A few years ago I was making a little evangelistic tour in the north of Scotland, preaching the gospel at various places, accompanied by two other servants of the Lord, whose hearts were deeply interested in the salvation of the lost. Passing from town to town we had frequent opportunities of conversation with our fellow-passengers in the train, and of handing to them little gospel booklets.
We were leaving a town on the Banffshire coast when there entered the carriage a middle-aged man, who took his seat in the corner opposite to me. He was inclined to be sociable, and began to speak about the weather and the crops, &c. On the rack over my head I had a good-sized flat leather case, such as commercial travellers often use for their goods. I had specially designed it for carrying hymn-sheets and gospel booklets for use at my meetings. Descrying this case, he at once thought that I was a commercial traveller, and said, “What line are you in?”
“Heavenly goods,” I replied.
“Get away with you,” was his surprised reply, “you do not expect me to believe that?”
“Indeed, I do,” I rejoined. “It is heavenly goods, and heavenly goods only that I am travelling in just now.”
“But what are they?” he rejoined.
“The proclamation to sinners of pardon and peace with God; the tale of eternal life as His gift through faith in His blessed Son, and that whosoever will believe the gospel may now have the knowledge of salvation.”
My reply was evidently unsatisfactory to him. He said nothing, but looked very incredulous, and at this point my two companions chimed in, “Oh, it is quite true what he says, that really is the line he is travelling in,” and, by way of confirmation of their words, produced a little hand-bill announcing some meetings I was to have a day or two afterwards in Aberdeen. He had no more questions for me, so I thought I would put him one or two.
“What about your own soul, my friend? Are you saved?”
“Ah, that is what no man can know.”
“I beg your pardon, it may be known. I know that I am saved, and you may know the same. You have heard the gospel many a time in your day, I expect?”
This evidently awoke in his mind old memories, and with a softened tone he said: “Yes, when I was a laddie and lived in this district. But that is long ago. You see, I have lived in London most of my life. When I was a lad here I used to hear about those things, and think about them too but when I crossed the border, and got into busy London, I flung all religion overboard, and I just set myself to make money.”
“And you have made it?” I replied.
“Yes, I have done well in that line, and I have come north now to see my old friends and the old places, and to enjoy myself.”
“And the money you have made has made you quite happy, I suppose, and you are all right for eternity.”
“Indeed, I am nothing of the kind. Money does not make a man happy, nor save his soul.”
“Quite true,” I replied, “and I think if you are a wise man, you will now seek to get the riches that are abiding, everlasting, and satisfying. In other words, you had better secure the ‘heavenly goods’ that I am speaking of. Would not you be the better of their possession?”
“I believe I would,” said he; “but how am I to get them?”
Then followed a plain conversation as to the gospel, up to the station at which he had to alight. He seemed much interested, took a gospel booklet or two with thankfulness, and a notice of the Aberdeen meetings, saying he would certainly attend them.
On the following Lord’s Day, both afternoon and evening, I observed him among my listeners in the Music Hall, where I was preaching the gospel. I got no opportunity of further personal conversation, but I trust what he heard in the train was was clenched by what he heard in the gospel meeting. The day of the Lord will declare.
It is a grand business to travel in the gospel. A man can earn his bread by some honest calling and still do this. No happier service is known on earth.
Reader, do you travel with the gospel? Possibly you have not yet received it. If not, let we urge you to lose no time. Remember that the gospel—the glad tidings—is “the gospel of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ.” It does not tell you what you ought to be, or ought to do. The law told you that, and then only condemned you for not being what you ought to have been, and not doing what you should have done. The law can only condemn you. The gospel saves you.
Observe it is “the gospel of God,” and is “concerning his Son Jesus Christ,” it is all about Jesus. There is nothing about you in the gospel. It is all about Jesus. But it is all for you. The gospel is of God, about Jesus, and for you. The gospel tells you that God is love; that God has loved the world; that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). It unfolds the worth and personal glory of the Lord Jesus, His moral beauty, His untold perfections, His holy life, His atoning death. It manifests Him as the Friend of sinners—such a Friend that He died even for His enemies. What a Saviour! When men cast Him out of this world and sent Him back to His Father, He seized the moment, when dying on the cross, to bear sins—to atone for them, yea, He died for those who cast Him out. He effected atonement; His blood was shed to blot out the sins of sinners; He wrought redemption by the sacrifice of Himself; He lay in the grave, and then, as the mighty Victor, He rose from the dead, triumphant over Satan, sin, and death. And now, ascended on high, and crowned with glory, He dispenses forgiveness of sins to all who believe in Him.
All you have to do, my reader, is to believe in Him. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Again, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Again, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (John 5:24). Again, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” but do not forget the last clause of the verse, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). This is the gospel—the old-fashioned, Christ-glorifying, sinner-saving gospel. You had better make Christ your own, and then go on your way, and tell others what a Saviour you have in Jesus. This is the line I rejoice to travel in. Will not you do similarly?
The Gospel Messenger 1903, p. 29