I told the men that the Devil sent in one of his angels once in a while, the same as to-night, to disturb the meeting-place of God. I said, “You men would be a marker for God if you would only take a stand for God and cut out your sins. I never in my palmy days disturbed a meeting, drunk or sober. I always respected God’s house. If I didn’t like it I went out, and I think, fellows, that’s one of the reasons He picked me up when I was away down in sin and made me what I am to-night. He will do the same for any one here; why not give Him a chance?”
This was something new for the men. Here was a man that they knew, no stranger, but one of themselves eight years before. He had been in prison with them, drunk with them, stolen with them, and in fact had done everything that they did, and now here he was telling his old pals how they could be better men, how God would help them if they would only give Him a chance.
God was with me that night. It didn’t seem to be Ranney at all. I asked who wanted to get this religion, who wanted me to pray for them, and about seventy-five hands went up. A number of men came forward and took a stand for Jesus. It was early in the morning when the meeting closed. It was cold and snowing outside.
It is a hard matter to get these men to declare themselves, for they are afraid of the laugh, but I told them not to mind that; that my pals gave me the laugh when I started out. “If we are honest and have sand and help ourselves after asking God’s help,” I told them, “we will take no notice of a grin or a sneer. My companions wagged their heads when I started out in the new life in September, 1892. They said, ’Oh, we’ll give Danny a couple of weeks. He’s trying to work the missionary; he’ll be back again!’ Don’t you men see I’m still trusting? and there isn’t a man in the Mission right now that can say I’m not on the level, that I’ve drank whiskey or beer or done an unmanly act since I gave my life into His keeping. Why? Because I’m trusting, not in man or woman, but I’m honestly trusting in God.”
I was satisfied that among the whole roomful of men there were not half a dozen that had a bed to sleep on that night. I didn’t have the money to put them to bed, but I departed from the rules, and calling them to order, said, “Boys, how many of you would like to be my guest for the night?” You ought to have seen them look at me! Never such a thing had been known. It set them to thinking. The saloon-keeper wouldn’t do it; what did he care for them? I said, “Boys, I’m not doing this; I don’t want you to think so. It’s God through me.”
Many’s the night after that I kept the Mission open and let the poor fellows sleep there, on the chairs and on the floor, and they appreciated it. I was winning them through kindness. When I was ready to go home to my nice warm bed, I’d read them a little riot act telling them there were always a few among a lot of men that would spoil a good thing, ending up, “Be good, boys, and have a good sleep. Good-night,” and they would say so heartily, “Good-night, Danny! God bless you and keep you!”