The Innkeeper's Wife.
An Incident in the Life of Martin Boos.
Martin Boos was born in Bavaria, about the middle of the last century, and brought up in the Catholic faith. He was educated and trained for the church as his career in life, and entered it when yet young.
After having a long time sought in vain for peace of mind in practices aud penances, both severe and of long duration, he arrived at the immovable conviction that this blessed state cannot be found except by faith in Jesus, the only Saviour and Mediator, and not by the works of the law. This was the great doctrine which he proclaimed until his last breath, and on many occasions, it brought on him violent persecution from his fellow-religionists. However, he did not think it his duty to leave his communion, and, as a faithful preacher of the gospel, he exercised down to 1825, his succesful ministry, at first in his native land, afterwards in Austria, and last of all in Rhenish Prussia, at Galneuchirch.
A poor woman, one of his parishioners, came several times to his house to tell him the wants and troubles of her soul. A long while, prevented by a secret timidity, she had at length taken courage; and, entering his dwelling, she, after much weeping, thanked him for his good sermons.
"Although you like to hear my preaching," said Boos to her, "and are come to thank me for it, I very much fear that you are far from believing all that I say to my congregation."
"Oh! I believe all that you preach."
"I doubt it. From your agitated state of mind and the terror that your sins occasion, I think there is much unbelief in your heart. You do not yet believe that God can pardon you for the love of Christ, and that He can fill your heart with the Holy Spirit."
"It is true," she said, her tears flowing faster, "I am still very far from being such as I would wish. I am a very great sinner; and is it possible that God can pardon all my sins?"
"I am a greater sinner than you," said he, "and yet God has pardoned me, as He did the sinner who wiped the feet of Jesus with the hair of her head; the thief on the cross, Peter who denied Him, Paul who persecuted His followers, and many others. why can He not pardon you also? Think how you sin against God now by your unbelief.
The poor woman could not restrain her tears; sighs cut short her words. Boos showed her by many passages of Scripture, that God grants of His free grace, the remission of sin to the greatest sinners, if they feel that they have sinned, and humble themselves before Him. "The Son of Man is come to seek and save those who were lost. God has manifested His love towards us in that, when we were sinners, Christ died for us. It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. Be assured that the Son of Man has on earth, the power to pardon sins. Believe His word then. I declare this to you, that God our heavenly Father loves you sufficiently to give you more than all the gold in the world, and greater riches than you can imagine, by giving you to know His only Son. He is willing at this instant to pardon you. You have only to trust yourself to Christ. Do you believe that?"
"I cannot do otherwise; I am obliged to believe," she said, with many tears.
"You are very much blessed in not being able to do otherwise. Go in peace, your sins are removed, and you are pardoned."
"I cannot yet depart," replied she; "I am as happy as if I was in heaven. If you will allow me, I will stay a little longer at your house; never have I felt such happiness!"
Three days after this time, she returned to Martin Boos again, sad, and again in tears.
"Alas," said she to him, "I am undone."
"And how is this?"
"My husband is a drunkard; I have several children, and have the business of the Inn to carry on; I am overloaded with cares and troubles; it is impossible for me to keep on."
"I am quite sure," he said to her, "that your faith was sincere when you told me three days ago that you believed yourself to be pardoned; but for that, your faith would not have been so soon attacked. Take courage. If faith in Jesus Christ could not be adapted to people of all conditions of life, the Lord would never have ordered the gospel to be preached to all mankind. He would have said expressly: You shall not preach to brewers of beer, nor to innkeepers, nor to women who have the misfortune to have drunken husbands, or many children, or lodgers to look after, beware of announcing the gospel to such people; they will never be able to believe it; they have not enough time to think of their eternal welfare. But Jesus speaks in a language totally different to this: 'Come unto me all you who are wearied and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Take courage, then, and say to your spiritual enemy, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.'"
"I will go, then, and return to my work. I thought it would be impossible for me to follow Christ and to serve Him."
She departed, having found peace. The Lord strengthened her faith, so that in time, she was able to help others, and extend around her the precious knowledge of Christ. Her daughters, her sisters, her servants, and some neighbours, were brought by her means to believe in the freeness of salvation.
"The Sunday at Home" 1884