Ye Must be Born Again

Words by W. T. Sleeper Music by George C. Stebbins

"A ruler once came to Jesus by night,
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;”

“One evening in November, 1886,”says the superintendent of a boys' school,” I was walking along a street in St. Joseph, Missouri, when I saw before me a great crowd gathered around a door. On coming nearer I saw that it was at the entrance of the hall of the Young Men's Christian Association. In the doorway stood some young men, singing. Just as I came near enough to hear they began to sing:

'A ruler once came to Jesus by night,
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
Ye must be born again, again.'

When they came to the chorus the sword of the Spirit entered my soul. It seemed to me that I was brought face to face with the Lord Jesus. There on the street, while that song was being sung, I asked him to teach me how to be born again—and he did it. I accepted an invitation to the service for the evening, and after that service, for the first time in my life, I publicly acknowledged Christ as my Saviour. I have always considered that it was through the influence of that hymn that my soul was awakened. Many times have I thanked God for the song, as well as for the courage he gave to his disciples to sing it in that public way."

Many years ago an English evangelist sent me this incident: ”We were holding evangelistic meetings, ”he said,” in a town in Perthshire, and there was one who helped us more effectually than we were at first aware of. I hardly know how we became acquainted with ' Blind Aggie;' for, besides being old and blind, she was a great sufferer and could seldom creep beyond her doorstep. We were strangers in the place and no one told us of her; yet in the providence of God one of our party was led to visit her little room, discovering what a saint she was and how deeply interested in all she had heard about our intended meetings. She helped us mightily by prayer, and as far as she could by individual work. Lodging in the same flat with blind Aggie was a seamstress—a poor, giddy, foolish girl—in whom she took a deep interest. With great difficulty she persuaded this girl to attend one of our meetings. While the girl was at the meeting Aggie was praying for a blessing upon her; and when she returned Aggie asked many questions, but to her sorrow could not find that any impression had been made on the young woman's heart. The good old woman induced the thoughtless girl to go again, and when she returned the second time it was late, and blind Aggie had already gone to bed. But the girl burst into the old woman's room crying: ' Oh, Aggie, where are you? I must tell you!' 'Well, dear, what is it? Come and tell me.' 'Oh, but I want a light first, I canna tell ye in the dark.' Though Aggie never had use for a candle, she told the girl where to find one. After it was lighted the girl burst forth from a full heart: ' Oh, Aggie, woman, I didna laugh this time! They sang a hymn, and it kept saying, ' Ye must be born again,' and it just laid hold on me, Aggie, and oh! I'm born again! Jesus has taken me, Aggie!'“

“On a Sunday evening, ”relates a young lady of Dunfermline, Scotland, ”I went with a companion to take a walk in the public park, when our attention was drawn to an open-air meeting. While we were standing there listening, the hymn ' Ye Must be Born Again ' was given out and sung. Two lines of the last verse,

'A dear one in heaven thy heart yearns to see
'At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,'

took a firm hold on me, and I felt that I must be born again, for I never could get there of myself. That night I went to the meeting and decided for Christ, and ever since that hymn has been very dear to me."