Love's Triumph in John Wannamaker's Sunday School
Mr. John Wannamaker, superintendent of probably one of the largest Sunday schools in the world, had a theory that he would never put a boy out of his school for bad conduct. He argued if a boy misbehaved himself, it was through bad training at home, and that if he put him out of the school no one would take care of him.
Well, this theory was put to the test one day. A teacher came to him and said, "I've got a boy in my class that must be taken out; he breaks the rules continually, he swears and uses obscene language, and I cannot do anything with him." Mr. Wannamaker did not care about putting the boy out, so he sent the teacher back to his class. But he came again and said that unless the boy was taken from his class, he must leave it. Well, he left, and a second teacher was appointed.
The second teacher came with the same story, and met with the same reply from Mr. Wannamaker. And he resigned. A third teacher was appointed, and he came with the same story as the others. Mr. Wannamaker then thought he would be compelled to turn the boy out at last.
One day a few teachers were standing about, and Mr. Wannamaker said: "I will bring this boy up and read his name out in the school, and publicly excommunicate him." Well, a young lady came up and said to him: "I am not doing what I might for Christ, let me have the boy; I will try and save him."
But Mr. Wannamaker said: "If these young men cannot do it, you will not." But she begged to have him, and Mr. Wannamaker consented.
She was a wealthy young lady, surrounded with all the luxuries of life. The boy went to her class, and for several Sundays he behaved himself and broke no rule. But one Sunday he broke one; and, in reply to something she said, spit in her face.
She took out her pocket- handkerchief and wiped her face, but she said nothing. Well, she thought upon a plan, and she said to him; "John,"—we will call him John,—"John, come home with me." "No," says he, "I won't; I won't be seen on the streets with you."
She was fearful of losing him altogether if he went out of the school that day, and she said to him, "Will you let me walk home with you?" "No; I won't," said he, "I won't be seen on the street with you."
Then she thought upon another plan. She thought on the "Old Curiosity Shop," and she said, "I won't be at home tomorrow or Tuesday, but if you will come round to the front door on Wednesday morning there will be a little bundle for you."
"I don't want it; you may keep your own bundle." She went home, but made the bundle up. She thought that curiosity might make him come.
Wednesday morning arrived and he had got over his mad fit, and thought he would just like to see what was in that bundle. The little fellow knocked at the door, which was opened, and he told his story. She said: "Yes; here is the bundle."
The boy opened it and found a vest and a coat and other clothing, and a little note written by the young lady, which read something like this: "DEAR JOHNNIE:—Ever since you have been in my class I have prayed for you every morning and evening, that you might be a good boy and I want you to stop in my class. Do not leave me."
The next morning, before she was up, the servant came to her and said there was a little boy below who wished to see her. She dressed hastily, and went downstairs, and found Johnnie on the sofa weeping.
She put her arms around his neck, and he said to her, "My dear teacher, I have not had any peace since I got this note from you. I want you to forgive me." "Won't you let me pray for you to come to Jesus?" replied the teacher. And she went down on her knees and prayed.
And now Mr. Wananamaker says that boy is the best boy in his Sunday-school. And so it was love that broke that boy's heart.