One bitter winter’s night a little Irish boy stood in the streets of Dublin, homeless and friendless. Wicked men were making him their tool, and he was even then waiting to help in a crime.
In the darkness, a hand was laid on his shoulder. The face he could not see; but a kind voice said: “Boy, what are you doing here? The hour is late. Go home and go to bed.”
Shivering, he answered, “I have no home and no bed.”
“Poor fellow! Would you go to a home if I sent you?”
“Indeed I would.”
“Well, then, go to such a street and number, ring at the gates, and give them the pass.”
“The pass? What’s that sir?”
“The word that will let you in. Remember, the pass is John 3:16. Don’t forget, or you can’t get within—John 3:16. That’s something that will do you good.”
The boy ran to the place. Timidly he rang the bell at the great iron gates. A gruff porter opened. “Who’s there?”
“Please sir, I’m John Three Sixteen.” His voice trembled with cold and fear.
“All right,” said the porter; “you’ve got the pass.”
Presently he found himself in a warm bed, the best he had ever known. Before going to sleep, he thought: “That’s a lucky name. I’ll stick to it.” In the morning he had a warm breakfast before being sent away.
Crossing a crowded street, he was run over, picked up unconscious, and taken to the hospital. Soon fever and delirium set in. In ringing tones he said, over and over: “John Three Sixteen! It was to do me good, and so it has!”
The words were heard all over the ward. Testaments were pulled out to find what he meant. So it came about that one and another read the words: “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 Holy Spirit used the words, and souls were saved then and there.
After a while the lad’s senses returned. A voice from the next bed said: “Well, John Three Sixteen, how are you to-day?”
“How do you know my name?”
“I know,” the voice went on; “you got it from the blessed Bible.”
“Bible? What’s that?”
The poor little waif drank in the answer, and said: “That’s beautiful; it’s all about love, and not a home for the night, but a home for always.”
He believed the precious truth. Friends were raised up. He received an education, and grew up to a career of great usefulness.
The Youth’s Instructor, October 10, 1895, 223.