A SERMON TO ONE HEARER
Dr. B-Â— once engaged to preach for a country minister in exchange, and when the Sabbath came it proved to be excessively stormy, cold, and uncomfortable. It was in mid-winter, and the snow was piled all along in the roads, so as to make the passage very difficult. Still the minister urged his horse through the drifts, put the animal into the shed, and went into the church; but no hearers had arrived. After looking about, the young man took his seat in the pulpit. Soon the door opened, and a single individual walked up the aisle, looked about, and took a seat. The hour came for commencing service, but there was only one hearer.
Whether to preach to such an audience was a question, and it was one that the minister was not long in deciding. He felt that he had a duty to perform, and he had no right to refuse to do it because only one man could reap the benefit of it; and accordingly he went through all the service, praying, singing, preaching, and the benediction, with only ONE hearer. When all was over, he hastened down from the desk to speak to his congregation, but he had departed.
A circumstance so rare was referred to occasionally; but twenty years afterwards it was “brought to the doctor’s mind quite strangely, and in the following manner:-
The doctor being on a journey alighted from the coach one day in a pleasant village, when a gentleman stepped up, and spoke to him, familiarly calling him by name.
“I do not remember you,” said the doctor.
“I suppose not,” said the stranger; “but we once spent two hours together in a house alone in a storm.”
“I do not recall it, sir,” added the old man; “pray when was it?
“Do you remember preaching twenty years ago, in such a place, to a single person?
“Yes, yes,” said the doctor, grasping his hand, “I do, indeed;
and if you are the man I have been wishing to see you ever since.”
“I am the man, sir; and that sermon was used of God to my salvation; I became a minister of the Gospel, and yonder is my church! The converts of that sermon, sir, are many.”
The above affords a striking illustration of the truth of the promise, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18. 20). What a blessing attended that gathering of two!