A Car Conductor’s Mistake
A Christian friend relates the following incident:—
“Travelling in a Melbourne tramcar I offered a Gospel tract to the conductor, who refused it saying, ‘I have no time for these things,’ and, as if desiring to close all further discussion on the point added, ‘I think the Bible is an obscene book, and is not fit to be read in the family.’
“To this I replied in substance as follows: ‘I have just arrived from England in the S. S. Himalaya. Whilst I was on the voyage I observed that the captain had a small cabin under the Bridge in which he kept his charts. Had you been there you would have seen a chart of the voyage tacked to a board, and on it here and there were shown black dots of various sizes and in different places. What were those dots for, think you?’
“‘I suppose they would represent islands and rocks and sunken reefs to be met with on their route,’ was the reply.
“‘I presume that you know that these marks were placed there so that the Captain might run his vessel against them.’
“‘Nothing of the kind,’ exclaimed the conductor somewhat warmly. ‘They were marked on the chart so that the captain might avoid them.’
“‘You are right,’ said the Christian friend. The Bible is God’s chart, and here and there on its pages are marked rocks and shoals on which some ancient mariners on the sea of life have come sadly to grief, and in some cases have made shipwreck of their lives. Sad indeed as those records are, such as the sins of Noah, Lot, David, and others, but did God record them in order that others might be encouraged to do the same, or are they placed there as warnings that we should steer clear of these dangers, lest we should come to similar disaster?’
“‘I see it all now,’ said the conductor. ‘I have an infidel lodging with me who has instilled these things into my mind, and when I get home I shall have it out with him.’ Thus the conductor got his eyes open to these foolish ideas.”
It is true that some portions of the Scriptures may be read publicly, and others are to be pondered in private, but “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Suppose the lives of these cavillers were faithfully recorded, do you think that they would be fit for their families to read? Some parts of them might perhaps be read in public, but there are parts that, sad as they may be, they themselves might profit from, if they reviewed them, as one day they must, in the light of the presence of God. Then will come to light “every secret thing whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14). Thank God, He now assures us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Some time ago we heard of a London City Missionary, who was accosted by one of this stamp of infidels, when David and his sin became the subject of his criticism. As he finished his attack, in a very triumphant tone he said, “And this was supposed to be a man after God’s own heart!”
When he had finished, the missionary quietly said, “Next time you tell that sad story will you kindly tell the whole of it?”
“I have told the whole of it!” rejoined the infidel.
“No,” said the missionary, “you have not.”
“What have I omitted?”
“You have omitted David’s own account of the end of it. I’ll read it to you:” and opening His Bible he began to read Psalm 51:1-4, “‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness . . . wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.’ Again, referring to the same thing in Psalm 32:4, he says, ‘Day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me . . . I acknowledged my sin unto Thee,’ and then he adds, ‘And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.’ What a wonderful finish that was to such a sad story, but you left that part out! Next time you tell them the story of David’s sin, tell them how bitterly he repented before God, and how graciously God forgave him all. It may be that some of your hearers will be secretly troubled about sins in their own lives, and it will encourage them to do as David did, and they, too, will get God’s pardon.”
Usually infidelity of this type is but an effort to silence the outcries of a guilty conscience, though it actually does nothing of the kind.
It leaves the grave question of their sins untouched, and consequently their conscience unrelieved.
God Himself suggests a more excellent way. He says, “Come now, and let us reason together . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
He says in effect, “Come and talk this matter out with Me this very day. I will lift sin’s burden from your conscience, and remove sin’s crimson stain from your soul.” “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Never mind the other man’s sins. Look not into his life, for “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). Look over your own shoulder, and back upon your own life, and though you may find sins that blaze up like bonfires in your memory, yet remember, David could say of God that, “There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared” (Ps. 130:4), and the cleansing virtue in the precious blood of Christ still avails for you.
“Though thy sins are red like crimson,
Deep in scarlet glow,
Jesus’ precious blood can make them
White as snow.”
Be wise. Secure God’s forgiveness while mercy lingers and long-suffering love waits to be gracious. Be sure of this, if you don’t get God’s forgiveness you will never get your own: that is, you will never forgive yourself, and more than that, you will have all eternity to regret it.
The Gospel Messenger 1926, p. 89