Conversion of a Stretcher-Bearer
Through the kindness of a Christian gentleman we are allowed the privilege of reproducing the substance of an extract from a letter he had lately received from a correspondent in England. It gives a brief account of a remarkable chain of blessing that God has graciously given through the reading of one book. It calls for no literary varnishing. It shall tell its own sweet and pathetic story, in its true and unvarnished simplicity. Here it is.
A Christian doctor in Bournemouth, England, gave a lady patient of his a copy of “Notes on Exodus” by C.H.M.; and she in turn gave it to a clergyman, who called to see her on his return from the front on leave. He afterwards wrote and told her that he had read the book, and it had opened his eyes to the reality of divine things.
He was not engaged at the front in the capacity of Army Chaplain, but was acting as stretcher-bearer.
One day whilst assisting to carry a mortally wounded soldier to the rear, the other bearer was shot down. He then dragged the stretcher to a safer place and lay down flat beside it.
Shortly after, the wounded young man said, “I’m going, sir. Give me a kiss and tell my mother I am safe in the arms of Jesus!” On raising himself to respond to the poor dear fellow’s wish, the clergyman himself was shot in the back by a sniper, but he was able to talk to the wounded lad before he passed away. When they were found, the poor boy, only about nineteen years of age, was seen to be dead, with his arms clasped round the clergyman’s neck, so tightly indeed, that it took some time to separate them.
While in the hospital this clergyman wrote to the lady, telling her what a blessing the book had been to him, and that he was writing while he could, for he himself was mortally wounded, but he would like the book to be sent to his mother.
His brother, a colonel in the Guards, but who had been discharged through drink, wished to see the book that had made such a change in his brother. He read it, and he too was converted.
Whilst travelling by rail into London a few weeks ago, this same colonel was mortally wounded by a bomb during an air raid! A friend who was travelling with him at the time said, “I never could have believed it possible that any one could have been so changed as he was.” She spoke of it as one of the “Modern miracles.’’
And so it was, thank God! This is one of many such miracles of grace that God is working today, and by similar means. What a cheer this should be to tract distributors.
Here are two of the most unlikely cases, and of the very opposite kind, yet reached by what some might think the most unlikely means. One it might have been suggested was too good to need salvation, and the other was too bad to receive it, both of which are false, whoever suggests them.
The boy had already the satisfaction of knowing that to be “Safe in the arms of Jesus” was something more than a bit of religious sentiment. It was a great and blessed reality.
His faithful stretcher-bearer after years of the unreality of a Christless religion, had also found the joy and peace that follows a simple faith in Christ.
What passed between them in those solemn moments we do not know; but this we know, that to put the kiss of love upon the brow of this dying lad, his devoted stretcher-bearer had to pay the heavy price of his life.
How this reminds us of the Saviour of the lost, who in order to enable God righteously to imprint the kiss of forgiveness upon the cheek of a dying sinner, had to quit the infinite honours of the throne and stoop to the unutterable shame of Calvary, and “give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Is such love as this nothing to you, dear reader? Have you requited this love by a full confiding trust in Him who so expressed it, or do you still hold Him at arm’s length?
Let these striking incidents remind you that nothing short of reality will do in your dying hour.
Religious make-beliefs, callous indifference and flippant infidelity, will all collapse like a child’s sandcastle when the death-waves roll up. Get right with God! Hold aloof from Him no longer. Come to Christ as a sinner confessing this very hour, and prove for yourself the truth of His own words, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
“Many are choosing Christ today,
Turning from all their sins away;
Heaven shall their blessed portion be,
Where will you spend eternity?”
The Gospel Messenger 1922, p. 97