"Come! Come! Come!"
A man in one of our meetings had been brought there against his will; he had come through some personal influence brought to bear upon him. When he got to the meeting, they were singing the chorus of a hymn:
Come! oh, come to Me!
He said afterward he thought he never saw so many fools together in his life before. The idea of a number of men standing there singing, "Come! come! come!"
When he started home he could not get this little word out of his head; it kept coming back all the time. He went into a saloon, and ordered some whisky, thinking to drown it. But he could not; it still kept coming back. He went into another saloon, and drank some more whiskey; but the words kept ringing in his ears: "Come! come! come!" He said to himself, "What a fool I am for allowing myself to be troubled in this way!" He went to a third saloon, had another glass, and finally got home.
He went off to bed, but could not sleep; it seemed as if the very pillow kept whispering the word, "Come! Come!" He began to be angry with himself: "What a fool I was for ever going to that meeting at all!" When he got up he took the little hymn book, found the hymn, and read it over.
"What nonsense!" he said to himself; "the idea of a rational man being disturbed by that hymn."
He set fire to the hymn book, but he could not burn up the little word "Come!"
He declared he would never go to another of the meetings; but the next night he came again. When he got there, strange to say, they were singing the same hymn.
"There is that miserable old hymn again," he said; "what a fool I am for coming!" When the Spirit of God lays hold of a man, he does a good many things he did not intend to do.
To make a long story short, that man rose in a meeting of young converts, and told the story that I have now told you. Pulling out the little hymn-book—for he had bought another copy—and opening it at this hymn, he said:
"I think this hymn is the sweetest and the best in the English language. God blessed it to the saving of my soul. And yet this was the very hymn that I despised."