Titus Klose

A Wild Hunter Captured

Or

God's Great Mercy Related on a Particular Occasion in the Life of Titus Klose

 

 

"Well, how is that possible?" you may ask, reader. "How can a lion become a lamb?"

We must agree, it is strange and wonderful, but strange and wonderful things happen so frequently, what we wish to relate, is not impossible. At least it is not a fairy tale or mystery story, which the world is full of and is read to pass away the time speedily, but is a true happening.

You have probably read this story before but that does not matter; we hope that this old story may become new to you, and that the time spent in reading may not be regretted.

Regret! have you ever regretted spending time idly, reader? Do you know that you will have to give an account of every hour of your life, and what will your answer be as these hours become days, the days weeks, the weeks months, and the months years?

It was a long time ago. We were still young and lived without God in the world when a certain German poem made an unusual impression on us. The author sang the praises of an old man, and after he had named a number of prominent persons whose praises he would not mention, he again referred to the old man. And what do you suppose he had to say about him? It was all gathered in one line. "He lived, took a wife, and died."

Aimless, useless, and fruitless was his life passed away and then came eternity. There he will experience the end of a life trifled away.

Now then, observe for a few moments this roaring lion, who not only opposed man, but also fought against the High and Holy God. The time spent in reading this narrative will not be lost. May it be a blessing to all of us.

 

THE STORY OF TITUS KLOSE

 

On the 10th of June, 1833, the famous missionary, Titus Klose, died, of whom the following particulars regarding his conversion are written in his biography.

Although Klose was a child of pious elders, nevertheless he followed the path of sin in his youth. This was mostly the result of having been sent to a boarding school by his elders, where the fear of God was not taught.

As he became older, he was well learned in evil-doing and stood in the foremost ranks of Satan. In as much as he did not serve God, he could not bear that others did and was a pursuer of God's children.

His greatest pleasure was to disturb the gatherings of God's children and interfere with the public worship in the churches, so that his name became a byword in the community through his unrighteous and riotous living.

One day he and his comrades took a pleasure ride on the sea. It can be understood that there was plenty of drinking and card playing and at times it seemed as if the devil and his army was aboard.

While this evil gathering was busy laughing, singing, and cursing, a storm suddenly came up accompanied by terrible thunder and lightning, which broke above their heads, so that the frail craft was in danger of sinking any minute.

Many of the party who only a short time previous had blasphemed the name of God, were now as sailors aboard Jonah's ship, falling on their knees and praying for mercy.

In the midst of this terrible scene, stood Klose with a scornful grin on his face.

"Come, Jack," he called to one of the frightened men, "Shame on you, do you wish to become pious for fear of a few raindrops and a shot out of the heavenly cannon? Here, take a good heart stimulant out of this bottle and go with me to the cabin and play another hand of cards. I will play a game with you for heaven or hell!"

Terrible language, my readers, whereof the Psalmist says: "They set their mouth against the heavens." The listeners were astonished at this awful language during the raging storm, in which God's majesty was seen.

Whether he really was made ashamed by Klose or whether he was still drunk-he finally persuaded him, and they both sat down to card playing while the boat was in great danger of sinking any minute.

"I tell you, Jack," shouted Klose, while he dealt the cards and raised his voice to overcome the din of the storm, "I tell you, as true as I am a servant of the devil, and we come through this storm safely, the coming Sunday I will visit the preacher at Stamfoxe, where I will blow a storm, which will make this one seem like a breath. Come, play on, it is your chance!"

"By all the evil spirits, Titus," answered the other, laying the cards on the table and staring at him in surprise, "as sure as we are sailing straight into the jaws of death, you are now going too far. I thought myself to be quite a man, but you are as the devil himself. I will not play anymore, no matter what you say, it is now no time for card playing."

