobedience
of my daughter that my wife was converted. My daughter was the younger
of my two children, and generally considered her father's pet, and,
after my conversion to Christ, a duty to her mother on one hand,
and her love for her father on the other, kept her mind in continual
the fifty-third night she dreamt she saw her father die, and a fear
came over her, and she made up her mind that come what would, she
would not destroy the next letter in her father's handwriting. The
following morning the postman brought a letter in the familiar handwriting
(and by the way, she had waited for him at the door). As the postman
handed the letters to her, she took her father's letter and quickly
slipped it into her bosom, and ran upstairs into her room, locked
the door, and opened the letter. She began to read it, and then
read it three times before she laid it quickly down. That letter
made her sad at heart to such an extent, that when she went downstairs,
her mother saw that she had been crying, and asked her the cause
of her grief.
if I tell you, you will be offended, but if you promise me not to
be grieved, I will tell you al about it."
is it, my child," said her mother.
out my letter from under her dress, she told her mother of her dream
of the night previous, and added: "I have opened my papa's
letter this morning, and now I can not and will not believe what
my grandpa and grandma or anybody else says about my papa being
a bad man, for a bad man could not write such a letter to his wife
and children. I beg of you to read this, mother," she added,
as she handed to her the letter.
wife took the letter and carried it into the next room and locked
it in her desk. That afternoon she locked herself in the room, and,
opening the desk, took my letter and began to read it. The more
she red the worse she felt. She afterward told me she read it through
five times before she finally laid it down.
the last reading of the letter, my wife returned it to the desk,
and went back to the room she had just left. Her eyes were full
of tears, and now it was my daughter's turn to ask, "Mother,
why are you crying?"
my heart aches," was the reply; "I wish to lie down on
the lounge." She did so. The servant made her a cup of tea,
thinking that was all that was needed to take away the heartache
of which she complained. But the cup of tea brought no relief to
my poor wife.
a while my wife's mother came across the street to our house. Thinking
my wife to be very ill, she administered some simple house remedies,
as mothers frequently do. These also failed to give relief. At half-past
seven in the evening my mother-in-law sent for Dr. R_______. He
came at once and prescribed for her, but his medicine likewise failed
to remove the heartache of which my wife complained.
mother-in-law stayed in our house that night, attending to my wife
until a quarter-past eleven o'clock. I heard my wife say afterwards,
that the desire of her heart was that her mother should leave the
room, for she had fully made up her mind to go on her knees as I
had previously done, as soon as her mother had gone. No sooner therefore
had she left the house, than my wife locked the door and fell on
her knees by the side of her bed, and in less than two minutes Christ,
the Great Physician, met her, healed her, and converted her.
the following morning I received a telegram worded as follows: "Dear
Husband: Come home at once; I thought you were in the wrong and
I was in the right, but I have found that you were in the right
and I was in the wrong. Your Christ is my Messiah, your Jesus my
Saviour. Last night at nineteen minutes past eleven, while on my
knees for the first time in my life, the Lord Jesus converted my
reading that telegram, I felt for a moment as if I did not care
a cent for the government under which I served. I left my business
unfinished, took the first express train and started for Washington.
My house at that time being well known there, especially amongst
the Jews (for I frequently sang in the synagogue), I did not wish
to create a sensation, and so I telegraphed to my wife not to meet
me at the station, for I would take a carriage on my arrival at
Washington and drive quietly home.
I got to the front of my home, I saw my wife standing in the open
door expecting me. Her face beamed with joy. She ran to meet me
as I stepped out of my carriage, threw her arms round my neck, and
kissed me. Her father and mother were also standing at their open
door across the street, and when they saw us in each other's arms,
they began to curse both me and my wife.
days after my wife had given her heart to Christ my daughter was
converted. She is now the wife of a Christian minister, co-worker
with her husband in Christ's vineyard.
son (would to God I could say the same of him as of his sister),
was promised by his grandparents on his mother's side, that if he
would never call me "father" again, or my wife "mother."
they would leave all their property to him, and thus far he has
kept his promise.
year and nine months after her conversion, my wife died. The desire
of her heart previous to her death, was to see her son who resided
about seven minutes' walk from our house. I sent again and again
to him, begging of him to come and see his dying mother. One of
the ministers of the city, along with his wife, personally saw my
son, and tried to persuade him to grant his dying mother's request,
but his only reply was: "Curse her! let her die; she is no
mother of mine."
Thursday morning (the day of her death), my wife asked me to send
for as many members of the congregation where she had worshiped
as could come, to be with her in her dying hour. At half-past ten
she asked Mrs. Ryle, the minister's wife, who was a very dear friend
of hers, to take her left hand, and let all the ladies in the room
join hands with her. I stood at the other side of the bed and took
hold of her right hand, and the gentlemen joined hands with me,
and at my wife's request we formed a circle, about thirty-eight
of us, and then we sang:
lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly," very softly. As
we began to sing,
O Christ, art all I want," my wife in a feeble, though clear
voice, said: "Yes, it is all I want, it is all I have; come,
blessed Jesus, take me home," and she fell asleep.
son would not come to the funeral, nor so far as I have known, has
he ever visited his mother's grave; neither has he called me "father,"
nor answered any letter of mine since my conversion, although I
have three times crossed the Atlantic, from America to Germany,
trying to see him and be reconciled, but have failed in every instance,
for he would not see me. This, however, has called forth more fervent
prayer on his behalf, that he also may be emancipated from the thralldom
of Jewish prejudice, and in Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world." A fourth visit to
Germany in July, 1887, has strengthened and confirmed my faith,
for my son not only consented to see me, but shed bitter tears on
the remembrance of the past, and at once declared his determination
to see his dear sister in America.
wrote to my mother, who resided in Germany, immediately after my
conversion, recounting to her how I had found the true Messiah.
