Years ago, while revival meetings were being held in one of the large towns in Scotland, a young girl became anxious about her spiritual condition. Returning from one of the meetings, she went to her own minister and asked him how she might be saved.
“Ah, lassie,” he said, ”don't be alarmed! Just read your Bible and say your prayers, and you will be all right."
But the poor, illiterate girl tried out: ”O Minister, I canna read, I canna pray! Lord Jesus, take me as I am!”
In this way the girl became a follower of Christ ; and a lady who heard of the girl's experience wrote this hymn, ”Take Me as I Am. ”I found the verses in a religious newspaper, and set them to the simple music by which they are now most generally known. At the same time Mr. Stebbins also found the verses and set them to music, and he sent them to me at the same time that I was sending my tune for the same words to him. In ”Gospel Hymns” both tunes are published.
A minister in England writes to me about a Christian woman, a shoemaker's wife, who had a lodger that was an obstinate unbeliever. ”The good woman often tried to induce him to go to meetings, but in vain. Tracts which she placed on the table in his room she found crushed on the floor. She would smooth them out and again place them so as to attract his attention, but he would read nothing but his novels and newspapers. One spring the old man fell ill with bronchitis. The good woman acted as his nurse, for he had no relatives who cared for him. She used the opportunity, often speaking to him about his soul and reading the Word of God; but she could make no impression upon him. One day she was reading the hymn ' Jesus, my Lord, to Thee I cry,' and when she came to the refrain, the old man called out to her sharply: ' That's not in the book!' The woman answered, ' Why, yes, it is.' He declared again that he did not believe it was in the book. The good woman told him that he could read it for himself. He asked for his glasses, and read with wonder and amazement, again and again, ' My only plea—Christ died for me! oh, take me as I am.' A few weeks afterward he said to the woman one morning, ' I am going home to-day, and I am so happy, so happy!' In an hour or two he passed away, repeating these words to the last."
“One afternoon when visiting the Royal Infirmary,” a missionary in England writes, ”I found a young girl very ill and without any prospect of recovery. I sat down by her and read the hymn, ' Jesus, my Lord, to Thee I cry.' She listened very attentively, but I did not know until the following week, when I visited her again, what a deep impression it had made upon her. On this second occasion I was told that she was much worse. Hearing I was there, she asked her mother to tell me that she wanted very much to see me. When I went to her she leaned forward and, with an eagerness which surprised me, repeated the words:' My only plea—Christ died for me! Oh, take me as I am.' These comforting lines had been constantly on her lips during this last week of her life. That night the Lord took her home."
A party of policemen had gathered in a drawing room in the West End of London. One was there who had been persuaded by his Christian comrades to attend for the first time a meeting of The Christian Policemen's Association. He went unwillingly and rather late, and did not expect to care for the meeting. But soon after he had entered the room a lady, Miss Beauchamp, sang ”Take me as I am ”as a solo. The repeated refrain set him to thinking. As he was? He had led a rough life, first as a blue-jacket and then as a policeman. He could not well be more wretched and miserable than he was that night, with a load of sins upon him and a dark, dreary future to look forward to. He had never thought that Jesus would take him as he was. He had always thought that he must be much better first, and had often tried to make himself better; but it had been a miserable failure. Now the words, ”Take me as I am, ”sounded over and over again in his ears, and in his heart he repeated them, ”Lord, take me as I am. ”He left before the end of the meeting, and so it was not until the following month that his friends heard of the great change that had come over him. Since that time his delight has been to proclaim the love of God as opportunity offered, on the street or to his comrades, seeking to turn other lost ones to the path of life.
While Mr. Moody and I were holding meetings at Plymouth, England, Professor Henry Drummond, who was assisting us, became very much interested in an infidel who came to the services—laboring with him for several days and visiting him in his home, twenty miles distant, but making no impression on him. Near the close of the mission the infidel came again. On reaching the building, which was located inside the barrack grounds, he found the door closed and the building full. And while he was standing on the green sward outside he heard the choir sing ”Take me as I am. ”He told Professor Drummond afterward that God used this simple hymn to lead him into the Shepherd's fold.