We shall no longer follow the conversation of these wicked men for fear our readers would witness a scene which every pious mind would despise with horror. The Lord in heaven also witnessed this gathering of unrighteous men, which took place amidst the wrestling of the elements and above the fathomless pit to try His patience. But it was resolved by His counsel to show this sinner that Heaven is stronger than Hell and that the patience of the God of grace can endure longer than the provoking of the most wicked sinner.

After several hours, the storm calmed and the evil party came to shore.

"Now, friends," shouted Klose, while they separated from each other, "the forthcoming Sunday morning we will all gather at my house on horseback and proceed to Stamfoxe. There we will chase the `pious storehouse, helter skelter."

About a half hour's distance from the village of Stamfoxe stands a simple home. The way leading thereto is ordinarily one of the most charming in the whole of England, but at the moment wherein we find ourselves, it is almost impassible, as a heavy rain is falling and the wind fills the dale with a dreadful noise.

In the house lives the preacher, Samuel Annear.

The poor man! It is Sunday morning and he must go to Stamfoxe to preach the Word of God. It is no wonder he is pacing the floor of his room with a depressed look on his face. Twice he left his home to go to church, but had to return because of the weather. It was no weather for a man to travel through and preach for a few hours in wet clothes.

"The man had a good reason to turn back, and his congregation would be unreasonable if they expected him through such weather," is probably the thought of our readers.

These, however, were not the thoughts of Annear. He had gone to the church in stormier weather and was therefore not alarmed. It was nothing unusual for him to preach for hours in unfavorable weather under an umbrella or from an open cart. Why he turned back could not be accounted for by the weather.

But why did he turn back? Let us go inside the house and listen to the conversation between the preacher and his wife.

"I pray you, for the Lord's sake, dear Samuel!" said his wife, "do not be discouraged, turn back, God will surely bless your work."

"But dear wife," answered the preacher with tears in his eyes, "you do not know what this is costing me. Let every one enter the pulpit, but not me. I should like to cry out with Job, `Cursed is the day in which I was born'-and especially the day in which I first entered the pulpit. I am more and more convinced that God has not called me to this work. I have taken it in my own hands, I am not fit, believe me, I am not fit."

"How is it possible that you say that, my dear Samuel! There may be some preachers who have more talents and outward appearance than you, but the Word which you preach is God's Word and your congregation delights in hearing you. You always have many listeners and the people come from afar to hear you."

"Curiosity!" cried the preacher; "have you ever heard of anyone becoming regenerated by my preaching? And where that does not happen it is obvious that the Lord withholds his blessing. Of what benefit is the approval and admiration of the people? They will not justify me before God. On the other hand, I never go into the pulpit without a feeling of oppression in my heart; as though an inward voice were saying: `How dare you undertake this holy work? Who has called you, thereto, sinner! who rather needs someone to preach to you?'"

"A sinner!" said his wife, "are we and all God's servants not poor sinners in ourselves? Jesus does not send angels to preach the precious gospel!"

"Yes, but such a great sinner I am. If Titus Klose, who is known in this vicinity as a blasphemer and great curser, would climb into the pulpit, I would sooner believe he was called thereto than I, as it is written, `Harlots and publicans will go before thee in the Kingdom of Heaven!' and he is surely known by all the people as a great sinner, while I am looked upon as a saint, but before God who knows our hearts, is he considered a saint compared with me, for I am sure such ungodliness as day by day arises inwardly in me probably never entered the mind of Klose."

"Oh!" cried out his wife, bursting into tears, "how can you have grounds for such abuses, for all our hearts are evil from our youth to the present and out of the heart, the Lord himself has said, come forth all kinds of sin and ungodliness, for which we may rightly tremble. I can quite well believe that your heart is not better than Klose's, but God has opened your eyes that you may see the corruption and at the same time you have come to know the beloved Lord Jesus as the only way of safety for a guilty sinner. Klose does not see this and therefore you are capable of preaching the way of life, but he is not. Come, dear Samuel, the congregation is awaiting you; ask the Lord for his supporting grace. He has promised it to those who are uncomforted and driven forth by storm that He will lay their stones gracefully and build their foundation with saphires. When you come into the pulpit the Lord will give you courage and gladness as He has done at other times, and

 

`He gives them courage and strength

Who hope in Him at length.'"

