Long Island's “Mother Christy,”
who first pleaded with the author
to receive Christ as Saviour
Those who have decided that the age of miracles has long gone by will do well to read and ponder over this amazing record of sixty-five years of Mission history, in a great city and in the midst of its very worst section morally.
That the Gospel of Christ has lost nothing of its old-time virility but that it is still the dynamic of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth is here proven to a demonstration.
In a masterly way the gifted author has presented a panorama of regeneration—a moving picture of the redeeming value of the blood of Christ and the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, manifested in the salvaging of human wreckage and the new creation of utterly lost men and women,—transforming drunkards, gamblers and criminals of all types into devoted saints of God and hard-toiling servants of the Lord of glory, whose delight is to seek to bring others to know Him who has wrought so mightily on their own behalf.
If the Pacific Garden Mission had been the spiritual birthplace of only a few outstanding converts such as Harry Monroe, Billy Sunday, Melvin A. Trotter, Edward Cord, Bill Hadley and Walter McDonald, it would be worth all the money and labor expended through the two-thirds of a century of its existence. But here we read of scores of degraded sinners transformed into conscientious and upright children of God, through the miracle of the new birth which alone enables one to enter into and enjoy the blessedness of the Kingdom of God.
For more than thirty years it has been my own privilege to drop into the Mission occasionally, to be thrilled by the testimonies of its happy converts whose joy in their deliverance from the bondage of sin often beggars all description. It was in the old days, years ago, before the railways merged and took over all the express companies that I heard an old man with a shining face exclaim, “My friends, Wells Fargo and Company's Express couldn't have expressed my feelings the night God saved me and the load of guilt and sin was lifted from my heart.”
It was oddly put, but the reality of a great deliverance from a terrible thralldom was behind it all. And this has been true, and is true today, of hundreds, yes thousands, who have knelt at the old fashioned mourner's bench or penitent-form at the “altar” of the Pacific Garden Mission and there met the Eternal One who says, “Look unto me and be ye saved, for I am God and there is none else.” Revealed in Christ Jesus, whose name means literally “the Saviour,” He has manifested His deep personal interest in all who bow before Him in repentance and call upon Him in faith.
This book is the best answer to the specious sophistries and, as some think conclusive arguments, of infidelity and atheism I have ever seen. These men know there is a God for they called upon Him and He responded to their cry. Like the once-blind man of whom we read in John 9, they exclaim as with one voice, “Whereas once I was blind now I see.”
And they know that no power but that of God could ever have wrought so great a change.
It is safe to say that no perversion of the gospel such as that offered in modernistic pulpits today could ever effect such transformations as we read of here. In the Pacific Garden Mission there has been no place through all the years of its existence for any other than the old-fashioned preaching of the three R's— Ruin, Redemption and Regeneration. Its preachers and converts alike could ever sing
“I have no other argument,
I want no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died
And that He died for me.”
This gospel demonstrates its divine origin and its inspired character by what it does. Paul could say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth . . . for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16,17).
In the evangelical churches and missions everywhere the proof of this is evidenced, and this has been specially true in the record of these years of testimony for Christ of the Pacific Garden Mission, and the effectiveness of the many evangelists who were there brought to know Him whom to know is life eternal. Saved themselves, many of them have gone forth through the length and breadth of this and other lands carrying the same message to uncounted millions and leading vast numbers to the Saviour who met them in their hopelessness and wretchedness and revealed Himself to them as the Almighty Deliverer.
These men were themselves exemplifications of the Great Physician's power to heal sin-sick souls, to renew blighted lives, to bind up broken hearts and to lift from the lowest depths of despair to the highest heights of blessing. The story of this Mission and its converts is a new chapter in the Acts of the Holy Spirit proving that Jesus Christ is indeed the same yesterday, today, and forever.
No one who is even slightly familiar with the work and testimony of the Pacific Garden Mission will question the accuracy of the story here set forth. Rather, he will exclaim with Sheba's queen, “The half hath not been told.”
It would not be possible to inscribe in a book the greatest triumphs of this work, for they are of so sacred a character that human language could not portray or express them aright. They are among those spiritual things which are spiritually discerned. If all the details of those sixty-five years were to be put down on paper, so far as it is possible to describe them, it would take more than the Library of Congress to house the books that would have to be written. Only eternity will reveal all that the work of Col. and Mrs. Clarke and their successors has meant to poor sin-laden humanity for whom Christ died.
Nor were these poor derelicts the only ones benefited by contact with this great work.
Some of the ablest preachers and teachers of the Word were trained to a large extent in the Pacific Garden Mission. Perhaps there is no greater expounder of Scripture in America than Dr. William Evans, who is internationally known and whose messages have been blessed to thousands in this and many other lands. As a student of the Moody Bible Institute, young Evans led the singing and played a cornet at the Mission and later served for two years as an assistant to Harry Monroe. He counts the time spent in that work as part of the schooling that fitted him for his later worldwide ministry.
It has been my privilege to know many of those mentioned in this volume. I have seen the grace of God leading them on in Christ's triumph. I have recognized their lowly, self-sacrificing interest in others who are still where they once were. I have noted their dependence on God, and have been moved by their simplicity as they went to Him in prayer, believing He meant what He said when He bade them be not anxious about anything, hut in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make known their requests. And I know they were upheld by the Hand of Omnipotence which they grasped in faith as they knelt at the cross. Theirs has been a real salvation from real sin and wickedness.
But I must not attempt to hold anyone longer at the door. Open and enter in and see for yourself this great galaxy of those who have surrendered to the cross of Christ. And as you move on through these stirring chapters you will find yourself exclaiming with awe and reverence “What hath God wrought!”
H. A. Ironside, Litt.D.
Pacific Garden Mission is the meeting place of two worlds.
If it is true, in general, that half of the world does not know how the other half lives, this salvaging station has been an exception. For sixty-five years it has snatched prospective saints from the brink of hell.
There are evangelists, pastors, mission workers and Christian laymen by the thousands who trace their first impulse to surrender their lives to Christ to this mission. More than thirty thousand converts have found Jesus Christ in the shadow of this sanctuary. Today they are respectable members of society and the business world; the degradation and destitution of earlier years is but a memory.
The record of this mission, oldest in the northwest and second oldest in the nation, for reclaiming the humanly incorrigible, makes a factual epic more thrilling than any of the world's fancies.
Carl F. H. Henry