I, Tertius, Salute You
February 13th, 1955 @ 10:50 AM
“I, TERTIUS, SALUTE YOU”
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2-13-55 | 10:50 a.m.
These are the services of the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the concluding message on the Book of Romans. For the last several months, a good many months, we have been preaching as we go through the Bible in the Book of Romans. And the message this morning is the last sermon on the sixteenth chapter of Romans. And I think it would bless your heart if you would turn to it in your Bible and follow me as I read the Word and as I speak from it. The last chapter, the sixteenth of the Book of Romans:
I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church at Cenchrea:
That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succorer—a helper of many, and of myself also.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus; Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all of the churches of the Gentiles.
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.
Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
Salute Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.
Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
now the twenty-first verse—
Timothy my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain—the treasurer—of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
[Romans 16:1-15, 21-24]
Now, I have read it because nobody ever does. You never heard it read in your life. And even in private devotions, I would suppose that most people pass it by. If for no other reason, that is one reason why I am preaching a sermon on this today. I tell you, if we had the time, it would amaze you how much is revealed in the passage that I have read. Do you sometimes wonder what the people were like in that first Christian generation? Do you sometimes try to imagine how the services were conducted? Who were there? All of the families and folks and people? Do you sometimes wonder just how was it back there in the day when Paul preached, and when Simon Peter was the chiefest apostle among the twelve, and when the work of the Christian church was beginning to subvert the foundations of the Roman Empire? Well, you can find it here. So for the brief little while today, let us look at one of those early churches; the first church in Rome.
Paul starts off saying: I want you to receive Phoebe. She has a Greek name. She belongs to the little congregation in Cenchrea [Romans 16:1]. That is the port city of Corinth, just down the way on the seaside. “I want you to receive her,” he says to the church there in Rome, this Phoebe, “for she is a servant”—a deaconess. The Greek is “a deaconess of the church down there in Cenchrea.” Now she is coming to Rome on business. She was a businesswoman of some kind. She belongs to the business women’s circle and the business and professional women’s class. She has gone to Rome for some legal matter or some personal business or governmental appeal, and you can help her. Whatever it was she was going to Rome for, it was of such a nature that influence from friends would assist her. “Now, you help her,” Paul says to the church people there in Rome—this woman, Phoebe, “for she has been a great inspiration to us here in Achaia” [Romans 16:1-2].
And also, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila” [Romans 16:3]. You notice the woman’s name is first—Priscilla and Aquila, not Aquila and Priscilla. There is a whole lot of us men who are known because we have married wonderful women. And this is one of those couples. It is remarkable to me that the first two that are named are women: Phoebe and Priscilla. And if I had time, I could stop right here and talk—I don’t know how long—about what Christianity has done for womanhood. Everywhere outside of the orbit of the Christian faith a woman is the household drudge, she is the dust under the man’s foot. All of the pagan and heathen and ancient worlds—all of those civilizations and cultures looked on the woman as nothing other than a beast of burden. It was the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ that gave her a place in the household of God. She was co-equal. She was a child of the King. She was saved, generated—regenerated. She was a soul for whom Christ died, and the place of womanhood whenever the gospel message is preached is a place of dignity and respect. That is Christianity. Phoebe, Priscilla. “Likewise, greet the church in their house” [Romans 16:5].
“Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen” [Romans 16:7]. That is, they were Jews like Paul was a Jew. “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, my fellow prisoners.” They were in prison together for the faith: “who were in Christ before me.” They were converted before Paul was. They were Christian before Paul.
“Salute Apelles approved in Christ” [Romans 16:10]; that is, he had been tried. I don’t know what kind of a trial. I could imagine, and if I had time we would talk about some of the trials those early Christians went through. But Apelles faced lions. He faced the torch and the stake. He faced stones and bars. He faced death. And he was true, Apelles.
“Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household…and of the household of Narcissus” [Romans 16:10, 11]. You notice, he does not salute Aristobulus or Narcissus, the masters of the households, but “salute the households of Aristobulus and Narcissus,” that is, they were all slaves. And they had been converted. A slave? Why, it was unheard of! It was a thing that Roman civilization, Greek civilization, Egyptian civilization, Oriental civilization—it was a thing no one had ever heard of, that a slave should be a brother in the household of faith. Paul says: “Salute the slaves who are of the household of Aristobulus and Narcissus” [Romans 16:10, 11].
“Salute Tryphaena and Tryphosa” [Romans 16:12]; they apparently were sisters. One of them the name means “luxurious,” and the other name means “delicate.” Apparently they were born in a beautiful home. And they were loved, these sisters, and they were given these gracious and beautiful names Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Maybe they were twins.
“Salute the beloved Persis” [Romans 16:12]. She was a slave girl, brought from Persia. “Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.” “Salute Rufus whose mother was so good to me” [Romans 16:13].
Now the greetings from Corinth: Timothy, my fellow worker” [Romans 16:21]. We all know Timothy. “Gaius mine host, and the whole church… Erastus” the treasurer of the city of Corinth, “and Quartus” a humble brother, “he salutes you” [Romans 16:23]. Oh, I can read an empire full in those salutations. Some of them are Gentiles. Some of them are Jews. Some of them are Romans. Some of them are Greeks. Some of them are freedmen. Some of them are slaves. Some of them are affluent like Gaius and Erastus. Some of them are poor. They wash feet; lowly, menial servants. But they are all in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world never saw it before, they never heard of it before. Fair-haired Goths and swarthy Arabians, Roman conquerors and proverbials, cultured and sophisticated Greeks and untaught and unlettered barbarians, Jews, who looked upon themselves as the chosen of God, and Gentiles, whom they called dogs—all of them there in the church, together. Why, it is an amazing thing! It is a development the world had never seen.
Now, I want to take one of them, and we are going to preach about him this morning. In the sixteenth chapter of Romans and the twenty-second verse, there is a little note written in the letter, “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord” [Romans 16:22]. Tertius—isn’t that a strange thing? “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, I salute you in the Lord.” Way back yonder a long time ago, those old religious paintings, the artist would so many times draw himself in an inconspicuous corner, kneeling, or in a group. Out there in Lubbock I was speaking, and the president of the college out there, Texas Tech, took a little group of us to a panorama that is in their museum. And in the panorama are depicted the stories of the South Plains and of Lubbock. And our good fortune was to have the gifted artist with us who took us all around, and looking at his pictures, described to us what each one was. And he had drawn himself as one of the cowboys in one of the scenes. That’s what Tertius has done here. In the letter, he writes his name and tells them who he is. “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, I salute you in the Lord” [Romans 16:22]. Wonder what made him do that? That is the strangest thing, as I read the Bible, to come across that. He just stops: “I Tertius who am writing this epistle, I salute you too in the Lord.” He was a stranger to them in Rome, and they were strangers to him. He had to introduce himself to tell them who he was. I wonder what made him do it?
I know exactly what made him do it. In that far away day, the Christians were very few. They were very lonely. They belonged to a despised and persecuted and outcast group. And many times, they were called upon to lay down their lives for the faith. And this man Tertius, he has a Roman Latin name. This amanuensis Tertius reaches out a hand across the ocean, and he says, he says: “I don’t know you, and you don’t know me; but we both know the Lord. And I thought,” says Tertius, “I thought that maybe, as you read this letter in the church at Rome, that you might like to know that it was a Christian hand that wrote these words, as Paul spoke them from a full heart.” Why, there is something about that—that just moves your soul. “I Tertius, who write these words [Romans 16:22], I don’t know you, and you don’t know me; but we are Christians, and both of us and all of us know the Lord. And across the sea and across the ocean, I greet you, my fellow Christians.” They had a tender sympathy for one another that was genuine and deep.
