A. W. Chaney – 1917

Being most profoundly grateful for the change that came in my life twenty months ago, I cannot resist the temptation of drawing a comparison between the two lives–that is, service to God and humanity vs. service for the devil and self. Of the latter service I can speak from an intimate knowledge covering a period of half a century of more, with a personal experience fully justifying a definite and positive statement, covering every phase of such a life over the entire road, beginning with temptation and ending with surrender.

No man is so unnatural, so unreal as to deliberately choose and follow a line of conduct, encouraging a weakness, or develop willingly an appetite that he knows will despoil him of manhood, destroy the happiness of his family, and bring him down to the point of disgrace and hopelessness, and yet to this charge I plead guilty.

Or what man would surrender to a weakness or habit that he knew was sufficiently strong to destroy his business, to force him from position after position, to change his ideals and draw a curtain before ambition, to sap his vitality and health and then cast him a derelict upon the rest of despair? As one of countless numbers, to this I also plead guilty.

How my heart saddens as I look back through the vista of my time and realize the misstep that caused my downfall and undoing. There were lucid moments during these long years of travel in sin. Remorse forced itself upon me causing great agony of mind. I willed to do better–I sincerely promised myself to break the chains that bound me and live a correct life. These promises, though never fulfilled appear as the only oases placed here and there along the side of that long and tortuous road.

Will power! For a man dominated by habit, or living under the dominion of sin to speak of will power, would be ludicrous, if it were not so tragic. My will was the first to surrender and I apprehend that I am not unlike others under the seductive power of sin. I appealed to man–science has made most marvelous strides in the past few decades–scarcely a disease it has not conquered, but what man has ever discovered a specific cure for sin outside of Christ. I know whereof I speak having tried scientific discoveries, many, many times only to meet failure. I was a sinner, outside the reach of physical help and as the natural tendency of sin is toward greater sin and sin being degrading, demoralizing, and debasing, it naturally brought me to its lowest level.

As a boy, even while forming the habit, that was finally my downfall, I had high aspiration, ambitions and a pride that should have directed me in a safer road, but I strayed and entering the road of selfish desire I stumbled along, passing through the different stages and degrees, until at the age of sixty-three, torn and bruised and a physical wreck, hopelessly discouraged, having reached the very ultima thule of my downward career, I wandered into the Central Union Mission.

Here I met those who seemed anxious to be my friends. They became solicitous, holding out a hope to me which was based on a definite promise of Christ and I was convinced that even in my horrible condition I was included in the ‘whosoever’ class. My honest confession of sin, that night, with an earnest prayer to God for forgiveness meant a new spiritual birth for me and the sins, appetites and desires have been eradicated and I am a new creature in Jesus Christ. By His grace I have the power within me to stand firm, though tempted.

To me these twenty months have been replete with perfect happiness and contentment. I have been able to see God’s directing hand in my efforts to serve Him. My every need has been provided and friends restored–even nature has taken on a new aspect. Sorrows and troubles of the past are covered by the perfectness of the present and I am constrained to recommend this opportunity to any man needing, as I did, a spiritual birth that is sure and lasting.

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