Drunkard Radically set free by Jesus Christ
Pastor Willie Mullan
The Gospel by John, chapter 9 verse 1: “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?”.
I always think that that’s a wonderful question. You see the people were gazing upon a man who had been blind from birth, and now he could see, and they very naturally asked the question: ‘How were thine eyes opened?’. If that was a good question, it got a good answer – listen to the answer, verse 11: “He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus”. You see the answer to the whole thing was not a party – it wasn’t a party that had done this thing for this man – and it wasn’t a place, and it most certainly wasn’t a pilgrimage. This wonderful thing was done by a Person, a Man that is called Jesus! That’s who did it: just a Person – a wonderful Person, our wonderful Lord.
But he went further with the answer, he said: “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes”. You see, he didn’t only talk about the Person, but he talked about the work that the Person had done for him – that’s a good answer, isn’t it? When you begin to talk about the Person and the Person’s work for you, that’s good preaching. But he didn’t stop there even, he went further, he said: “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight”. You see, he began by talking about the Person, and then by talking about the Person’s work for him, and then by talking about the Person’s words to him. That’s what I came to talk about this evening, about the Person who has done so much for me, about the work that He accomplished at Calvary whereby I am free, and about His Word that makes me absolutely sure about what I’m talking about. May God bless to us the reading of His Word for His name’s sake.
Now, in giving what has been termed so often ‘My Life Story’, I want to make two things perfectly clear at the commencement of this meeting. First of all I want a word with all the young believers in this place this evening. You see there are folks who were just saved this week – praise the Lord! And there are folks in this building this evening who are only saved a few weeks, or maybe only a few months. I want to talk to all you young folks in Christ this evening first. I want to say to you, my young brother or sister, that if everything surrounding my coming to know the Saviour doesn’t just tally exactly with everything surrounding your coming to know the Saviour, don’t let me upset you. Let me teach you this: that there are many ways that lead to Christ – there are many ways that lead to Christ – but let’s get this clear, only Christ leads to God! Let me illustrate it for you, you know the story of Noah and the Ark, and you know there was one door into the Ark – one door and only one. You know that the animals all came by different ways to the door – the lion would leave the darkness of the jungle and it found a pathway, directed by God of course, to the door; and the eagle would leave its proud perch in the heavens, and it found a different pathway to the door. They all came by different ways, but only in through the door meant salvation. So, there are many ways that lead to Christ, but only Christ leads to God! So, young friend if you’ve got Christ you can shout ‘Hallelujah’, as Christ will take you all the way to heaven. He’s leading many sons to glory this evening.
Then the second thing that I want to make plain right at the commencement is this: the whole bent and objective of my heart just now is to glorify my Saviour – that’s the objective. I’m putting my cards on the table, just, that you’ll see. I shall work every faculty I have, and every ounce of strength, and every bit of ability that God has given me, to the one end: that I shall speak well of my Master. That’s what I came for.
I’m sure that I’ll shock some of you when I say that I’m the youngest one of a family of seventeen – there were only seventeen of us, that’s all! And I’m sure I’ll shock you more when I say that there were sixteen boys in our family and one girl – she had the time of her life looking after us! Of course when I make the statement that I’m the youngest one of a family of seventeen, you’re all old-fashioned enough to know that I could never at any time in my life have been a spoilt boy. You see, when there’s one wee laddie in the family, well grandmother will come round and spoil him, or granda will come round and spoil him – or if there’s one wee lass, well, she’ll be spoiled. But when they cuddled sixteen of them before you arrived, you’re sort of left in the lurch you know!
It’s a wonderful thing belonging to a family of seventeen – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen seventeen knives all dabbing at once at the one quarter-pound of butter, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that! There’s one thing, you know, when you get sixteen big fellows round a table: you never grumble about your dinner, because if you took time to grumble the dinner would be over! So you just lapped it up, you know, thank God for it.
