BY Elizabeth Sisson

 

(New London, Connecticut, U.S.A.)

 

We read of Jesus in Isaiah ix., 6--“His name shall be called COUNSELLOR,” and so the subject of this brief sketch proved Him. For the encouragement of others--prisoners and those who by their sins have gotten themselves in tight corners--we give the little story:

A Christian worker in a jail which shall be nameless, says: As we commenced meeting one Sabbath morning, a terribly rough looking man slid in among others to the open court, where we were allowed to hold our service. As I glanced at his fierce, sullen face, I thought I would not like to meet that man in the dark. When near the close of the Gospel meeting those who desired an interest in our prayers were asked to lift their hand, this man’s hand went up. Later, I saw a lady worker had got him on his knees--shall I confess the unbelief that was in my heart? I doubted if anything could be done with him! But the worker was full of faith in God for him. Oh, how God shames our unbelief!

The next Sunday, after he got saved, while others were testifying, she asked him to speak. To my surprise and joy he gave a ringing testimony to how “God for Christ’s sake” had saved him, and this testimony he kept up from Sabbath to Sabbath.

After some weeks I found him one morning looking dull. “What is the matter, Maloney?” I asked.

“Och, my trial comes off this week. (He was in for burglary.) I have got to take my medicine--eight or ten years in state prison.”

“Well,” I said, “put your trust in Jesus. He will bring you out all right.”

Never was I more astonished than with his reply, to see how God had taught him the deep lesson of faith, so that he took God into all his affairs. He said, “Och, shure, I’ve done that. I had two lawyers for council; they were to prove an alibi. When I was converted I dismissed them and put my trust in the Almighty.”

He now had the best lawyer in the world--the heavenly Counsellor. When he appeared before the judge he was asked: “Where is your lawyer?” He said: “On the 7th of November last, in the county jail, the Lord Jesus Christ converted my soul, and I dismissed my lawyers and put my trust in the Almighty God.”

The judge looked to see what dodge this was. A consultation followed with the officers, after which the judge said: “It is not the question of whether you are converted or not, but whether you are guilty or not guilty.”

“Your honor, I committed the crime.”

Another consultation, and they gave him sixty days in the city prison instead of eight or ten years in the state penitentiary.

When he returned to the county jail, from thence to be transferred to the city prison, one of the lady workers was there with her fine Bagster’s Bible. She said: “Maloney, have you a Bible?” He replied: “I never had a Bible or read a Bible till I came to the county jail.” So she gave him hers, told him to read it and remember it was God speaking to him, and be sure and obey God’s Word, and whatever He told him to do, to do it.

When he arrived at the city prison he was taken into a room to be searched. The Bible fell out of his coat. It was a surprise to the officers to find him with a beautiful new Bagster’s Bible. They asked him how he came to get it, thinking he had been at his old tricks. He said: “Captain, the 7th of November last, God, for Christ’s sake, converted my soul. Before that I niver had a Bible or read a Bible. The lady that’s got her name to the back of the book said to me--she gave it to me this morning--she said to me, ‘take it, read it, and remember it was God speaking to me, and be sure to mind whativer God‘s Word said to me.’”

Then these officers also held a consultation and sent him out to sweep the side-walk in front of the city hall, no doubt having someone on the watch to see what he would do. He swept it well and returned with the broom. They immediately made a trusty of him, and he had the liberty of the prison. By this time he began to realise the value of making God his lawyer, and the significance of the promise, “His Name shall be called Counsellor.”

Oh, how true is that word of Holy Writ--“the grace of God that bringeth salvation.” No sooner had our poor burglar received by faith the grace of God in the forgiveness of his sins than God began to work salvation in his heart and life. His conduct changed. He was a “new man in Jesus Christ.”

He was released from prison on a bright Sabbath morning. As he walked away he spied a church steeple and thought to himself: “I was niver in a Protestant church. Wonder what it’s like.” Seeing people going in a side door he thought he would steal in and see. He soon found himself in a red hot testimony meeting. In his turn he gave a ringing testimony. His appearance was pretty rough and threadbare, and after he had taken his seat the leader of the meeting said: “Brother, when and where were you converted?” The converted burglar arose and said: “I cannot tell a lie. The 7th of November last, God, for Christ’s sake, converted my soul in the county jail, and this is my first day out.”

The leader of that meeting was an evangelist. He was so impressed by the ex-prisoner’s honesty and sincerity that he later asked him to assist him in a revival meeting. God richly blessed his efforts, and the evangelist said he never had a better helper in a meeting. Truly, wonderful are the ways of God with even the chief of sinners who put their trust in Him.

After four years the prison worker, who relates these incidents, was met by Maloney. While yet a long way down the street, Maloney, with his hands forming a trumpet to his mouth, was shouting, ”Hulloo! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” The worker shouted back: “What’s the matter?” He shouts in reply: “Haven’t I a right to praise the Lord? Glory to God! The man that gave me the bottle of whiskey that sent me to the county jail has got converted!”

Seven years have passed and the converted burglar is still joyfully walking with Jesus, winning souls for Christ.

This true story is written for you, dear reader, whoever you are, who have not found yet the Pearl of Great Price. You also are shut up in the great prison house of sin. Only Jesus can liberate you. You will need Him for your attorney when you come before the judgment bar of God. At the door of your heart He stands knocking. If you will let Him in, He will open the door to your prison and set you free. “Whom the Son makes free shall be free indeed.”

***

 

From: Confidence, Vol. X, No. 2, March-April 1917, pag. 25, 26, Sunderland, England

 

 

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