That’s the reason for our lesson in the Bible today. I had us read together: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” [1 Corinthians 13:1]. The martyr that put the first Christian church together has a great sympathy among God’s people. “I Tertius, I salute you in the Lord. I want you to know that the hand that writes the letter is a Christian hand.” It is a very humble thing, an amanuensis; a most humble task. “I Tertius, who write this letter” [Romans 16:22]—very humble, but necessary.
I do not know what was the matter with Paul. As you read and read and read in his epistles, there was something the matter with Paul. I mean physically—“a thorn in the flesh” he referred to it [2 Corinthians 12:7]. Most of the scholars will say Paul was almost blind. He had a definite weakness in his eyes. He refers one time in his letter to the Galatian churches that they so loved him that if possible, they would have given him their eyes [Galatians 4:15]—as though there was something wrong with Paul’s own eyes. In any event, when he wrote his letter, he had to do it through an amanuensis. He speaks of that in Galatians, in the letter to the Galatian churches [Galatians 6:11]. He speaks of it at the church at Colosse [Colossians 4:18]. He mentions it again in the second Thessalonian letter [2 Thessalonians 3:17]. Paul had to have somebody to write down the message that he gave. Now to write that down was very humble. That’s right; but very necessary. And in the kingdom of God, I tell you when you start sorting out in God’s sight, “Now this is great”; and in God’s sight, “Now this is not great”; in God’s sight, “This is important”; and in God’s sight, “This is not important”: when you start to make big and little before God, you will just have all kinds of difficulty. What we think is so big in God’s sight, may not be big at all. And what we think is little and unnecessary, in God’s sight may cover the horizon.
This man Tertius, a humble Christian brother, writing down what Paul had to say [Romans 16:22]; you know, everything in life is about like that, if really you look at it philosophically. Those great boilers and turbines that make tremendous energy, it would be nothing if you didn’t have a machine through which it could be channeled. And sometimes the little tiny mechanisms in that machine are as vital as the great shafts that carry the power. Or these beautiful instruments; every note in every score of concerted music is vital and necessary. And the body, Paul in that first Corinthian letter speaking of the body says these feeble members are the more necessary” [1 Corinthians 12:22]. [You have] got a little old pituitary gland, these doctors tell me back there in the base of your head—not as big as a pea. But oh, I don’t know what we would be were it not for that pituitary gland. For one thing, we wouldn’t grow. Isn’t that right, Dr. Carland? We would not grow. That little old thing, I never saw it. I just take it by faith that I have got one right back there somewhere. But it is the most vital organism in my body. Oh, you don’t know. You don’t know. These little humble ministries like Tertius, “I write it down, I write it down” [Romans 16:22]. “Were it not for him, you wouldn’t have it.
Another thing about this man Tertius, this Roman here who writes, another thing about him: he was proud of his work. He was; he felt that he had done it well. He put his name to it: “I Tertius, who write this epistle” [Romans 16:22]. Why, I can just see him as he writes that out. “Look how neat it is,” Tertius would say. “Look how beautifully the letters are formed,” he would say. “Look how splendidly I’ve tried to do it.” He was proud of his work. Isn’t it a good thing that I wasn’t writing down that letter, or some of you? “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle”; he was proud of his work. He had done it well. He put his name on it. That’s good. That’s good, to do what we do, to do it well.
I came across a thing in the life of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the matchless portrait painter of England. As a “Tragic Muse” he painted one time, in the 1700s, 1784, he painted the portrait of Sarah Siddons, the immortal Shakespearean actress. And he did it so well that it is one of the great portraits today. And as they stood looking at it, why, the great Sarah Siddons said to Sir Joshua Reynolds, she said, “Will the colors remain unfaded?” And Sir Joshua replied, he said, “My dear, as long as that canvass holds together, those colors will abide unfaded.” Then he gracefully and gallantly added, he said, “And to confirm my opinion, I have placed my name on the hem of your garment. I have resolved to go down to posterity on the border of this drapery.” And sure enough on that immortal portrait, you will find his name written there on the hem of her garment. That’s Tertius. He had done good, he had done well, and he wrote his name in the margin there that it comes down to us today [Romans 16:22].
