I rose from my knees a changed man. I can’t explain it, but I felt as I hadn’t felt in years—lighter, happier, with a peace that was great in my heart. I thought of mother and only wished she could see me then, but she did all right.
“What will your friends say?” there was the old Devil saying. “Get out of this place, and don’t be a fool; be a man.”
I stood there listening to the tempter, when the young fellow said, “Dave, what are you going to do now that you have taken Jesus?”
I said, “I’ve knelt here and asked God for Christ’s sake to make me a sober man, and I fully believe that He will. Drink has brought me down, and I’ll die before I’ll take another drink.” And at this writing I’m over seventeen years off the stuff.
I asked the young fellow what his name was, and found that he was Alexander Irvine, lodging-house missionary to the Bowery under the New York City Mission of which Dr. Schauffler is the head. We shook hands, and before we parted we made a compact that we would be pals.
Isn’t it wonderful what God can do? I don’t believe there’s a man or woman, no matter how wicked, no matter what sin they’ve done, but God can and will save, the only conditions being: Come, believe, and trust. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16. But you have to have some sand of your own.
[Illustration: Reading-room in A lodging-house.]
ON THE UP GRADE
Mr. Irvine paid for my lodging and meals for a week at 105 Bowery. I thought he was great; I’d never run up against anything like him. He said, “We must get you a job of some kind, and that quick. Will you work?” Well, what do you think of that! Would I work? It struck me as funny. Work and I had fallen out long ago. I could lie down beside work and watch the other fellow do it. I had reached the point where, like a good many others, I felt the world owed me a living, and I was bound to get it. I had toiled hard and faithfully for the Devil, and taken a great many chances, and I never thought of that as work. And I got the wages the Devil always pays—cuts, shot, prison: I was paid good and plenty. Here I was up against another proposition—work—and I hated it!