A postman’s conversion

The Desire for Drink taken away



Above a bend on the River Tees stands a crescent-shaped village called Middleton-One-Row, whose irregular houses look across a village green and then over the river running seawards, often brown and flooded, dividing Durham from Yorkshire.

The Writer had for some time charge of the church under the old trees, and during his temporary ministry he used to hold open-air Gospel services on the Green above the river. There stood among the circle of people around him the local postman, who was also the village tailor. He had a flowing beard and a happy face, and he gladly testified to the mighty power of the Lord to save sinners and to remove the taste for strong drink. He had been an intemperate man, and was in danger of losing his post. This is the story of his remarkable conversion.

He was sitting in the village inn one Saturday afternoon, watching some young men who were out for a day’s enjoyment, and who were drinking in the inn also. Then a voice within spoke to him plainly and said, “You are the oldest man here. What sort of an example are you setting?” He made up his mind never to drink again, and went out.


He looked for a piece of blue ribbon among the odds and ends in his tailor’s workshop, but could not find any. Then a thing happened which seemed to him like a miracle. He was going along the village, and in front of a shop came across a bright new piece, about three inches long. He cut this up into three pieces, and sewed them on to his coats and on to his tunic. He was, of course, chaffed as he went on his rounds, for he had been gather given to unsteadiness.

“Are you obliged to wear that, John?” “Is it a good conduct badge?” etc.

Once or twice he had a terrible craving, and said, “I felt as if I could have eaten jug and all.” Satan suggested that he should cover up the ribbon with his over-coat, and go in and have a drink when in a neighbouring town.

A Missionary Evangelist saw him and talked with him, and he went to his meetings. But he was not really happy until, on his rounds before church one Sunday, he was coming up through a wood by the river, and was longing for a sense of forgiveness, when an inward voice said, “Be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee.” He stopped near two beech trees, and to him it appeared that all the leaves of those trees instantly fluttered and twirled, though there was no breeze. He told a Christian farmer, who was waiting for his letters, and who noticed the change in his face that morning, what had happened to him. He said, “My man, you’ve got the Holy Ghost!”

He finished his round and then joined the worshippers in church. In church that morning John consciously experienced the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon him as they were singing, and he could not stand. He sat down and looked round the church with amazement, and said to himself, “Has He come to others this morning like this too?” But he could not see any sign upon the faces of the congregation that this was so, though he longed for it for them also.

From that moment all desire for the drink absolutely left him.

The change in John the postman was soon noticed, and it became a great help to others. They all spoke kindly of him, for he was full of love to all.

It became his one desire to be used to help others, and he was humble, loving, and natural about it. When holding open-air meetings in the village, the Writer was always glad of his presence, and he called upon him to speak. His words were affectionate, full of love and of earnest warning. As he went about delivering letters he had many opportunities of witnessing for his Master, and though sometimes treated unkindly, he was often a help to those who wished to be stronger in faith. Years went by, and he was beloved by all. They said, “You see, we know what he was, and we see the difference.” Sometimes, too, it was said, “You have something which I have not got, and I want to have it too.” Then, in a kind, fatherly way, he told them of God’s goodness and mercy in Christ Jesus.


At last my aged postman-friend became very weak, and unable any more to go on his rounds. He spoke most lovingly of God’s goodness in bringing him to Himself, and said that if it was His will, he was quite ready to go home. Then he fell asleep, his changed life having been a witness to the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Lord. And now the readers of “Confidence” can look on that reverend face, once marred with strong drink, then made saintly by the blessed Holy Ghost.

A.A. B.


From: Confidence, Vol. VII, No. 2, February 1914, pag. 33,34, Sunderland, England