I had a most singular experience: once with the subject Amazing Grace. I hope I shall not be thought forward or lacking in modesty if I tell the story. I was riding in a train in the West, one day, — I think I was going through Kansas — when I was moved to write a short article on the subject: Amazing Grace. I cannot now recall what I said in that article. I sent it on to the New York Christian Advocate, and it was published. Some months afterwards I received a letter from a lady in Milan, Italy, telling of the way the Lord had blessed her through reading that article. The letter I kept, it reads as follows:
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“May a stranger thank you for your living, inspired article in The Christian Advocate.
“For years I have known much of that ‘amazing grace.’ It has enabled me to sing my way through many a tunnel. Over and over, by the dying beds of my dearest ones, and even by their graves, it has filled me with the very joy of heaven. Loneliness, loss of property, exile from my own country and the friends of a lifetime, the anxieties which come with motherhood, the temptations to worry about the future — in all these things it has been more than conqueror and my soul has winged its flight above the clouds and exulted in the light of His countenance. But for some weeks past, under strange and very trying conditions, I had gotten into the dark, and had begun to cherish thoughts and feelings which I knew could not be pleasing to God, and yet which seemed to entangle me in a web of finespun steel, in which I seemed to have little heart to struggle or even pray — a veritable snare of the enemy. Yesterday morning I was reading your article aloud to a member of my family, when I came to the verse from ‘ Gospel Power.’ I was immediately carried back to an old-fashioned campmeeting. I could see the flare of the oil lamps on hundreds of faces, the rough platform, the straw in and around the simple altar rail, and I stopped in my reading to recall the old tune, not heard in many, many years. It came back to me immediately — that music by no means classical or artistic, but with a lilt, a holy charm, a thrill of hope and victory in it, the vehicle — that homely tune — of God’s ‘Promise of Love Triumphant.’
“I sung it over and over, went about my work still singing it, for as I sang the grace of God again flowed into my life, restoring my soul. Today I am again proving yet, as often of old:
“‘With Thee conversing we forget
All time and toil and care.
Labour is rest and pain is sweet,
If Thou, my God, art there.’
“You will pardon this long personal letter, I am sure. It seems to me that no matter how useful and honored and busy a Christian man may be, a word of gratitude for help rendered cannot be unacceptable, for we so often sow in tears and never know here if someone has gathered food or sweetness where we toiled with weary feet. So I venture to thank you from my heart. The testimony itself is not confidential, but my name I would have you please consider as a confidence.
“The hymn Amazing Grace is a great favorite of mine and I have chosen it as the title of my book in which I aim to set forth some of the wonders of Grace and attempt to write upon some aspects of the deeper things of God.
“G. W. R.
The Table of Contents are as follows:
Chapter 1 — AMAZING GRACE
Chapter 2 — THE WONDERS OF CONVERTING GRACE
Chapter 3 — THE WONDERS OF FAITH AND PRAYER
Chapter 4 — SIN AND SALVATION
Chapter 5 — GOD’S SKIES ARE FULL OF PENTECOSTS
Chapter 6 — DOUBLE PORTION OF THE SPIRIT
Chapter 7 — DEEPER YET!
Chapter 8 — THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
Chapter 9 — SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
Chapter 10 — PREACHING THE GOSPEL
Chapter 11 — THE NEW THEOLOGY AND THE OLD TIME RELIGION
Chapter 12 — PERFECT LOVE
Chapter 13 — IF I LOSE MY FAITH