My father was a Sergeant Major in the old Ulster Volunteers, and with many another gallant Ulsterman he laid his life down at the Battle of the Somme on the 1st of July 1916. That’s something that in Ulster we shall always remember, and we shall always be very proud of: our gallant Ulsterman who fought so well. Of course that left my mother with a great problem, didn’t it? 1916, and seventeen of a family and the war on – I needn’t tell you that she didn’t have to look round the corner for her troubles. The British government of course didn’t give her her war pension until the war was well over – 1920 or thereabouts before she got her pension – so that we had all the trouble of the day.
I’d like to say a word about my mother, just quickly. She was a little woman just about four feet six or thereabouts, but she was a godly woman – I’m very proud of this. You know, we were reared like this: that no matter where we were we must be in at ten o’clock at night. We’d all come in through the door as ten would chime, and then she would wait till the last one was in, and then she’d march up to the front and she would kneel on the tiles by the fire there, and we would all kneel together. She would pray for us, she would always pray for each one right down the line, she didn’t miss any. Then she would pray for me last, because I was youngest. I can always remember this bit – I can remember her wavering old voice saying: ‘Lord, bless Willie, some day save him and make him a man of God’. Many times, of course, I wondered why we had to come in when all the other boys played. Of course she would let the bigger ones out again, they’d go out after the prayer – but I had to go to bed, I was the wee fellow so I was put to bed.
Although I had a godly mother and was reared in that sort of atmosphere, unfortunately I became the black sheep of this family of ours. When I was 15 years of age – I can remember this only too well, and I know the very spot – I can remember two men who were much older than me took me into a pub for my first drink. I don’t know why the barman served it at all, but he did, and I can remember standing – just a lad of 15 – at the bar, and drinking this booze, and I can remember that I always wanted to go back again. Before I was sixteen years of age – yea, a good wee bit before it – I was a confirmed boozer. Every ha’penny I found and stole I went and boozed it – drank everything I could get. Many times I’d come home and fall in the door and my brothers, who didn’t do this sort of thing, they would fight with me and batter me – and my good old mother would try to defend me, although it was her heart that was breaking most.
When I was just 16 years of age and one month to be exact in the date, my old mother took a seizure one day when I was in the house. I gripped her and I laid her down on the couch, and I knew she had gone to heaven. I can remember her very last breathings as she looked up and talked to her Saviour, I can see her white face now as she praised Him, and she went in to be with Him – and for her it was far better. You know, I was a silly boy but I knew this much: that at that second as I laid her down there, that I’d lost one of the greatest friends I’d ever have. Nobody cared for me and nobody stood up for me like my mother you know. I knew she was gone, and I stood and looked at her form and I wept. I can remember this: I put my hand on her brow and I said: ‘Mother, I make this promise just now, that I will never be drunk again’ – and I was very sincere about that you know. I can remember my hand being upon her brow and saying: ‘Mummy, I’ll never be drunk again dear. I’ll never touch it again’ – and two hours later I was stupid drunk of course.
You see, many times I made up my mind and many times I thought I’d get rid of this cursed thing, but you know it defeated me! It had gripped me! It mastered me! I was a defeated man! Don’t go scolding these poor fellows! Don’t go ranting and raging, you’ve never stood in that man’s shoes! You never saw things through his eyes, so don’t be too quick about it. You can curse him and batter him, and scold him and scorn him, but that won’t help him you know. He’s gripped, mastered, defeated! If you start to pray for him you might get some place.
Here I was, boozed up again. Then we carried her remains away to the cemetery and laid her mortal remains to their last resting place. Then we came back home again and my elder brother, who was very well-to-do, looked round some of the other brothers and said: ‘Would some of you take this fellow home and look after him?’. ‘Will you do it?’, he said to one of them. He said: ‘No, I can’t do it. I’m rearing a small family and I’m not bringing that fellow home’. Then he said to another one: ‘What about you doing it? You’ve got a good home’. He said: ‘No, I’m not taking anything to do him’. Of course I could see this thing being shuffled around, you know – and mind, I’m not casting any reflection on them, I’ve got enough sense to know now that they were right then. To take a boy like me in among a small family just would never have done at all – they were quite correct in what they did.
