I remember and love a man who was my partner in the Tuesday night meetings in the Mariners’ Temple, when we fed the poor fellows during the winter—a fine Christian gentleman. You would never think to look at him he was once such a drunkard! He told me his story. He had spent months hanging out in the back room of a saloon on Park Row, only going out once in a while to beg a little food. He had sold everything he could sell and he was a case to look at. He must have been, or the proprietor would never have said, “Say, you are a disgrace to this place! Get out and don’t come in here again!” The poor fellow went out. He was down and out sure enough! He thought he would end it all, and he bent his steps toward the East River, intending to jump in, but was chased from the dock by the watchman.
He passed a Mission, heard the singing, and went in. He heard men that were once drunkards get up and testify to the power of God to save a man. He knew a few of the men and thought, “If God can save them He surely can me!” What a lot there is in testimony for the other fellow!
He went out that night and slept in a hallway. He waited until the Mission opened, and going in, heard the same thing again. When the invitation was given he went forward and was gloriously saved. He did not walk the street that night nor has he since. He went to work at his trade—he was a printer—and he and his dear wife, who had always prayed for her husband, were united and are now working together in the Master’s vineyard.
This was over three years ago. Today this man has a position at a salary of $5000 a year! Three years ago ordered out of a Park Row saloon as a disgrace! Doesn’t it pay to be a Christian and be on the level! I could go right on and tell of hundreds that have come up and are on top now. God never leaves nor forsakes us if we do our part.
The Bowery boys are queer propositions. You can’t push or drive them; they will resent it and give you back as good. But if, on the other hand, you use a little tact spiced with a little kindness, you will win out with the Bowery boy every time.
It was a kind word and a kind act that were the means of saving me, and I never tire of giving the same.
I remember a few years ago a fellow was arrested for holding up a man on Chatham Square. Now this fellow was an ex-convict and had a very bad record, but he came to our meeting one night to see the pictures of Christ, and was so touched by them that he came again and finally raised his hand for prayers, and when the invitation was given went up to the mercy seat and was saved. At the time he was arrested he had been a grand Christian for two years.
He used to pump the organ. On this Sunday night when he was arrested I had gone over to the Chinatown Mission with him. When he left to go to his lodging-house it was 10:30, and he was arrested right after leaving the meeting on the charge of robbing a man on the Bowery at 9:30 P.M.