I could not keep the good news from her, and in my heart thought
that she would believe the eldest of her fourteen children. Indeed,
I may say that the first desire of my heart after my conversion
was that all my friends, Jews as well as Gentiles, might share with
me in my new-found joy. I felt like the Psalmist when he wrote,
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what
he hath done for my soul." This hope, so far as my mother was
concerned, was destined to be bitterly disappointed, for she wrote
me but one letter (if a curse can be called a letter), prolonged
silence awakening within me a suspicion that if she did write at
all, it would be to send me that curse which every Jew must expect
from his nearest relations when he embraces Christianity. This suspicion
was only too fully confirmed after a lapse of five months and a
half, during which time I was in suspense for previous to my conversion,
my mother had written to me once in a month.
morning, when the postman brought me my letters, I saw amongst them
one bearing the German postmark, and in the old familiar handwriting
of my dear mother. As soon as I saw it I said to my wife, who was
in the room, "Wife, it has come at last."
to say I opened that letter first. There was no heading to it, no
date, no "My dear son," as all her former letters to me
began, but it read as follows: "Max: You are no longer my son;
we have buried you in effigy; we mourn you as one dead. And now
may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob strike you blind, deaf,
and dumb, and damn your soul forever. You have left your father's
religion and the synagogue for that of Jesus the `Impostor,' and
now take your mother's curse. Clara."
I had by this time fully counted what it would cost me in embracing
the religion of Jesus Christ, and knew what I had to expect from
my relatives because I had turned my back on the synagogue, I confess
I was hardly prepared for such a letter from my mother. My dear
wife and I could now, however, more fully sympathize with each other
in our new religious life; for, as stated before, her parents had
already cursed her to her face for believing in Christ. It was not
all sadness, however, for never before did the Psalmist's words
seem so full of meaning and encouragement both to my wife and myself:
"When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take
not anyone think that it is an easy thing for Jew to become a Christian.
He must be prepared to forsake father, mother, and wife for the
kingdom of God's sake; for the considerations which appeal alike
to his affections and to his self-interest are brought to bear upon
every Jew who is suspected of looking with favor towards Christianity.
answered my mother's letter, a few days later, in the following
TO MY MOTHER'S CURSE."
away from home, my mother,
will I pray for thee;
should I be cursed, my mother?
such message sent to me?
convinced of sin, my mother,
cried, `Jesus, set me free!'
am happy now, my mother;
the Jew, has died for me.
you taught me to hate, my mother,
you still `Impostor' call,
for me on Calvary, mother,
to save me from the fall.
me lead you to Him, mother,
I pray on bended knee:
now accept my mother;
Jesus, set her free.'
persuaded, dearest mother,
not now so hardened be;
Christ, the Jew's Messiah,
died for you and me.
you spurn such mercy, mother?
you turn away your face?
to Jesus, come, dear mother,
oh, fly to His embrace!"
she never wrote to me afterwards, I was told the last word she uttered,
when life was ebbing away, was my own name, "Max."
sequel to "Charlie Coulson" remains to be told.
eighteen months after my conversion, I attended a prayer-meeting
in the city of Brooklyn. It was one of those meetings where Christians
testify to the loving-kindness of their Saviour. After several of
them had spoken, and elderly lady arose, and said, "Dear friends,
this may be the last time it is my privilege to testify for Christ.
My family physician told me yesterday that my right lung is very
early gone, and my left lung is very much affected, so at the best
I have but a short time to be with you, but what is left of me belongs
to Jesus. Oh! it is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy
with Jesus in heaven. My son was not only a soldier for his country,
but a soldier for Christ. He was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg,
and fell into the hands of a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm
and leg, but he died five days after the operation. The chaplain
of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent my boy's Bible. In that
letter I was informed that my Charlie, in his dying hour, sent for
that Jewish doctor and said to hi, `Doctor, before I die, I wish
to tell you, that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and
leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul."
I heard this lady's testimony, I could sit still no longer. I left
my seat, crossed the room, and taking her by the hand, said, "God
bless you, my dear sister. Your boy's prayer has been answered.
I am the Jewish doctor for whom your Charlie prayed, and his Saviour
is now my Saviour."
is with great joy and thankfulness of heart the I record the conversion
of my dear son.
firmly believe that the dear Saviour had been troubling his heart
some time prior to our meeting in July, 1887. For the first time
in fourteen years he called me "father," wept bitterly
at our meeting, and, it seemed, his soul's desire was to see his
sister again. My heart leaped with joy to hear this, for I knew
with his sister (a devoted Christian in America), he would be in
good hands. He left for America, where he met his sister, on Monday
afternoon, August 15. On the following Friday, my son begged his
sister to take him to his mother's grave.
Friday, August 29th, he again visited his mother's grave (but this
time alone), and while there, God in His mercy, for Christ's sake,
pardoned his sins and converted his soul.
now, in conclusion, I earnestly pray that God may spare my life,
that I may be permitted to hear my son preach the gospel of that
dear Saviour whom he had so long rejected.
been frequently asked whether all the details of this story are
strictly true, I take this opportunity of stating that every incident
occurred exactly as related. M.L.R.
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