But you know, at 16 I thought I was a big fellow and I just lifted my coat like that and put it over my arm, and I said: ‘Alright, you’re going to look at your families? Oh well, go ahead’, and I walked through the door. That was the last time I saw the inside of a house for the next three and a half years. I just became a tramp, that’s all. I can remember, you know, begging in these very streets – it comes back to me so vividly. I can always remember going up that My Lady’s Road and knocking at the doors, and I hadn’t shoes on my feet – I was in my bare feet, I was only 16 and a half – and asking for pennies. And when I got them I boozed them of course. I can remember that too well. You young fellows know this: that when you get out into the world, and you’ve no good old mother, and you haven’t any fears about God and no dread about hell, you know the devil just plunges you down into the very depths of the gutter! And that’s exactly where I was. Every day took me deeper, and deeper, and deeper! Three and a half years of real darkness and mud and muck and sin was my awful portion.
Then, when I had gone for three and half years, I came back to the town where I was reared. I can remember the day I walked in through the railway arch that was there then, and I was almost 20 years of age now. I’d got a beard on, just an old torn shirt, and a pair of uppers – no soles in the shoes, walking on the bare feet. I entered into the town and, well, boys that I went to school with didn’t know me of course. I don’t think they wanted to. You know, the horrible thing is this: that I look back to those dreadful days when I was going down and down and down and down, and there wasn’t a Christian in the land it seemed who would come and put his arm round a wee fellow and try to tell him about the Saviour! Sure I would have argued: but where were God’s men? My, some of us are so stiff and starchy! Oh, you can sing your hymns alright, and the ‘Hallelujahs’ – I know all about it! But the poor fellow that’s going to hell before your eyes, some of you never touch him! You’re like the man that passed him by on the other side. We’re not like the Saviour at times, you know He came and lifted him – nobody seemed to care.
I came into the town, and I was ashamed when I walked down the Main Street, so I turned into the first alley I came to. I couldn’t describe it to you tonight, it was a little alley with tumbledown shacks, and as I walked into the alley I saw an empty one here. I knew who owned these tumbledown shacks, so I just walked round and found the little lady who owned them – a little lady called Mrs Orr. I said: ‘Mrs Orr, I’m Willie Mullan and I want that empty house that’s up the alley’. She said: ‘What do you want it for?’. I said: ‘To live in’. She never debated anything, she just lifted the key and gave it to me. So I came up and turned into the alley, and turned the key in the door and walked in – just a tumbledown shack it was, a kitchen and a room, and an old upstairs that was falling down, and the rain came in, you could count the stars through the slates and all that sort of thing. I went down to the little shop at the corner and with about the last four pence I had I bought a gas mantle and came up and put it on, and that was all the furniture I had. So, if some of you young ones are thinking of starting up a house, you know, if you can get the gas mantle you can start – I can assure you about this!
But, you know friends, this is the saddest bit of my story because this tumbledown shack became the greatest den of iniquity in our land. There are policemen here tonight, an ex-Head Constable sitting over there, and if the police records were opened tonight it would be proved that this old house was the greatest den of iniquity that was in this land. I’m very sad that I was ever connected with it, but I was. It’s true that my name was on the rent book, if there was a rent book – but it’s equally true that about a dozen men came in there every day to gamble, and they gambled all day and they boozed all night. And when you gamble all day and booze all night, friend, you don’t work! And when you don’t work, you need money for this booze and you need money for this gambling, and they just got it – that’s all I’m saying – they just got it.
Some horrible scenes I’ve seen here. I’ve awoke in the morning with a man lying under the stairs, one in the hall, another in the kitchen, and so on – the whole place with drunk men – and that’s the environment that I found myself in. I’ve painted the picture far enough, I’ve painted the picture far enough – just keep that dear brother just at peace there. When I got to that stage of the journey, one evening we were sitting round the card table, and I heard a little noise at the door. Under the door came a little white square bill. I went and picked it up and read it. It was announcing a Gospel Mission at the Baptist Church in Newtownards, the late Dr Tocher from Templemore Hall was to be the preacher. I took all that in as I looked at the little bill, then I screwed it up and threw it down. I said to some of the other boys: ‘It doesn’t really matter, it’s only a Gospel Mission. It doesn’t concern us’, and that night we went through the usual routine of boozing and gambling.
