Dr Gifford once went to see a woman in prison who had been a very gross offender. She was such a hardened reprobate, that the doctor began by discoursing with her about the judgments of God, and the punishments of hell, but she only laughed him to scorn, and called him opprobrious names. The doctor burst into tears, and said, ‘And yet, poor soul, there is mercy for you, even for such as you are, though you have laughed in the face of him who would do you good. Christ is able to forgive you, bad though you are; and I hope that he will yet take you to dwell with him at his right hand.’ In a moment the woman stopped her laughing, sat down quietly, burst into tears, and said, ‘Don’t talk to me in that way: I have always been told that I should be damned, and I made up my mind to be; I knew there was no chance, and so I have gone on from one sin to another: but if there is a hope of mercy for me, that is another thing: if there is a possibility of my being forgiven, that is another thing.’ The doctor at once opened his Bible, and began to read to her these words, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ The greatest brokenness of heart followed. In subsequent visits the doctor was gratified to find that she was brought to Christ; and though she had to undergo a sentence of transportation for many years at that time, yet in after days the godly man saw her walking honestly and uprightly as a believer in Jesus Christ. Sinner, I wish that thought would bring you to Christ!
For meditation: Those who win souls are wise (Proverbs 11:30) and must speak wisely to win souls. A soft answer is more likely to have the desired effect than harsh words (Proverbs 15:1). Jesus said ‘Come unto me … and I will give you rest …; I am meek and lowly in heart’ (Matthew 11:28–29). He died to enable sinners to come to God through him. Can you still harden your heart against him?