"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN"
~100 WELL - KNOWN
MEN IN ALL
RANKS OF LIFE
A Popular Scottish Evangelist
JOHN McNEILL, the Favourite Scottish Evangelist,
makes a clear statement of his experience.
"I never was bothered with self-righteousness. God
always made me honest enough to know the blackness of
my heart, and that if my sin had not hatched out, the
eggs were all there. Fortunately, I was a teetotaller.
Teetotalism is not salvation, but it often holds till Christ
comes. It kept me from setting myself on fire in certain
directions till grace came. I was big enough to do what
we call in Scotland "join the Church," but I knew I had
not the great qualification for joining the Church.
"I knew my Bible well, and the Shorter Catechism.
Justification by faith, effectual calling, the work of
Christ, and so forth, I knew all the questions by heart,
and the proof texts; but I was as blind as a bat to them
all--I had no light and no peace. I wanted to get into the
light, but I never could have stayed to an after-meeting,
so I can sympathise with the people who, when a second
meeting is mentioned, just bolt as if the police were after
them. I was then staying all through the week in the old
town of Greenock. Every Saturday night I walked to
our quiet village to spend the Sabbath at home.
"I never could have spoken about my soul to the minis-
ter. But the minister's son and I were great chums.
Although I was only a quarryman's son, my father be-
longed to the spiritual aristocracy, and it was no degrada-
tion for the minister's son and the quarryman's son to
hunt in couples. We need to talk together about a lot
of things, and among others how we could become true
Christians. We agreed we would try to find it out, and
I wrote one evening to my minister. I said something
like this: I cannot say I am greatly anxious, but I feel
that I ought to decide. If I do not decide for Christ, the
world won't allow me to be half-hearted. Here is a text
which says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved" (Acts 16. 31). I believe in Jesus Christ.
I am no atheist or blasphemer. I believe all about Him,
but I do not feel one bit the better for it.
"Two or three days passed when the postman came around
and gave me a letter from my minister, which read thus:
How pleased I am to get such a frank, open, honest
letter from you about your spiritual condition, even
although evidently you are all in the dark. I am glad
you have taken Acts 16. 31 as a challenge text. It
is a good one, and I join controversy with you there.
You say you believe all about Jesus Christ, but you do
not feel a bit the better. Now I want to know what I am
to believe about you. Am I to believe you in saying,
"I don't feel a bit the better," or am I to believe God
uttering His verdict on you in the Word that can never lie,
that the man who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved?
"I was checking all God's Word by my feelings, and
reducing all God's Word, no matter what it said, to the
level of my feelings, and I did not see that was no faith
at all. And the minister clenched it when he said: You
quote the text, Acts 16. 31, as if it read, "Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and you will feel better," instead of
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved[.]" God says it. Never mind your feelings.
"It was like the lifting of a curtain for me, and I saw
the whole spiritual regions stand in an outline bold and
clear. No great feeling even then. It was a case of be-
lieving Jesus, no matter what I felt, or didn't feel, I saw I
was saved, but I didn't shout. Presbyterians don't shout.
I took a walk in the station, along to the far end of the
platform. I remember that morning saying to myself,
Has the station been whitewashed? The very dingy
brick wall, all covered with smoke and soot from the
engines, looked whiter. It was not the walls, it was my
mind that was brightened. Because now, in the Scrip-
tural sense, I knew the Lord as mine. I came back and
sold the tickets, and didn't say anything. And the next
morning when I awoke up my heart was just like a fire
you had left to burn out overnight, and I was as cold as
could be. The Devil said, It's all a hoax. But I got
grace to fight that battle. The minister said I was not
to consult my feelings, and I rallied myself. Has God's
Word altered through the night? No! Has Acts 16.
31 altered? No! Has the value of the Blood of Jesus
to blot out my sins altered? No! Then nothing has
altered that I am resting on, nothing but my feelings.
And you don't need to rest on your feelings. You are
saved by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ."
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