In the early hours of the morning, very early in the morning, I found myself waking out of a drunken sleep and seeing all this crowd around me. I got out through the door into the alley, and as I went down the alley and just turned the corner I came face-to-face – almost bumped into – a young fellow going to work. He was going to work about half past four or a quarter to five in the morning. I knew who he was, he was a fellow who did a lot of preaching on the streets. We used to see him standing with his Bible up, preaching on his own. Of course, I thought he was a fool you know, and the moment that I bumped into him at the corner – and I was half drunk – I thought about the bill and I said to him: ‘I say you’re going to have a Mission at the Baptist Church, I see’. He said: ‘Yes, we’re going to have a Mission’. I said: ‘You know, I was thinking about coming along some night’ – I had no notion of going along, I was only wanting to talk nice to him. And you know, the moment that I said that I was thinking of going along I could see his eyes – they opened wide, he nearly fainted! But then, being an old Baptist you see, he soon got his breath back and he said to me: ‘Well, if you’re thinking of coming along some night I’ll come up for you and I’ll go down with you and I’ll sit with you’ – and then it was me that nearly fainted now! Didn’t like that sort of craic, you know!
But, you know, just the way the young fellow looked at me and said: ‘I’ll come up for you, and I’ll go down with you, and I’ll sit with you’ – it came like a challenge. And I said: ‘You know, I have no notion of going to the Gospel meeting, I don’t go to those things. But if you’re as keen as all that I’ll really go’. He said: ‘Will you?’. I said: ‘I will, I’ll go one night’ – and we made the date there and then, and I was determined to keep it, and I kept it. I can remember the night alright, they took me to the Baptist Church and I sat in the back seat, and I can remember this old man coming out to preach – and I remember saying this to myself: ‘I’ll listen very carefully to what this old fellow’s got to say’. I can remember where he read from, he read from the book of the Revelation; where we read that the kings of the earth, and the chief captains, and the great men, and the bondmen, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens; and called on the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come. That was the subject that evening, the old man was talking to them about the coming day of wrath for this world – and mind you, we’re nearer it tonight! We’re much nearer it – my, Kennedy edged Khrushchev the other week, but it’ll not always pay off! This world will shake yet from stem to stern, and this book will be correct: the kings of the earth…I wonder will our Queen be among them. Aye, and the chief captains; aye, and the mighty men; aye, and the bondmen – they’ll all cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them when the day of His wrath is come!
You know, I was over preaching at Queens University some time ago. And when I had preached to all the students, one of the professors came along and said to me: ‘Mr Mullan, will you write that thing out for me that you quoted’ – just the thing I quoted last night – he said, ‘Will you write it out for me?’. I said: ‘I will’, and I started there and then and I scribbled it out on a piece of paper, and as I handed it to him I said: ‘What do you teach in here?’. He said: ‘I’m an atomic scientist, I’m only over giving lectures, I work with Dr Penny the great scientist’. So I knew that I was near to a man now who knew a lot about something that I knew nothing of, and I thought I’d better ask him a few questions. I said: ‘Now, look I don’t know anything about this thing. I want to ask a simple question and if you can answer it do, if you’re not allowed to don’t bother. Tell me this Sir: is it possible to bring a plane over Belfast, and some man in the plane to lift a little bomb and throw it out, and 500,000 people are killed in a split second? Tell me, can that happen? You tell me’. And here’s his answer, I noted it very carefully, he looked at me and he said: ‘Mr Mullan, it’s ten thousand times beyond that!’. He said: ‘We can bring a plane over here and something can be launched out, and you won’t see this wee island of ours any more! They could put it off the map tonight!’ – put it off the map! And when the day of God’s wrath is come, and this world begins to shake, aye and the kings begin to cry – poor lost sinner you’ll be in a terrible state just then, when the day of His wrath is come! You’re living in the day of His grace, and you should praise the Lord for it.
