"For hereunto were ye called; because
Christ also suffered for you, leaving
you an example, that ye should follow
in his steps."
It was Friday morning and the Rev.
Henry Maxwell was trying to finish his
Sunday morning sermon. He had been
interrupted several times and was
growing nervous as the morning wore
away, and the sermon grew very slowly
toward a satisfactory finish.
"Mary," he called to his wife, as
he went upstairs after the last
interruption, "if any one comes after
this, I wish you would say I am very
busy and cannot come down unless it is
something very important."
"Yes, Henry." But I am going over
to visit the kindergarten and you will
have the house all to yourself."
The minister went up into his study
and shut the door. In a few minutes he
heard his wife go out, and then
everything was quiet. He settled himself
at his desk with a sigh of relief and
began to write. His text was from
1_Peter 2:21: "For hereunto were ye
called; because Christ also suffered for
you, leaving you an example that ye
should follow his steps."
He had emphasized in the first part
of the sermon the Atonement as a
personal sacrifice, calling attention to
the fact of Jesus' suffering in various
ways, in His life as well as in His
death. He had then gone on to emphasize
the Atonement from the side of example,
giving illustrations from the life and
teachings of Jesus to show how faith in
the Christ helped to save men because of
the pattern or character He displayed
for their imitation. He was now on the
third and last point, the necessity of
following Jesus in His sacrifice and
He had put down "Three Steps. What
are they?" and was about to enumerate
them in logical order when the bell rang
sharply. It was one of those clock-work
bells, and always went off as a clock
might go if it tried to strike twelve
all at once.
Henry Maxwell sat at his desk and
frowned a little. He made no movement to
answer the bell. Very soon it rang
again; then he rose and walked over to
one of his windows which commanded the
view of the front door. A man was
standing on the steps. He was a young
man, very shabbily dressed.
"Looks like a tramp," said the
minister. "I suppose I'll have to go
down and --"
He did not finish his sentence but
he went downstairs and opened the front
door. There was a moment's pause as the
two men stood facing each other, then
the shabby-looking young man said:
"I'm out of a job, sir, and thought
maybe you might put me in the way of
"I don't know of anything. Jobs are
scarce--" replied the minister,
beginning to shut the door slowly.
"I didn't know but you might
perhaps be able to give me a line to the
city railway or the superintendent of
the shops, or something," continued the
young man, shifting his faded hat from
one hand to the other nervously.
"It would be of no use. You will
have to excuse me. I am very busy this
morning. I hope you will find something.
Sorry I can't give you something to do
here. But I keep only a horse and a cow
and do the work myself."
The Rev. Henry Maxwell closed the
door and heard the man walk down the
steps. As he went up into his study he
saw from his hall window that the man
was going slowly down the street, still
holding his hat between his hands. There
was something in the figure so dejected,
homeless and forsaken that the minister
hesitated a moment as he stood looking
at it. Then he turned to his desk and
with a sigh began the writing where he
had left off. He had no more
interruptions, and when his wife came in
two hours later the sermon was finished,
the loose leaves gathered up and neatly
tied together, and laid on his Bible all
ready for the Sunday morning service.
"A queer thing happened at the
kindergarten this morning, Henry," said
his wife while they were eating dinner.
"You know I went over with Mrs, Brown to
visit the school, and just after the
games, while the children were at the
tables, the door opened and a young man
came in holding a dirty hat in both
hands. He sat down near the door and
never said a word; only looked at the
children. He was evidently a tramp, and
Miss Wren and her assistant Miss Kyle
were a little frightened at first, but
he sat there very quietly and after a
few minutes he went out."
"Perhaps he was tired and wanted to
rest somewhere. The same man called
here, I think. Did you say he looked
like a tramp?"
"Yes, very dusty, shabby and
generally tramp-like. Not more than
thirty or thirty-three years old, I
"The same man," said the Rev. Henry
"Did you finish your sermon,
Henry?" his wife asked after a pause.
"Yes, all done. It has been a very
busy week with me. The two sermons have
cost me a good deal of labor."
"They will be appreciated by a
large audience, Sunday, I hope," replied
his wife smiling. "What are you going to
preach about in the morning?"
"Following Christ. I take up the
Atonement under the head of sacrifice
and example, and then show the steps
needed to follow His sacrifice and
"I am sure it is a good sermon. I
hope it won't rain Sunday. We have had
so many stormy Sundays lately."
"Yes, the audiences have been quite
small for some time. People will not
come out to church in a storm." The Rev.
Henry Maxwell sighed as he said it. He
was thinking of the careful, laborious
effort he had made in preparing sermons
for large audiences that failed to
But Sunday morning dawned on the
town of Raymond one of the perfect days
that sometimes come after long periods
of wind and mud and rain. The air was
clear and bracing, the sky was free from
all threatening signs, and every one in
Mr. Maxwell's parish prepared to go to
church. When the service opened at
eleven o'clock the large building was
filled with an audience of the best-
dressed, most comfortable looking people
The First Church of Raymond
believed in having the best music that
money could buy, and its quartet choir
this morning was a source of great
pleasure to the congregation. The anthem
was inspiring. All the music was in
keeping with the subject of the sermon.