I wonder what he received for it? What did Paul pay him? I’d say not much. Paul was a despised Christian minister and was a leader of an outcast and abused and persecuted group. And what Tertius did, I would suppose he received very little enumeration for it. But did you know, we don’t work according to that. We work according to how we are on the inside. You can do a noble work in a slavish way, or you can do a humble work in a noble way.
I love the story of Epaminondas. Cicero said Epaminondas was the greatest Greek that ancient Hellas ever produced. He was a Theban, a marvelous orator, and general, and strategist, and statesman. And upon a day in the city of Thebes, his enemies made coalition against him and voted him out. And then in order to ridicule and scorn the great general and statesmen, they elected him to be garbage collector and street cleaner in the city. You know what Epaminondas did? He did that garbage collecting and he did that street cleaning so nobly and so fine and so splendidly that it wasn’t long until the people, looking upon the virtues of his life, elected him back again to be the leader and the general and the statesman of their government. I like that. The difference in people isn’t the difference in the position you have. The difference lies in the nobility by which you’re doing it.
Oh, “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, I salute you in the Lord” [Romans 16:22]. Tell me, wouldn’t he be surprised, wouldn’t he be surprised if Tertius knew that I was preaching about him today? Two thousand years ago, he sat down by the side of a despised preacher of Jesus, and took his pen in his hand and the best genius that he had, he dedicated it to Christ [Romans 16:22]. And he wrote down the immortal epistle of Paul to the church at Rome, seemingly such a humble thing, seemingly such a quiet and unobtrusive thing. “I Tertius, salute you” who wrote the letter” [Romans 16:22]. But it was a link in an immortal chain that has bound the world close to the feet of God. And I say, you don’t know what you do. You don’t know what you do—the little humble remembrance, the cup of cold water, the gracious ministry, it also is a chain that binds this world close to the heart of God.
Let me tell you something I ran across: way back yonder in the old Puritan days, there was a humble servant of the Lord by the name of Richard Sibbes. He lived at the close of the 1600s, a humble, quiet man of God. Everybody called him “Heavenly Richard Sibbes.” He wrote a little piece, just a little brochure, and he called it, “The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax.” Do you remember the passage? Our Lord Jesus, gracious, gentle and tender, the bruised reed He would not break, and the smoking flax, He would not quench [Isaiah 42:3]? Do you remember it? It was a little brochure—just a little piece that breathed the confidence of an aged man: that the Lord takes care of the weak, and the poor, and the infirm, and the old. It was that kind of a thing. Well, a peddler got hold of it, and as he went around, he left those little tracts. And upon a day, in a home, there was a young fellow by the name of Richard Baxter that came upon that little tract by Richard Sibbes, “The Bruised Reed.” And he read it. And he was converted by it. And he gave his heart to Jesus. And Richard Baxter, Richard Baxter is one of the great preachers of all time. It was Richard Baxter that said: “I preach as never to preach again, as a dying man to dying men.” There is not a preacher in the world that doesn’t know of Richard Baxter. Now, inspired by that little book by Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter wrote a little book, and he called it A Call to the Unconverted.
There was a young man in England out of an affluent home in pleasant surroundings, but his heart was empty, and somebody asked him, “Have you seen that little book by Richard Sibbes?”
“You get it.” He did, and that young fellow, Philip Doddridge, was wonderfully converted. And Philip Doddridge is one of the noblest hymn writers of all of the church of all of the age. Last Wednesday night, when they sang that song, “O Happy Day”:
Happy day, [happy day,
When Jesus] washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day;
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away.
[“O Happy Day,” Philip Doddridge]
Did you ever sing it? Philip Doddridge wrote that song and a multitude of others. He was converted by the little book by Richard Baxter.