So, I listened to the old man preaching, and I might as well tell you my conclusions: I thought he was the greatest fool I’d ever heard in my life – that was the conclusion. I want to talk to the preachers for a moment or two. You know, sometimes we preachers, we count heads and we count names and we count numbers, and you know if we examined it all just a short time afterwards, you’d find there’s not very much in it. We have seen this in Belfast a thousand times, and the old preacher – I’ve preached with him many times afterwards – he said to me when he was just dying, a day or two before he died he said to me: ‘Willie, when I look back at all my preaching, I preached at Newtownards at that time for three weeks and I never saw a soul saved – but you were the outcome of that meeting’, and he said, ‘Willie, I’m looking back, and that was the best mission I ever had!’. Don’t let’s get into the habit of counting numbers or names or signing cards – my, we need a work from God!
You know, friends, I went out of the meeting thinking the old fellow was a fool, but he had done something that night that I’ve always endeavoured to do since, and it was this: he very carefully – and, I’m sure, prayerfully – buried a part of the word of God in a poor sinner’s heart. I took it out with me you know, and that’s a Living Word – that’s not a book out of the library you know, that’s the living, impregnable, unchangeable, unalterable, eternal Word of the Living God! That’s God’s word.
You know friends, I needn’t say that I didn’t go back to the mission – I had no notion of going back, I didn’t go back near it. But about three weeks after the mission was over, the boys sat round the table and they said: ‘You know, there’s a certain place that we could go and we could lift quite a lot of money, but we need somebody to make the plans properly’. When they were looking for plans to be made, they always looked at me – I was the youngest one, it’s true, but unfortunately I was the brains. They sent me out this day, and I went out to search the land. I jumped into a field just to have a look around and see how we could get there, and when the police came see how we could get away. I’d just jumped into the field and was standing in the grass having a good look round the land, when something said to me: ‘What about this day of wrath?’. You know what was happening: it was this seed that this man planted in me, it was beginning to germinate. But you know, I’d got so hardened and so rebellious that I said to myself: ‘There’s no day of wrath, there’s maybe no God, and no heaven and no hell, and no anything!’. I was going to plunge on, and then the voice came again: ‘What if there should be a day of wrath? What if you should meet God just in the next step or two?’.
Tell me dear, have you ever thought about meeting God? You know, Mrs, you’ll meet God. Listen young fellow, you’ll meet God. Listen father, you’ll meet God. Every breathing soul in this building this evening, sooner or later, individually, we’re going out into eternity to meet God! Are you prepared to meet God? Horrible moment for some of you. And you know, this made me pull up – going to meet God? When I looked at the hills and into the valleys and round that just 20 miles of earth that I could see, I knew quite well that there were millions and millions and millions of miles of earth that I had never seen, and God had made the heavens and the earth. I knew there was a God to meet alright just then.
But you know, I got the silly idea that God had sort of way stepped out from behind the clouds and said: ‘I’m here and you’re going to meet Me’, that He might lift me and righteously damn me into deepest hell! That’s what I thought God had come to do. I can remember saying these actual words, I said: ‘Oh God, You’re there and I’m a rebel sinner, and You’re going to damn me in hell – well, it’s alright, I deserve it’. I thought that God had come to damn me. You know, like a flash came this word: ‘What are you trembling about? Sure, God loves you’. Oh, I just couldn’t get that. I stood there, I couldn’t get the hold of this – I thought God loved the people that went to church, God loved the people that said prayers, God loved the people that carried their Bibles – I couldn’t get this, that God loved a down-and-out, rebel, scarlet, reptile sinner just like me. I couldn’t get that – and then like a flash it came: ‘This is what these men preached at the corners – that God so loved the world!’. Oh, I was beginning to get it: did God love the whole world, but me? Oh no, oh no, you know friends, I was getting this clear: that God loved the world of sinners lost, and I was just one of them. Then it came like a flash: that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
You know, I was beginning to follow this right through: that God’s lovely Son had come down, and had gone to dark, rugged, bloodstained Calvary, and on the old rugged cross He had died for the ungodly! Oh, how it came into my soul that Christ had died for an ungodly sinner just like me! And He had so finished that atoning work that He rose from the dead and there was a living Saviour for me, and if I would personally, experientially trust Him I would never perish but have everlasting life! I could see the light of the Gospel. You know friends, just at that moment when the light of the Gospel came in like that I was almost saved – oh, but the devil doesn’t give you up like that you know! The devil said to me: ‘What about your pals? What about the booze? What about the gambling? How are you going to fix up everything that you’re in? What about your sin?’.
