“That man forgets himself”
Spurgeon recounts a story by Abbé Mullois in Lectures to My Students. It’s a great story for those of us who are tempted to think that God uses us when we are polished and at our best.
A converted Parisian operative, a man of willful but frank disposition, full of energy and spirit, who had often spoken with great success at the clubs composed of men of his own class, was asked by the preacher who had led him to God, to inform him by what instrumentality he, who had once been so far estranged from religion, had eventually been restored to the faith. “Your doing so,” said his interrogator, “may be useful to me in my efforts to reclaim others.”
“I would rather not,” replied he, “for I must candidly tell you that you do not figure very conspicuously in the case.”
“No matter,” said the other, “it will not be the first time that I have heard the same remark.”
“Well, if you must hear it, I can tell you in a few words how it took place. A good woman had pestered me to read your little book – pardon the expression, I used to speak in that style in those days. On reading a few pages, I was so impressed that I felt a strong desire to see you.
“I was told that you preached in a certain church, and I went to hear you. Your sermon had some further affect on me; but, to speak frankly, very little; comparatively, indeed, none at all. What did much more for me was your open, and simple, and good-natured manner, and above all, your ill-combed hair; for I have always detested those priests whose heads remind one of a hairdresser’s assistant; and I said to myself, ‘That man forgets himself on our behalf; we ought, therefore, to do something for his sake.’ Thereupon I determined to pay you a visit, and you bagged me. Such was the beginning and end of the affair.”