It was during the year that I was a student of the Intermediate class in St. John's College, Agra, that
Rev. N. H. Tubbs, the Principal of the School, with a party of his students sent me to the Sialkot Convention. It was a season of great blessing and of great experience. It was my first opportunity to attend a convention and see such a large gathering of the Christians. Among the speakers were Bishop B. T. Badley, Sadhu Sundar Singh, and Rev. B. B. Roy. The preachings in the tent were of highly inspired nature. I felt as if I was privileged to taste some of the joys of fellowship which the saints will have in heaven. I often wondered how the visitors in such an atmosphere as that which literally seemed to me charged with the power of the Holy Spirit, could possibly think of or discuss earthly matters.
The cross has always been my attraction, and any reference in preaching to the theme of the cross always held my attention. I loved to sit under its shadow, dwell on its beauty, meditate on its glory and draw my strength from its power. Bishop Badley, as he concluded one of his sermons in his beautiful Hindustani, led the audience to the foot of the cross. He presented the nail-pierced feet of Jesus before the gaze of the audience, and invited them to receive the benediction from the nail-torn hands of Jesus. The presentation of the crucified Christ in the last few sentences of the speaker gripped me so strongly that it has always lingered in my mind. The tent, the audience, the very seat that I then occupied in the midst of the great gathering, the speaker and above all the uplifted hands of Jesus with marks of his sacred wounds are still vivid in my memory.
It was my first visit in the Punjab. On our way to Agra, we visited Lahore, spending a couple of days in Mahan Singh, which years after was to be my home
for some nine or ten years in connection with the Henry Martyn School of Islamics I had the opportunity of meeting several good Christians in Lahore. Spending a couple of days in Amritsar, and passing through Delhi, I came back to my College, with the vision ot the Crucified Saviour more deeply engraved upon my heart. From that time I began to feel a greatet fervour for my Crucified Saviour.
The Lord continued to favour me with the abundance of His grace. After my return from the Sialkot convention I felt a deeper and greater longing for closer fellowship with God. The beautiful little chapel in the College which was in a crypt, became my sanctuary, where unnoticed and undisturbed by my friends I could spend hours in prayer and meditation. I fasted and observed different forms of austerities, and self-imposed hardships. Some five miles from Agra is a village called Sikandara which contains the mausoleum of the Emperor Akbar, and some of its surrounding buildings lying in ruins were hardly visited by the people. On holidays I would often go there to spend the day in solitary meditation. It was on one such occasion when I was there, and I was meditating and praying on the roof of the mausoleum that the Lord favoured me with a vision. As I raised my eyes to the afternoon sky I saw clearly marked the figure of Christ stretched upon the cross. I do not know how long the vision lasted, but it produced a great change in my heart, which I felt as if it was burning with fire. It gave me a strange feeling of pain mixed with joy. I was in a state of ecstasy, but so different from the one that I had experienced as a Muslim mystic. Ecstatic thoughts began to bubble up in my mind. It was an experience which led to a fresh and deepest consecration of my life. Some of the experiences during the
vision were recorded immediately, and I quote some of the things from this record. The date of the vision is recorded Tuesday 4 p. m., 23rd September, 1919. The first page of the record has the following sentences:
He stooped to meet thee"
This day shall be unto you for a memorial."
Then follows confession, consecration and a long meditation on the cross. Some of these are as follows:
Lord Jesus my blessed Saviour, I have sinned against Thee again and again, and have broken my promise and vow many times which I had often made with tears and hearty repentance. O Lord I am sorry for my misdoings and breaking promises and vows, and hereby O Lord by Thy strength I promise to be absolutely Thine, and hence I consecrate myself - my soul and body, my intellect and knowledge, my feet and hands, my lips and my tongue, my eyes and ears, all and all I dedicate to Thy service till my life's end. - Amen."
Henceforth thou shalt have no right to use thy body and thy mind for any selfish purpose or for thy own glory, but for the glory of Him and His Father who said: When they see your good works, they may glorify your Father who is in heaven."
1. Thou shalt freely confess Him whenever and whenever
an opportunity is offered unto thee.
2. Thou shalt feed thyself daily on Him.
3. Thou shalt wait on thy knees to hear Him.
4. Thou shalt retire to solitude to meet Him.
5. Thou shalt look into His face when the tempter comes to thee.
6. Thou shalt not do what thou wouldst not like Him to see.
7. Thou shalt not go where thou cannot take Him with thee.
8. Thou shalt not allow any selfish thought, ambition, pleasure, affection, love of any-thing which ends in thee and not in Him to enter thy mind.
9. Thou shalt not allow thy eyes and thy mind to wander about unrestrained they are sealed by Him and are to be preserved for His uses - take heed that seal be not broken in any way.
10. Thou shalt not put thyself in any place, company, sport, or amusement or read or write any books or papers, which even for a moment would drive Him from the centre of thy consciousness or interrupt the light which proceeds from Him and reaches thy heart.
Whatever be the nature of my vision of Christ on the cross, the important point is the experience in which it resulted; but every religious experience brings with it a solemn responsibility, and in its neglect lies a great danger of retrogression in life. For example, when, as a result of such an experience, the devotee takes the vow of dedicating his mind and thought among his other things, and promises to listen to the Master, there is a subtle danger of carrying
the idea of this dedication of his intellect to such an extent as to refuse to listen to common sense arguments and reasons, and to mistake his own inner voice for that of his Lord.
My own experience was not an exception to these dangers. It was not long before I became more and more self-centred in my spiritual activities. The burning passion for the preaching of the Gospel drifted in the background, and a burning desire for more time to be alone and with God and to dwell upon what is called the 'intellectual vision' of Christ came into the foreground. The 'dedicated ego' to God and Christ became an object of greater concern than the souls perishing without Christ. Thus it was that I found myself slowly drifting towards the Roman Church.
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