 

"The way of life," repeated the preacher, "yes, in case I was capable of proclaiming it to others, then I would see the fruits of my labors, but who has ever heard that through my preaching sinners have become converted?"

"What," said his wife, "have you so speedily forgotten the grace of God? Have not Anna Johnson, Philip Cowroom, Philip Bades and others testified that under your preaching they have been brought from darkness into light, of whom you can say they are the seal of your apostleship?"

"Oh, that is a long time ago and then I was in my youthful strength. But now the candlestick has been taken from me and I am nothing but a dry tree who has no more foliage or fruit."

"Now," said his wife, casting her eyes upward-for she had prayed in silence to the Lord-"this morning the Lord will again cause a shoot to spring forth from your dry root; for He is mighty to cause the unfruitful to be a father of a multitude of people. Go, Samuel; I pray thee, the Lord will be with you." With these words his wife gave him his cane and hat, kissed him heartily and with an inward sigh let him out of the door.

While the preacher, sighing and bowed down, traveled through rain and storm on his way to the church, let us return to the chamber of Titus Klose.

He has raised the shade of the window facing the street as high as it can go because of an approaching storm. The gathering clouds being dark and stormy caused a very somber look upon the face of the wild hunter; dissatisfied, he brushed his brow, while he watched the struggle of the elements outside.

"It's this weather," he grumbled to himself; "it seems as though it is determined to make my life miserable. Last Thursday I was cast to and fro on the sea and now when we wish to have a gay time the weather is such that no one dares to venture out. The boys will not come, there is no use looking." Nevertheless he drew towards the window to look over the countryside to see if by chance some of his friends were coming.

"No earthly being," he spoke, "not even a dog! May the devil catch them, for being afraid of a little wind and rain!"

Looking at his watch and shaking his head he paced his chamber while cursing each of his comrades. Finally he called his servant to saddle his horse.

"Master," said his servant, "in such weather?"

"My horse, I say!" answered Klose harshly, "I am going to Stamfoxe if I have to swim. If I can have no pleasure, those pious saints shall have none either. I have sworn that this papist shall know today that it is raining and storming. Go at once, quickly!"

When the horse was ready, Klose put on his raincoat, pulled his cap down over his ears, jumped in the saddle and rode off.

Shortly he reached Stamfoxe, stabled his horse and started for the church. To his amazement he saw the preacher was not yet in the pulpit, although the clock indicated the services were now a half hour late in starting.

The preacher appeared very soon and Klose decided to listen to a portion of the sermon before starting the uproar and commotion he had planned. He figured this could be done easily in as much as no one recognized him in his attire. When Klose saw the preacher ascend the pulpit, he received an impression as never before. The bent posture of this servant of God who showed a deep inward feeling of sorrow and grief, his pious countenance, which showed humility and meekness-his speaking eye which shone with inward love and deep desire for heavenly comfort-this all had an immediate effect on the wild hunter, not unlike the spring sun which melts the winter ice. Something in his heart kept saying, "You would have to be a real mean person and every bit of feeling be banished, if you could do any harm to this guiltless lamb!"

The preacher commenced the services by having the congregation sing a portion of Psalm 68:

"Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God."

One of the listeners standing beside Klose, having noticed he had no book, invited him to sing from his. Although not very grateful, he cast his eye in the book and although he did not sing he read the triumph song wherein the children of God rejoice over the workers of unrighteousness. Klose now recalled how he had heard his pious mother sing this same song many times in his youth and which brought forth many hidden thoughts which his folks had impressed upon him, but which were entirely forgotten through the maelstrom of sin, and he had carefully counteracted anything that might bring back these memories. When the time of love has come, nothing hinders the Lord's work; He then calls those who sit in darkness to His wonderful light.

