"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN"
~100 WELL - KNOWN
MEN IN ALL
RANKS OF LIFE
An Inniskilling Dragoon
CAPT. W. H. DAWSON, one of the best known Christ-
ians in the South of England, was born in London,
in 1850, entered Harrow in 1864, passed 19th out of 130
for a direct commission, and at the age of 19, entered the
Inniskilling Dragoons as a Cornet, in 1870. In 1873,
whilst at Newbridge Barracks the "great change took
place." His conversion is told so simply in his own words
that we quote it.
"One evening occupied with Orderly-room work and
preparing a Military Lecture till late I did not dine at
Mess, but had some light food in my quarters. I thought
a little lighter reading than the Military Works I was
studying would be a change with my meals, so I sent
for the Regimental Library Catalogue. No book attracted
my attention till the very end, and there I saw Vicars,
Medley, Memorials of, by Miss Marsh.   I had heard of
the book but knew nothing about it. I thought, Well,
it must be this book, there is nothing else.
"I found that Hedley Vicars was Adjutant of his
regiment and a keen soldier, so I hoped that I might
learn something from him, but I had no idea there was
anything in the book that was religious, or I should
not have sent for it! I had respect for those who were
earnest godly persons, but kept out of their way, and
thought that such things were all very well for old people,
but not for those still young!
"My life was just a careless, happy life, no thoughts
beyond the present and my profession. A lover of horses,
cricket, etc., and the pleasures of life in a Cavalry Regi-
ment, with the busy work of Adjutant. I began the book
and read right through. As Adjutant, and loving my
work, the book appealed to me at once, but I was much
surprised that Hedley Vicars found some wonderful
blessing which completely changed his life, gave him
true happiness, and enabled him to look forward to
Heaven with an assurance which, to me, seemed startling
and extraordinary. There seemed to me such a true ring
about the details that I was convinced it was a reality
and I was greatly interested.
"My thought was, here is something quite new to me,
something wonderful; let me look into it; it seems to be
supernatural, I must be very ignorant. What Hedley
Vicars found which gave him such complete satisfaction
and altered his whole life, might be also for me!
"To become a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to have a different object in life and a glorious eternity
before me, these were things I had never thought about.
Some passages I read over several times, especially the
verse which helped Hedley Vicars, the [B]lood of Jesus
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1. 7).
This was like Hebrew to me, nothing whatever in it.
I must have read that verse a hundred times. My thought
again was, if Hedley Vicars was a sinner, and needed
forgiveness of sins, then I must also be a sinner before
God, and I need forgiveness of my sins here and now. If
he received that forgiveness at once, perhaps I may! If
he accepted eternal life as a gift, and a present possession,
why should not I? I asked God to show me the meaning
of that verse, to change my life, to give me eternal life
and make me a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. I
prayed other words on my knees; my heart was stirred
and I longed to know what Hedley Vicars had learned.
I fell asleep after wondering what it all meant, a good
deal astonished and much perplexed. I remember thinking
perhaps it will all have passed away by the morning;
it seemed complete darkness."
In the morning he realised that he had taken the place
of a guilty snnner, accepted the Lord Jesus as his own
personal Saviour, and as he expressed it: "Some great
change, through the sovereign grace of God, had taken
place in me. God had heard my prayer; I went forth that
day a changed man; it was a new life, though I could not
understand, or account for it, or explain it. I do know
that my Bible was a new book to me that morning, and
verses stood out with a new meaning. I had been blind;
now I began to see. I seemed to have some new power
within me; it was an inward revolution, and gave a joy
which I had never known before. I had found a Friend
in Heaven to whom I could look up, and a new object
"At once I told my brother officers, and there was
considerable excitement! Some said it was a sort of fit,
others said it was just a dream, and would not last.
They soon saw there was a great change in my life; they
were quite puzzled and there was much discussion.
"I saw there must be a separation from the former
things, so the playing cards were burned, billiard cues
given away, wine and smoking given up.
"I could only say, it was marvellous to me that my
tastes were completely changed, and I no longer wanted
those things. I had got that which was so much better,
and there was no room for the former things. My desire
was that God would guide and control my life, and I
wanted to serve Him and help others into the same bless-
ing. I know it is not always so, and to some it is a
real difficulty as to the line of separation from certain
things. I can only humbly testify that as a young officer
of twenty-three, in the full enjoyment of all the usual
pleasures, the love of them was taken away, and I had
infinitely greater delight in spiritual things, in the things
of God than in all other things before, and the happiness
in the changed life contrasted with the happiness before,
was just as different as gold from copper."
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