“I came home one night very late,” says the Rev. Matthew Hale Smith, in his Marvels of Prayer, “and had gone to bed to seek needed rest. The friend with whom I boarded awoke me out of my first refreshing sleep, and informed me that a little girl wanted to see me. I turned over in bed, and said: “‘I am very tired, tell her to come in the morning, and I will see her.’
“My friend soon returned and said: “‘I think you had better get up. The girl is a poor little suffering thing. She is thinly clad, is without bonnet or shoes She has seated herself on the door-step, and says she must see you, and will wait till you get up.’ I dressed myself, and opening the outside door I saw one of the most forlorn looking little girls I ever beheld. Want, sorrow, suffering, neglect, seemed to struggle for the mastery. She looked up to my face, and said:
“‘Are you the man that preached last night, and said that Christ could save to the uttermost?’
“‘Well, I was there, and I want you to come right, down to my house, and try to save my poor father.’
“’What’s the matter with your father?’
“‘He’s a very good father when he don’t drink. He’s out of work, and he drinks awfully. He’s almost killed my poor mother; but if Jesus can save to the uttermost, He can save him. And I want you to come right to our house now.’
“I took my hat and followed my little guide, who trotted on before, halting as she turned the corners to see that I was coming. Oh, what a miserable den her home was! A low, dark, underground room, the floor all slush and mud—not a chair, table, or bed to be seen. . A bitter cold night, and not a spark of fire on the hob, and the room not only cold, but dark. In the corner, on a little dirty straw, lay a woman. Her head was bound up, and she was moaning as if in agony.
As we darkened the doorway a feeble voice said: ‘O my child! My child! Why have you brought a stranger into this horrible place?’ Her story was a sad one, but soon told. Her husband, out of work, maddened with drink, and made desperate, had stabbed her because she did not provide him with a supper, that was not in the house. He was then upstairs, and she was expecting every moment that he would come down and complete the bloody work he had begun. While the conversation was going on the fiend made his appearance. A fiend he looked. He brandished the knife, still wet with the blood of his wife.
“The missionary, like the man among the tombs, had himself belonged to the desperate classes. He was converted at the mouth of a coal-pit. He knew the disease and the remedy—knew how to handle a man on the borders of delirium tremens.
“Subdued by the tender tones, the madman calmed down, and took a seat on a box. But the talk was interrupted by the little girl, who approached the missionary, and said:
“‘Don’t talk to father; it won’t do any good. If talking would have saved him, he would have been saved long ago. Mother has talked to him so much and so good. You must ask Jesus, who saves to the uttermost, to save my poor father.’
“Rebuked by the faith of the little girl, the missionary and the miserable sinner knelt down together. He prayed as he never had prayed before; he entreated and interceded, in tones so tender and fervent, that it melted the desperate man, who cried for mercy. And mercy came. He bowed in penitence before the Lord, and lay down that night on his pallet of straw a pardoned soul.
“Relief came to that dwelling. The wife was lifted from her dirty couch, and her home was made comfortable. On Sunday, the reformed man took the hand of his little girl and entered the infant class, to learn something about the Savior ‘who saves to the uttermost.’
He entered upon a new life. His reform was thorough. He found good employment, for when sober he was an excellent workman; and next to his Savior, he blesses God for the faith of his little girl, who believed in a Savior able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.”
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893