During the singing of this song his soul was cut asunder by the invisible God. Deeply stirred he stood and involuntarily bowed his head in prayer to which the preacher had invited his listeners. Likewise Klose did not know what he heard. That calling of a deeply depressed soul for help and comfort to a God of salvation-not with dead sounding and well-learned terms as though systematically learned-but in a feeling tone that is characteristic of a poor, needy and supplicating soul-that pleading of one hopeless in himself, but expecting all grace and love from a merciful God, touched deeply into the conscience of the wild hunter.

And when the preacher read his text: "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it;”- when he in the light of spirit-for which he had asked the Lord-sketched the dreadful loss of a soul which perishes forever, and the unspeakable joy of a soul eternally saved-then the adversary became wholly unarmed and the lion changed to a lamb, who standing on the brink of perdition cried to the Lord.

Silent, with cast down eyes and amazed with himself, he walked from the church after the services and longingly he desired the evening at which time the preacher would again appear. The preacher's text at this service was: "See, I stand at the door and I knock."

These words completed what was still missing and impressed him deeply.

When the services were ended, Klose decided not to go home before he had related to the preacher the feeling of his heart.

Tired and wet from the rain, the preacher Annear arrived at his home. His wife awaited him with dry clothing and after being refreshed by the comforts she had prepared for him, she said, with an inward feeling of love: "Truly, did it not go better than you expected? I sought the Lord's countenance continually for you."

"Thou art a good wife," answered the preacher, "thou art a good faithful helper for me. I am foolish, but the Lord has given you wisdom. I have preached today with an exceptional liveliness for myself. When I ascended the pulpit, my spirit awoke to new strength during prayer. But… “The preacher sighed and a tear came to his eye.

"But," said his wife, "are you still dissatisfied? Is there still grief?"

"For myself," answered the preacher, "I have had a blessing, but was there one listening to whom it was a savour of life?"

Again his wife tried to convince him of his unfounded and baseless grief, when the maid came to inform that Titus Klose wished to speak to the preacher.

"Titus Klose!" they both exclaimed: "what brings him here?" And in such weather!" said his wife. "He must have a very urgent message."

"I do not trust the matter," said the preacher, "it is probably another trick he intends to play with his comrades. But, let him come in the house."

The unexpected and much feared guest appeared promptly. Dressed in his raincoat and bearskin hat he did not look very inviting. The preacher's wife invited him to have a seat, while she anxiously kept her eye on her husband for fear that Klose would do him harm.

"The reason I have come," began Klose, meanwhile removing his hat, "will probably startle you, most honorable preacher, but you can be no more startled and surprised than I, who would have thought it absolute nonsense, if someone assured me this morning that I would pay you a visit before this day was past. I do not believe that I have to introduce myself to you; my name being well known in this countryside. In spite of this, I am obliged that you should hear this from my own mouth. I am," and here he became filled with emotion and tears came to his eyes, in so much that he momentarily ceased speaking. "I am a great sinner, yes, the greatest of sinners. There, that is all I can say for myself. I have been that from my youth, but it was not until today it was revealed to me and I feel and am convicted thereof and I must confess it to others. My comrades and I had planned this morning-forgive me this wickedness -to go to your church, to hinder you in the work of the Lord; but God fought for you with storm and thunder, so that my comrades could not come and I went my way alone. And there, as I say it with amazement, there is where the Lord wanted me alone, so there would be nothing in the way to stir up the work of Satan.

"I heard you pray and preach and God used your word as a hammer to break my hard and stony heart. Beloved preacher, I am deeply grieved about myself. You pictured to me the deep abyss on the edge of which I stood and that my soul was on the verge of utter destruction. I also saw that I had plagued an almighty and righteous God who has blessed me since my youthful days. This distresses me very much. O, that I may be saved from the wrath to come! You mentioned a number of times in your sermon today that the Lord has no desire in my death; that He wishes to save me, a lost sinner; that Jesus came into the world to seek and to save all those that are lost. O, that is wonderful!-But-that is beyond my comprehension, I dare not believe it! That also distresses me. I need comfort and consolation and therefore I come to you. Have pity with a poor, lost sinner, and if you have a good word for me, do not withhold it."