Now under the inspiration of the little book that Richard Baxter had written, Philip Doddridge also wrote a little book and it is entitled The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. In 1784, the same year that Joshua Reynolds painted that marvelous picture of Sarah Siddons—in 1784, the most brilliant and capable and able young man of the British Empire was preparing to make a journey through the continent with a friend. And the two young men at a bookstall were picking up literature to read on their continental journey. And this young man picked up that little volume by Philip Doddridge and said to his friend, “What is this?” And the friend said, “That is one of the finest books ever written.” They took it with them, and on the journey through continental Europe, they read it out loud to one another. And both of them were marvelously saved and returned to Europe, returned to England, to London devout Christians. The brilliant young man I refer to is named William Wilberforce, one of the great British statesmen of all time. He was called the conscience of England. He led the legislation that outlawed British slavery in the British empire, and again and again triumphed great social legislation that has blessed England ever since—William Wilberforce. Under the inspiration of the little book by Philip Doddridge, William Wilberforce wrote a little book called A Practical View of Real Christianity.
In 1819 in Scotland, lying at the door of death was their greatest young preacher and orator of the first magnitude and a marvelous exponent of the gospel message of Christ. But his heart was empty. He didn’t know Jesus in the pardon of his sins. And in those days when he was recovering from a dangerous illness, there fell into his hands the little book by William Wilberforce entitled A Practical View of Real Christianity. And as that young preacher recovering from his illness read that book, he wept, and he cried, and he prayed, and his soul pored over it, and God gave him his strength back. And Thomas Talmadge, the young preacher, returned to his church and to his pulpit a new man and a flaming preacher. He stirred all Scotland and the world with the might of his spiritual messages. And it goes on and on. I wonder what Richard Sibbes would have thought when he wrote that little book, A Bruised Reed? I wonder what he would have thought had somebody said the first link, and then this link, and then this one, and then this one; and on and on to the end of time?
That’s the humble ministries in the name of the Lord. What we do outside perishes and dies; what we do for Jesus never dies, it never falls to the ground. It bears a fruit, it bears a reward, it’s always accompanied with a recompense. “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, I salute you in the Lord” [Romans 16:22]. Tertius, we’ve never seen you, we don’t know you except just by name, but thank you, Tertius, for writing down the letter. And some of these days, Tertius, we’ll introduce ourselves to you in the streets of glory at the gates of pearl, and thank you for the humble ministry that brought to us the great books of the apostle Paul to the church at Rome.
Now we are going to sing our song, and while we do, while we do, somebody you give your heart to Jesus; somebody you put your life in the fellowship of the church; however God shall say the word and lead the way, you come. You come. In that topmost balcony, from side to side, anywhere, you come into the aisle, down to the front, “Pastor, today I give my heart to the Lord.” “Today I put my life in the fellowship of the church.” A family of you, or one you, while we sing you come, as we stand.
<![if !supportLists]>a. <![endif]>In the museum at Texas Tech, Lubbock, the panorama depicting the story of Lubbock and the Southern Plains. The artist describing it to us. The artist one of the cowboys in the scene.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>What caused him to write this little salutation? He a stranger to them. Needed to introduce himself. In that day very few Christians. Lonely in the pagan world, persecuted, abused, frequently called upon to give up their lives for the faith. Caused them to have a strong sympathy, love for each other. Tender, genuine.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> He knew no one in Rome; all strangers to him – and they did not know such a man. But in this humble, modest greeting he reaches between in the common life of our Lord. A little love note on the margin: “I, too, am a Christian. I salute you in the Lord Jesus. You don’t know me. I don’t know you, but we both know the Lord and you might like to know that when you read these words from Paul that it was a faithful Christian hand which wrote them down for you.” <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>His office of amanuensis very humble but quiet necessary. Paul dictated his letters (Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; II Thessalonians 3:17). Eyes not strong enough? Power generated in tremendous boiler and turbines, does it a work through machines of which each little mechanism as indispensable as the great shafts. Every note in the great concerted piece of music is vital. Every member of the body, even the more feeble is necessary. What is great! Small! Mites! Talents!<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>His work, he had done the best he could. His name to it. Nice, neat way so they could read it, his best into the writing.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
a. So Joshua Reynolds, Sarah Siddesso.
