THE CLEANSING POWER OF
Charles G. Finney told this story. He was holding a revival in Detroit. One night as he started to walk into church a man came up to him and asked "Are you Mr. Finney?"
"I wonder if you would do me a favor? When you get through tonight, will you come home with me and talk to me about my soul?"
"Gladly. You wait for me." Finney walked inside, and some of the men stopped him.
"What did the man want, Brother Finney?"
"He wanted me to go home with him."
"Don't do it."
"I am sorry, but I promised, and I shall go with him."
When the service was over, Finney and the man walked three blocks, turned into a side street, went down an alley, and stopped in front of a door. The man unlocked it and said, "Come in." Mr. Finney walked into the room. The man locked the door, reached into his pocket, pulled out a revolver, and held it in his hand. "I don't intend to do you any harm," he said. "I just want to ask you a few questions. Did you mean what you said in your sermon last night?"
"What did I say? I have forgotten."
"You said, 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.' "
Finney said, "Yes, God says so."
The man said, "Brother Finney, you see this revolver? It is mine. It has killed four people. Two of them were killed by me, two of them by my bartender in a brawl in my saloon. Is there hope for a man like me?"
Finney said, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin."
The man said, "Brother Finney, another question. In the back of this partition is a saloon. I own it, everything in it. We sell every kind of liquor to anybody who comes along. Many, many times I have taken the last penny out of a man's pocket, letting his wife and children go hungry. Many times women have brought their babies here and pled with me not to sell any more booze to their husbands, but I have driven them out and kept right on with the whiskey selling. Is there hope for a man like me?"
Finney said, "God says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."'
"Another question, Brother Finney. In back of this other partition is a gambling joint, and it is as crooked as sin and Satan. There isn't a decent wheel in the whole place. It is all loaded and crooked. A man leaves the saloon with some money left in his pocket, and we take his money away from him in there. Men have gone out of that gambling place to commit suicide when their money, and perhaps entrusted funds, were all gone. Is there any hope for a man like me?"
Finney said, "God says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' "
"One more question, and I will let you go. When you walk out of this alley, if you turn to the right, you'll see a brown stone house. It is my home. I own it. My wife is there, and my elevenyear-old child, Margaret. Thirteen years ago I went to New York on business. I met a beautiful girl. I lied to her. I told her I was a stockbroker, and she married me. I brought her here, and when she found out my business, it broke her heart. I have made life a hell on earth for her. I have come home drunk, beaten her, abused her, locked her out, made her life more miserable than that of any brute beast. About a month ago I went home
one night drunk, mean, miserable. My wife got in the way somehow, and I started beating her. My daughter threw herself between us. I slapped that girl across the face and knocked her against a red-hot stove. Her arm is burned from shoulder to wrist. It will never look like anything decent. Brother Finney, is there hope for a man like me?"
Finney got hold of the man's shoulders, shook him, and said: "Oh, son, what a black story you have to tell! But God says, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' "
The man said, "Thank you, thank you very much. Pray for me. I am coming to church tomorrow night."
Finney went about his business. The next morning, about seven o'clock, the saloon man started across the street out of his office. His necktie was awry. His face was dusty and sweaty and tear-stained. He was shaking and rocking as though he were drunk. But, let us go back and take a look at his saloon. He had taken the swivel chair and smashed the mirror, the fireplace, the desk, and the other chairs. He had smashed the partition on each side. Every bottle and barrel and bar mirror in the saloon was shattered and broken up. The sawdust was swimming ankle deep in a terrible mixture of beer, gin, whiskey, and wine. In the gambling establishment the tables were smashed; the dice and cards in the fireplace, smouldering.
The man staggered across the street, walked up the stairs of his home, and sat down heavily in the chair in his room. His wife called to her little girl, "Maggie, run upstairs and tell Daddy breakfast is ready." The girl walked slowly up the stairs. Half afraid, she stood in the door and said, "Daddy, Mamma said to come down; breakfast is ready."
"Maggie, darling, Daddy doesn't want any breakfast."
The little girl didn't walk; she just flew down the stairs. "Mamma, Daddy said, 'Maggie, darling,' and he didn't -. "
"Maggie, you didn't understand. You go back upstairs and tell Daddy to come down." Maggie went back upstairs with her mother following her. The man looked up as he heard the child's step, spread his knees out, and said, "Maggie, come here."
Shy, frightened, trembling, the little girl walked up to him. He lifted her, put her on his knee, pressed his face against her breast, and wept. His wife, standing in the door, didn't understand what had happened. After a while he noticed her and said, "Wife, come here."
He put her on his other knee, and threw his big man's arms around the two whom he loved, whom he had so fearfully abused. He lowered his face between them and sobbed until the room almost shook with the impact of his emotion.
After some minutes he controlled himself, looked up into the faces of his wife and girl, and said, "Wife, daughter, you needn't be afraid of me anymore. God has brought you home a new man, a new daddy, today.,,
That same night the man, his wife, and their child walked down the aisle of the church, gave their hearts to Christ, and joined the church.
Will you surrender to Christ now? Read John 3 ten times, then Romans 10:9, 10. Kneel and ask God to save you. Then read John 5:24.
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