A stream of tears smothered the last words of the deeply affected young man. But, he was not the only one weeping, for the preacher and his wife were also deeply moved and sat weeping, and it was a little while before they were convinced that it was really true and not a dream which had come to pass.

At last the mind and heart of the preacher's wife was unburdened in thanksgiving to God, Who leads the blind along paths they do not know.

The preacher soon found conversation with Klose wherein he wisely related the costly grains of eternal life which he needed at this time.

The conversation lasted until late at night, for although the preacher was tired, the Spirit of the Lord refreshed his strength. When the conversation was finally ended, Klose was invited to spend the night at the preacher's home.

After Klose had gone to his room, the preacher's wife took her husband by the hand and looked at him with eyes filled with gladness.

"I understand you," said the preacher; "the Lord has made me ashamed in such a way that I shall never forget it. But it is my desire to love Him, Who has had mercy on my weakness. It was my pride that desired a sign and He has given me a sign which will make the whole countryside astonished. Now that I have received it, I feel myself deeply humbled. I have now learned to believe, and what must I do but lower myself to the dust, that He may be glorified, to Whom all honor is due. Bless the Lord! O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!"

The following day Klose remained with the preacher and thereafter he visited him daily. Klose still had to overcome a great conflict with his former friends, who at first thought him a mad man, then a religious fanatic, and finally despised him completely. The Lord gave him sufficient strength to withstand this conflict.

His complete change in life also brought about a complete change in his business habits. The ways and paths which were formerly open to him, were now closed and undesirable. On the other hand, his desire for the things of the kingdom of God became so irresistibly strong that, like the apostle Paul, he felt he should go and preach to others the words of Eternal Life, in which he had found salvation.

His father in Christ, the pious Annear, was his accommodating helper in the fulfilment of this desire. Among the missionaries which were sent by England to work among the heathens, during the first ten years of the former century, Titus Klose, formerly the "wild hunter" of Stamforce Hill, was one of the most famous and in his labors one of the most blessed.

See there, my dear reader, the story related about a man who as the second Saul of Tarsus went about threatening and boasting, and by a wonder of Almighty grace was regenerated to a humble and meek disciple of the Lord Jesus.

From the above, it can be seen how freely God works. Who would have ever thought that Klose, that monster of unrighteousness, would ever preach the gospel? He did not want to be regenerated, he did not want to know anything about God or Heaven, but wished to serve Satan alone. "But I will," said the Lord of Hosts, "that Titus Klose shall serve Me. I will, that he shall be regenerated and that his will be reversed. And therefore I set him in the ways of my willing people."

Who can stand against the will of God? Klose could not. Can you, my dear reader?

There are so many people, who do not want to know about regeneration, yea, they would even hinder others from following the ways of God; hence, they do not desire to associate with the so-called narrow minded people who seek to be saved from the oncoming wrath.

But what is more honorable: to be honored by God, or by the people?

One matter should be our concern, and that is, to be regenerated. Not only to be converted from the tavern to the church or from the dance hall to the quiet family circle, for such a conversion is merely good for time and not for eternity.

Have you changed from a foe to a friend, from an enemy to a disciple of Jesus? Have you come to know yourself as an unworthy, miserable, and doomed creature before the high and holy God, and has it become an impossibility for you to be saved, so that you can only cry for mercy?

Well now, go to Jesus, for He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one cometh to the Father but through Him!

O! that it may please the Lord to pour out His Spirit, so that through free sovereign grace many more lions may be made lambs of the fold of Jesus Christ!

 

Van Zweden J., The Wonderful Providence of Almighty God Seen in the Lives of Young and Old, Series No 10. Stickney, South Dakota: Netherlands Reformed Congregations in America, 1978, pages 25-36

 

 

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