Oh, friends, I stood in between the two. You know I could take you to the very spot in the field where I stood, and on that side was my sin and my pals and my booze, and on this side was the cross and the Saviour who died and rose again. I knew that if I would only give my life to Him and trust Him, I would really get saved and start for heaven – but I was trembling. I can remember very well what I did, I took my cap off now, and I screwed it into a rope. I stood there, and then I knew I’d got to make this great decision, and I turned very definitely with that old screwed cap in my hand, and I said: ‘Lord Jesus, on this spot just now I will give You my whole life, and I will trust You now as my own and personal Saviour’ – and I was saved! I was saved.
You know there was no preacher there, and there was no card to sign, and there was nobody to tell me what had happened. I was all alone, but I had met the Saviour. I knew all about this you know. I crawled out through the hedge now onto the road, and there was a big fellow coming down the road, he was about 25 years of age. I said: ‘I say boy, come here a wee minute. Do you see that field in there? I met the Saviour there two minutes ago!’. You know he ran away to the other side of the road, he thought this was some lunatic that had got out of Downpatrick or something! I can see him yet you know, one of the Protestants of Ulster – oh, yes, yes – dark as night you know, didn’t know a thing about what I was talking about. There he was running away up the road.
I went down the road a little bit and I met another big man, a big man over six feet high. I said: ‘Hello Mister, see that field in there? I met the Saviour there five minutes ago’. Oh, this fellow didn’t run, oh no – this fellow belonged to the people called ‘Brethren’, the Lord bless them. Say ‘Hallelujah’, what are you so cold about? He says: ‘Did you meet the Saviour, son?’. I said: ‘I have met the Saviour, and I have accepted Him, and I’m saved!’. You know, I can see this big man, the tears rolled out onto his face. He put two big hands on my shoulders, and I’ll never forget what he said, he said this: ‘Son, fear not the unknown morrow, dread not the new demands life makes of thee, for the One who saved you today He’ll keep you for all eternity’. Wasn’t that lovely? And we went down the road together you know, I know he wouldn’t let me into his home at night, but it doesn’t matter!
You know, when I left our very dear brother at the crossroads that day, it was then that I almost only came to my senses. I was like Peter, I was out of the prison alright and the shackles were off and my heart was bubbling over, but I began to think about the things I must face. You know, I was thinking about the crowd down in the house who were waiting on me, and when I began to think about them I got afraid. I had every right to be. There were twelve men there and I would say that each of them carried loaded revolvers everyday they lived. I’ll say no more about that, but I knew that when I went down and went in through the door that there was going to be trouble – and I don’t mean an argument, those boys don’t argue. You could lose your life in this thing. If I walked in and said: ‘Boys, I’m finished. I’m not going with you any more’, they would all get scared, they would think you were going to tell the police on them – and you could lose your life in a thing like that.
I wasn’t any better than they were because every day I walked those roads I had a belt round here, and I had an open razor in there – it was in a special pouch, specially made – and the hook of the razor just came over the edge of the pouch. I used to practise in a looking glass just doing that, and taking it out – it was open now, I could just stand like that and put my hand there just like that, and take it out just like sheet lightning, and the faster you got it out the better. You know when I stood at the crossroads I was trembling, I said: ‘Lord, I’m saved and I’m not going back to those things. I’ll go down and tell them, and the first man that says a word about You’ – and before I knew it the hand was in and the razor was out, and I said: ‘Lord, I’ll cut the head off him!’. It was a great start, wasn’t it? Oh, I’ll get the sack after this now, Paisley’ll sack me after this night!
