He was conscious, with a humility that was once a stranger to him, that his outline of Jesus’ probable action was painfully lacking in depth and power, but he was seeking carefully for concrete shapes into which he might cast his thought of Jesus’ conduct. Nearly every point he had put down, meant, for him, a complete overturning of the custom and habit of years in the ministry. In spite of that, he still searched deeper for sources of the Christ-like spirit. He did not attempt to write any more, but sat at his desk absorbed in his effort to catch more and more the spirit of Jesus in his own life. He had forgotten the particular subject for his prayer meeting with which he had begun his morning study.
He was so absorbed over his thought that he did not hear the bell ring; he was roused by the servant who announced a caller. He had sent up his name, Mr. Gray.
Maxwell stepped to the head of the stairs and asked Gray to come up. So Gray came up and stated the reason for his call.
“I want your help, Mr. Maxwell. Of course you have heard what a wonderful meeting we had Monday night and last night. Miss Winslow has done more with her voice than I could do, and the tent won’t hold the people.”
“I’ve heard of that. It is the first time the people there have heard her. It is no wonder they are attracted.”
“It has been a wonderful revelation to us, and a most encouraging event in our work. But I came to ask if you could not come down tonight and preach. I am suffering from a severe cold. I do not dare trust my voice again. I know it is asking a good deal from such a busy man. But, if you can’t come, say so frankly, and I’ll try somewhere else.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s my regular prayer meeting night,” began Henry Maxwell. Then he flushed and added, “I shall be able to arrange it in some way so as to come down. You can count on me.”
Gray thanked him earnestly and rose to go.
“Won’t you stay a minute, Gray, and let us have a prayer together?”
“Yes,” said Gray simply.
So the two men kneeled together in the study. Henry Maxwell prayed like a child. Gray was touched to tears as he knelt there. There was something almost pitiful in the way this man who had lived his ministerial life in such a narrow limit of exercise now begged for wisdom and strength to speak a message to the people in the Rectangle.
Gray rose and held out his hand. “God bless you, Mr. Maxwell. I’m sure the Spirit will give you power tonight.”
Henry Maxwell made no answer. He did not even trust himself to say that he hoped so. But he thought of his promise and it brought him a certain peace that was refreshing to his heart and mind alike.
So that is how it came about that when the First Church audience came into the lecture room that evening it met with another surprise. There was an unusually large number present. The prayer meetings ever since that remarkable Sunday morning had been attended as never before in the history of the First Church. Mr. Maxwell came at once to the point.