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>What did he receive for it? The employee of the despised Christian minister when Christians the most unpopular in the earth not much. But did it as unto the Lord. Any work slaving if performed in a slavish spirit. Any work, every so humble, noble if performed in a humble, noble spirit.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>5. <![endif]>Tertius a link in the great chain of salvation which has blessed millings. Paul could not get along without Tertius. Everyone who does his work well, faithfully, becomes a link in that great chain. What you do may be a link in the golden chain that shall bend the whole world closer about the feet of God. Tertius would have been surprised that I am preaching about him today.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>At the turn of the century Dr. Harwood Pattison wrote an essay on “the chain of life.” <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Tells a story of Richard Sibbes, a good man in the old Puritan days. So good people called him, “Heavenly Richard Sibbes.” He wrote a little book called “The Bruised Reed.” <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Breathed forth his confidence in the strength of the Lord Jesus to sustain the weakest people who trust in him. This the First Link. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> The Second Link. A peddler got hold of some of these little books and went forth selling them from door to door. He sold one at the house of Richard Baxter. This young man picked up the little book, “The Bruised Reed”, read it. Is message caused him to open his heart and he became a glorious Christian and one of the great preachers of all time. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> “I preached as never to preach again, as a dying man to dying men.” <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Under the inspiration received from “The Bruised Reed” he wrote a little book entitled “A Call to the Unconverted,” a most powerful appeal to sinners to be reconciled to God. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> The Third Link. About that time in England a nice, cultivated young man in pleasant surroundings, but his heart hungry, unsatisfied. One day somebody told him about Richard Baxter’s new book. He got it, was converted by it. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Philip Doddridge became one of the noblest of Christian hymn writers. (Compare: Last Wednesday night our singing, “Happy day, when Jesus washed my sin away; He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day.”) <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> His reading of Baxter’s book, “Call to the Unconverted” stirred Doddridge up to write a book, “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.” God used it to convert thousands to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> The Fourth Link. In 1784 a gifted, wealthy, brilliant (the most brilliant young man in England) young men, a close personal friend of Prime Minister Pitt, (and himself a member of Parliament), was going on a journey with a friend through continental Europe. They were picking out some books to take with them. The brilliant young statesman picked up Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress of Religion” and asked his friend about it. The reply was, “It is one of the best books ever written.” So the brilliant young political leader took it with him to read on the journey. His name was William Wilberforce one of the great English statesmen of all time who lives forever in his leadership for the abolition’s of world slavery. Wilberforce and his friend read Doddridge’s book aloud, the one to the other, and so mightily did it affect them that they were both wonderfully converted and returned to England devout Christians. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> As Wilberforce pushed forward his great reform movements in Parliament and in all the British Empire, he wrote a little book called, “The Practical View of Real Christianity.” The publisher reluctant to take it because, he said, people would not read that kind of book. But he was mistaken. The first edition ran out within the first few days – has been used of God ever since. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> The Fifth Link. In 1819 a young minister in Scotland, prostrated by a long, dangerous illness. Famous for his eloquence, but despite his gifts and his profession, he had not yet come to know Christ in the pardon of his sins. In those days of his terrible illness, Wilberforce’s book fell into his hands. It took hold upon his soul. He read it, pondered it, prayed over it, and was transformed into a new man. That man was Thomas Chalmers whose flaming earnestness, marvelous spiritual ministry, stirred all Scotland, and brought multitudes to Christ. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Immortal – What we do for Jesus. The rest – lost. <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>