Ah, but you know, you know friends I was a raw recruit alright, wasn’t I? Yes, this was not the way at all, this was not the way. You know, the Lord taught me a lesson that very moment when I had the razor in my hand, and He taught it to me very simply but it’s a very wonderful one. You know, at Newtownards in those days they were teaching young pilots to fly. They had an old plane for teaching them in called ‘Finnian the White’, it’s still there. In fact I was talking to the man who bought it. Just as I had the razor in my hand the aeroplane went over my head, it must have been the Lord who spoke to me – He couldn’t speak to me through scripture for I didn’t know any. It must have been the Lord who spoke to me, because the Lord said: ‘Now that’s how they teach young pilots to fly’ – it was a twin-control plane, two seats, two sets of controls. Put the young pilot in the front, the old pilot behind, and when the young fellow is coming down, if it’s not accurate the old man can switch off the young fellow’s controls and switch on his own, and he just levels her out. You know, the Lord said: ‘You better switch off your controls and give Me control’.
I learned a great lesson: Jesus not only came and died and shed His blood to be my Saviour, but He rose again to be my Lord, and I must give Him absolute control! I learned the lesson the day I was saved, and I tiptoed over to a little bridge and I dropped the razor down into the river. Mind you, I felt lonely without it, I had been reared with it. I can remember, in trembling faith, putting my hand in the hand of the Saviour, and I said: ‘Lord, You’ll have to look after me, and help me, and fight for me. I have only You’ – oh, little did I know, I didn’t need any more, but I was just simple you know.
I can remember going down to the old house with the Lord, and you know the old devil he’s on the job all the time. Just as I got to the little corner off the alley the worst one of the crowd – there was one who was really worse than the rest – he came round the corner, a big fellow about six feet three, about seventeen stone, as broad as a door and as dark as night. He came round with a big blue jersey, a big sailor’s jersey on, made him look worse looking than what he really was. As he came round the corner I knew there was trouble brewing, and I placed my feet right you see, because I was always taught to look after myself – so I got this foot forward and got into position, if there’s going to be trouble I’ll do my best anyway! There’s nothing like getting ready for the thing you know! I said: ‘Paddy, just a minute now’, I said, ‘I’ve got something to say to you, and you just listen very carefully’. I said: ‘I have got saved, I’ve met the Lord Jesus, and I can’t go with you fellows any more’. And I was watching him dead on, I never flinched, I looked into his eyes, I would see him coming alright – and I thought he would come like a tiger. When I had said what I had to say I could see his head fall and the tears come out. He put out a big hand and he said: ‘Son, you know you’re alright now. I wish to God I was saved’. I never thought he would say that, I thought he would try to kill me, and I can hardly believe it to this day.
He said to me: ‘If you’ve changed and turned to the Lord come on up and I’ll put them out for you’. I can remember walking up the alley behind this big fellow, it was like a dream you know. He was so big, I was so small, and I could see him fling the door to the wall – there were at least three revolvers on the table – he said: ‘Lift those guns, lift the money, pick up those cards and get out’. Here are his own words, he said: ‘This fellow has become religious, you’ve got to leave him alone’ – and nobody dared argue with him. They slowly lifted these things, and then they filed out past me, nobody spoke – and when they’d all got out he turned round, and he said: ‘God bless you son’, and I was left alone with the Lord.
Can I say this humbly: you know I shut the door – I was trembling – I shut the door and I went in and I fell down on the floor, and I just wept and wept and wept and wept from that evening at half past six it was till five o’clock the next morning. I just wept and said: ‘Lord, Lord, You’ve saved me! Lord, You’ve saved me, You’ve delivered me, You’ve been with me’ – it was God that saved me! Here I am tonight, and in my right senses mind you, friends that was the turning day of my life – and everything I have tonight, and everything I am tonight, and everything I ever hope to be, I owe everything to Jesus Christ God’s Son. It was the Lord that delivered me.
