I want to read to you a letter which I received some time ago. I read this to you because I am getting letters from infidels who say that not an infidel has repented during our meetings. Only about ten days ago I got a letter from an infidel, who accused me of being a liar. He said there had not been an infidel converted during our meetings.
My friends, go up to the young converts’ meeting any Monday night, and you will see there ten or twelve every night who have accepted Christ. Why, nearly every night we meet with a poor infidel who accepts Christ, But let me read this letter. We get many letters every day for prayer, and, my friends, you don’t know the stories that lie behind those letters. The letter I am about to read was not received here, but while we were in Philadelphia. When I received it I put it away, intending to use it at a future day:
DEAR SIR: Allow me the privilege of addressing you with a few words. The cause of writing is indeed a serious one. I am the son of an aristocratic family of Germany–was expensively educated, and at college at Leipsic was ruined by drinking, etc.; was expelled for gambling and dishonesty. My parents were greatly grieved at my conduct, and I did not dare return home, but sailed for America.
I went to St. Louis and remained there for want of money to get away. I finally obtained a situation as bookkeeper in a dry goods house; heard from home and the death of my parents. This made me more sinful than ever before. I heard one of your sermons, which made a deep impression on me. I was taken sick, and the words of your text came to me and troubled me. I have tried to find peace of God, but have not succeeded.
My friends, by reasoning with me that there was no God, endeavored to comfort me. The thought of my sinfulness and approaching the grave, my blasphemy, my bad example, caused me to mourn and weep. I think God is too just to forgive me my sins. My life is drawing to a close. I have not yet received God’s favor. Will you not remember me in your prayers, and beseech God to save my soul from eternal destruction? Excuse me for writing this, but it will be the last I shall write this side of the grave.