“After giving a black catalogue of criminals, among whom were thieves, drunkards, &c, the apostle adds:
"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Calling upon a home missionary, a man remarked:
“Sir, I hope you will excuse me, but I have been leading a very bad life, and I want to give it up. I want to work for my living in future. I was put in jail for stealing. A Bible reader used to visit and talk to us.
While I was there, I thought over what he said, and determined that when I got out, I would try and get a living honestly.
While the missionary assured him of this aid, he also taught him that as long as he was Christless, he was helpless in his good resolutions.
The thief afterward attended upon the preaching of the Word, became deeply penitent, and soon realized the “peace of God which passeth all understanding.”
He wished to state publicly what grace had done for him, but it was thought best for him to wait awhile and was so advised. Being absent from public worship on the next Sunday, it was ascertained that he was dangerously ill.
The missionary found him lying on a miserable bed in a garret in great pain, expressed sympathy for him, and then alluded to the sufferings of Jesus. “Yes,” said he, “that’s the wonder when I think that he suffered for such as I – for such a wretch as I.
Being removed to a hospital to undergo an operation, he soon afterwards sank away. As the hymn –
“There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,”
was repeated to him, he was greatly moved by the second verse: --
“The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day,
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.”
“Yes,” he exclaimed, “I am that thief, -- it meant me, -- it was written for me, -- that’s just me,”"
This account can be found on pages 114-115 in the “Illustrated History of Hymns and their Authors” by Edward McKean Long, published in 1875.
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