You know friends, I was preaching at Great Victoria Street Baptist Church some years ago, and a lady who is a teacher at the University came in to see me. A very well spoken, well-dressed, well-educated lady, and she closed the door in the enquiry room and she said: ‘I don’t like your preaching’. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘dear, you’re not the first one, that’s not worrying me!’. I said: ‘What’s up with you? What’s worried you?’. She said: ‘You know, you seem to try to get it over every evening that unless a person personally trusts the Lord Jesus they will never be in heaven’. I said: ‘Is that what you think I’m preaching?’. She said: ‘Yes’. I said: ‘You’re dead right!’. She said: ‘I don’t agree with this’. ‘Well’, I said, ‘You tell me just where I’m wrong and I’m willing to listen’.
She said: ‘I’ll bring an illustration to you and you answer the question’. She said: ‘We’ll suppose we have two ladies here. One is a moral, upright, honest, church-going, religious, noble, loyal lady – the only thing we can’t say for her is this: she has never personally trusted Christ. The other lady is a harlot from streets, she has broken bodies and broken homes and broken hearts. She’s a down-and-out rebel sinner, but in her last moments she trusts the Saviour. Are you telling me that this woman will be in heaven, while this woman will be in hell?’. I said: ‘Yes, that’s what I’m telling you’. She said: ‘You explain that to me’. I said: ‘That will be a privilege, sit down there’. I got her sitting down, I said: ‘You know, you’re over at Queens and you’re old-fashioned enough to know that there are many kinds of life’. I said: ‘You know there is vegetable life, you can see the flower growing, coming into bud and then blooming. If you tread on the flower and squeeze it, it won’t scream you know, because it has got life but it has not got world conscious life, it’s got vegetable life’. I said: ‘You know there’s another kind of life, don’t you? That’s animal life, and if you hit the horse he’ll jump or he may kick, because he’s conscious of what’s going on around him, but that is only animal life. The monkeys at the zoo can do many things – they imitate a lot of folk that I know – but you never see them getting down on their knees and praying, no’.
Friends, I want you to get this: that there are different kinds of life – vegetable life, animal life and then we’ve got human. You know there is moral, upright, honest, religious human life – yes, we’ve got a lot of them in the city. But I said: ‘Madam, there is still another kind of life, and that is spiritual life – and you don’t get spiritual life until you accept Christ as your Saviour’. She said: ‘Alright, prove it’ – and I opened the Book, and here’s the verse for you this evening. It says in 1 John: ‘He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’. Is this your Bible? You’ll find it is, it’s saying this Mrs: ‘He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’. If you’re here tonight and you haven’t accepted Christ, all you’ve got up to now is an existence – you’ve never really tasted life! So God’s book says. My friend, life with a capital ‘L’ is spiritual, eternal, unchanging, impregnable life, and you get it in Christ! Only when you personally, experientially, wholeheartedly accept the Saviour do you get life!
On that day, standing in rags, when I screwed up my cap and turned to the Saviour – at that moment I was born again, and I got new life, and I shall never perish. Friend, I want to tell you this tonight: that God in His infinite, wondrous, marvellous, matchless, boundless grace has come to this place here tonight to offer the gift of eternal life to you in the Lord Jesus. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You know, you can get life tonight, but you’ll never get life without Christ – but if you come and accept Christ you’ll get life and it will be eternal. I wonder what you’ll do? You know, it’s very possible that God might have someone at the crossroads of life in this meeting this evening, and on the one hand you can see your sin and your folly and all that leads you to hell, and on the other hand you can see the cross and the Christ and the Saviour, and if you trust Him you’ll start for heaven. Maybe you’re standing in between the two points and God is waiting on you, what will you do with Jesus? That’s the question: what will you do?
Pastor Willie Mullan
You can listen to Pastor Mullan’s testimony on Real Audio by visiting the following website:-