What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…
I had the privilege of opening a beautiful country church some years since in a neighbourhood surrounded almost entirely with infidels. The preacher directed my attention to a tall, vigorous man in the congregation, and said be would give me his history when the service was over. He was, it seems, a violent, passionate, close-fisted man. Not a farthing could anybody get out of him for the salvation of souls or for the elevation of humanity. "A few months ago," said the minister, "he gave his heart to Jesus. The infidels in the community said, 'Wait a little while; touch his pocket, and you will see where his religion is.' Presently," continued my friend, "I came to him with a subscription paper, and spoke of the difficulties and embarrassments under which we laboured in the neighbourhood, for want of a church. 'Well,' said the man, 'let us build a church.' 'What will you give us?' inquired the preacher. ' Fifty pounds,' was the prompt reply; and the minister passed through the community with the subscription paper, at the head of which was this amount, written in the gentleman's own handwriting, which surprised everybody. A few days afterwards the most trying circumstance of his life occurred, His dear wife trembled for him. 'Oh, my husband!' she exclaimed, 'don't go.' His reply way, 'I must go; my duty calls me there. I am perfectly cool and collected, I shall become excited, but I will not say a word, or do a thing out of the way.' He passed through the fiery ordeal without the least taint of anger upon him. The community then said, 'Surely there is something in this. You have reached his pocket, you have conquered his anger, and you have subtitled the man. There is power in the gospel of Christ.' "A few weeks after my visit there I received the sad intelligence that that gentleman had been buried. He had gone out into the forest, and, unfortunately, a tree fell on him and crushed him to the earth, and yet did not entirely destroy him. They carried him to the house, and sent for a physician and the minister. He calmly asked for the Bible, and read in a clear voice a chapter in St. John's Gospel. After shutting the Bible he closed his hands upon his breast; "and such a prayer," said my ministerial brother, "I never heard from mortal lip" for his wife, for his children, for his pastor, for the Church, and for his infidel friends. In a moment or two, after saying 'Amen,' he closed his eyes and sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. The infidels said, 'There is something in religion.' "A few weeks since I met with that good pastor again. I inquired about his infidel neighbours, and he replied, "All of them but one are happily converted to God."
Parallel VersesKJV: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?