And the anthem was an elaborate
adaptation to the most modern music of
"Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee."
Just before the sermon, the soprano
sang a solo, the well-known hymn,
"Where He leads me I will follow,
I'll go with Him, with Him, all the
Rachel Winslow looked very
beautiful that morning as she stood up
behind the screen of carved oak which
was significantly marked with the
emblems of the cross and the crown. Her
voice was even more beautiful than her
face, and that meant a great deal. There
was a general rustle of expectation over
the audience as she rose. Mr. Maxwell
settled himself contentedly behind the
pulpit. Rachel Winslow's singing always
helped him. He generally arranged for a
song before the sermon. It made possible
a certain inspiration of feeling that
made his delivery more impressive.
People said to themselves they had
never heard such singing even in the
First Church. It is certain that if it
had not been a church service, her solo
would have been vigorously applauded. It
even seemed to the minister when she sat
down that something like an attempted
clapping of hands or a striking of feet
on the floor swept through the church.
He was startled by it. As he rose,
however, and laid his sermon on the
Bible, he said to himself he had been
deceived. Of course it could not occur.
In a few moments he was absorbed in his
sermon and everything else was forgotten
in the pleasure of his delivery.
No one had ever accused Henry
Maxwell of being a dull preacher. On the
contrary, he had often been charged with
being sensational; not in what he had
said so much as in his way of saying it.
But the First Church people liked that.
It gave their preacher and their parish
a pleasant distinction that was
It was also true that the pastor of
the First Church loved to preach. He
seldom exchanged. He was eager to be in
his own pulpit when Sunday came. There
was an exhilarating half hour for him as
he faced a church full of people and
know that he had a hearing. He was
peculiarly sensitive to variations in
the attendance. He never preached well
before a small audience. The weather
also affected him decidedly. He was at
his best before just such an audience as
faced him now, on just such a morning.
He felt a glow of satisfaction as he
went on. The church was the first in the
city. It had the best choir. It had a
membership composed of the leading
people, representatives of the wealth,
society and intelligence of Raymond. He
was going abroad on a three months
vacation in the summer, and the
circumstances of his pastorate, his
influence and his position as pastor of
the First Church in the city --
It is not certain that the Rev.
Henry Maxwell knew just how he could
carry on that thought in connection with
his sermon, but as he drew near the end
of it he knew that he had at some point
in his delivery had all those feelings.
They had entered into the very substance
of his thought; it might have been all
in a few seconds of time, but he had
been conscious of defining his position
and his emotions as well as if he had
held a soliloquy, and his delivery
partook of the thrill of deep personal
The sermon was interesting. It was
full of striking sentences. They would
have commanded attention printed. Spoken
with the passion of a dramatic utterance
that had the good taste never to offend
with a suspicion of ranting or
declamation, they were very effective.
If the Rev. Henry Maxwell that morning
felt satisfied with the conditions of
his pastorate, the First Church also had
a similar feeling as it congratulated
itself on the presence in the pulpit of
this scholarly, refined, somewhat
striking face and figure, preaching with
such animation and freedom from all
vulgar, noisy or disagreeable mannerism.
Suddenly, into the midst of this
perfect accord and concord between
preacher and audience, there came a very
remarkable interruption. It would be
difficult to indicate the extent of the
shock which this interruption measured.
It was so unexpected, so entirely
contrary to any thought of any person
present that it offered no room for
argument or, for the time being, of
The sermon had come to a close. Mr.
Maxwell had just turned the half of the
big Bible over upon his manuscript and
was about to sit down as the quartet
prepared to arise to sing the closing
"All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
when the entire congregation was
startled by the sound of a man's voice.
It came from the rear of the church,
from one of the seats under the gallery.
The next moment the figure of a man came
out of the shadow there and walked down
the middle aisle. Before the startled
congregation fairly realized what was
going on the man had reached the open
space in front of the pulpit and had
turned about facing the people.
All my being's ransomed powers,..."
"I've been wondering since I came
in here" -- they were the words he used
under the gallery, and he repeated
them-- "if it would be just the thing to
say a word at the close of the service.
I'm not drunk and I'm not crazy, and I
am perfectly harmless, but if I die, as
there is every likelihood I shall in a
few days, I want the satisfaction of
thinking that I said my say in a place
like this, and before this sort of a
Mr. Maxwell had not taken his seat,
and he now remained standing, leaning on
his pulpit, looking down at the
stranger. It was the man who had come to
his house the Friday before, the same
dusty, worn, shabby-looking young man.
He held his faded hat in his two hands.
It seemed to be a favorite gesture. He
had not been shaved and his hair was
rough and tangled. It is doubtful if any
one like this had ever confronted the
First Church within the sanctuary. It
was tolerably familiar with this sort of
humanity out on the street, around the
railroad shops, wandering up and down
the avenue, but it had never dreamed of
such an incident as this so near.
There was nothing offensive in the
man's manner or tone. He was not excited
and he spoke in a low but distinct
voice. Mr. Maxwell was conscious, even
as he stood there smitten into dumb
astonishment at the event, that somehow
the man's action reminded him of a
person he had once seen walking and
talking in his sleep.
No one in the house made any motion
to stop the stranger or in any way
interrupt him. Perhaps the first shock
of his sudden appearance deepened into a
genuine perplexity concerning what was
best to do. However that may be, he went
on as if he had no thought of
interruption and no thought of the
unusual element which he had introduced
into the decorum of the First Church
service. And all the while he was
speaking, the minister leaded over the
pulpit, his face growing more white and
sad every moment. But he made no
movement to stop him, and the people sat
smitten into breathless silence. One
other face, that of Rachel Winslow from
the choir, stared white and intent down
at the shabby figure with the faded hat.
Her face was striking at any time. Under
the pressure of the present unheard-of
incident it was as personally distinct
as if it had been framed in fire.
"I'm not an ordinary tramp, though
I don't know of any teaching of Jesus
that makes one kind of a tramp less
worth saving than another. Do you?" He
put the question as naturally as if the
whole congregation had been a small
Bible class. He paused just a moment and
coughed painfully. Then he went on.
"I lost my job ten months ago. I am
a printer by trade. The new linotype
machines are beautiful specimens of
invention, but I know six men who have
killed themselves inside of the year
just on account of those machines. Of
course I don't blame the newspapers for
getting the machines. Meanwhile, what
can a man do? I know I never learned but
the one trade, and that's all I can do.
I've tramped all over the country trying
to find something. There are a good many
others like me. I'm not complaining, am
I? Just stating facts. But I was
wondering as I sat there under the
gallery, if what you call following
Jesus is the same thing as what He
taught. What did He mean when He said:
'Follow Me!'? The minister said,"
-- here he turned about and looked up at
the pulpit -- "that it is necessary for
the disciple of Jesus to follow His
steps, and he said the steps are
'obedience, faith, love and imitation.'
But I did not hear him tell you just
what he meant that to mean, especially
the last step. What do you Christians
mean by following the steps of Jesus?
"I've tramped through this city for
three days trying to find a job; and in
all that time I've not had a word of
sympathy or comfort except from your
minister here, who said he was sorry for
me and hoped I would find a job
somewhere. I suppose it is because you
get so imposed on by the professional
tramp that you have lost your interest
in any other sort. I'm not blaming
anybody, am I? Just stating facts. Of
course, I understand you can't all go
out of your way to hunt up jobs for
other people like me. I'm not asking you
to; but what I feel puzzled about is,
what is meant by following Jesus. What
do you mean when you sing 'I'll go with
Him, with Him, all the way?' Do you
mean that you are suffering and denying
yourselves and trying to save lost,
suffering humanity just as I understand
Jesus did? What do you mean by it? I see
the ragged edge of things a good deal. I
understand there are more than five
hundred men in this city in my case.
Most of them have families. My wife died
four months ago. I'm glad she is out of
trouble. My little girl is staying with
a printer's family until I find a job.
Somehow I get puzzled when I see so many
Christians living in luxury and singing
'Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to
leave and follow Thee,' and remember how
my wife died in a tenement in New York
City, gasping for air and asking God to
take the little girl too. Of course I
don't expect you people can prevent
every one from dying of starvation, lack
of proper nourishment and tenement air,
but what does following Jesus mean? I
understand that Christian people own a
good many of the tenements. A member of
a church was the owner of the one where
my wife died, and I have wondered if
following Jesus all the way was true in
his case. I heard some people singing at
a church prayer meeting the other night,
and I kept wondering as I sat on the
steps outside just what they meant by
it. It seems to me there's an awful lot
of trouble in the world that somehow
wouldn't exist if all the people who
sing such songs went and lived them out.
I suppose I don't understand. But what
would Jesus do? Is that what you mean by
following His steps? It seems to me
sometimes as if the people in the big
churches had good clothes and nice
houses to live in, and money to spend
for luxuries, and could go away on
summer vacations and all that, while the
people outside the churches, thousands
of them, I mean, die in tenements, and
walk the streets for jobs, and never
have a piano or a picture in the house,
and grow up in misery and drunkenness
'All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
All my being's ransomed powers,
All my thoughts, and all my doings,
All my days, and all my hours.'
The man suddenly gave a queer lurch
over in the direction of the communion
table and laid one grimy hand on it. His
hat fell upon the carpet at his feet. A
stir went through the congregation. Dr.
West half rose from his pew, but as yet
the silence was unbroken by any voice or
movement worth mentioning in the
audience. The man passed his other hand
across his eyes, and then, without any
warning, fell heavily forward on his
face, full length up the aisle. Henry
"We will consider the service
He was down the pulpit stairs and
kneeling by the prostrate form before
any one else. The audience instantly
rose and the aisles were crowded. Dr.
West pronounced the man alive. He had
fainted away. "Some heart trouble," the
doctor also muttered as he helped carry
him out into the pastor's study.