An Unusual Soul-Winner

Samuel Hebich - served in India from 1834-1859

Samuel Hebich aimed straight at his target, a person’s heart. With relentless goodwill, he showed people their errors and sins, without wasting time on trivial issues. Straight as an arrow, he directed his questions at those who crossed his path. Shortly after his arrival in India, he was at an English church service. After the conclusion of the sermon, with the help of an officer who translated, he asked the person next to him, short and to the point: “Are you a child of God?” After his enthusiastic “Yes,” other officers gathered around, to which he proclaimed his great joy of finding uniformed members of the military who had found the Lord.

Bosinger, a man from the Basler Mission, recounts: 

One day, while out for a stroll, we passed by the country cottage of an engineer. “Come,” said Hebich, “let’s go see this man!” Since I didn’t even know this man, I unwillingly followed him into the house. As soon as Hebich saw the owner, he said to him: “I’ve come to tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself, dishonoring God and your country by your sinful lifestyle.”

The man replied: “That is none of your business!”

Hebich, however, replied in a loud and indignant voice, with ardent fervor: “It is my business! As a servant of Jesus Christ, I must expose all sin and unrighteousness. In the name of the Righteous Judge, I implore you to repent of your sins!”

This accusation made the engineer furious. 

“Leave my house, Mr. Hebich,” he shouted. “I did not call you and never want to hear your intrusive tirade of words in this house again!” 

“Absolutely not,” replied Hebich. “I am not leaving until you confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness on your knees. You need to put an end to such a dishonorable lifestyle. You are a terrible person and should be ashamed of yourself! Get down on your knees and confess your sins, or you will go to hell and join the demons which you serve. I will not leave here until you heed my message!”

The man jumped up, greatly upset, and shouted: “If you won’t leave, then I will!”

He ordered his servant to saddle his horse and, without another word, left us. A short while later ,we saw him madly galloping away. We then left the house as well. 

I felt perturbed about the harshness that Hebich displayed and said to him: “Now you have ruined everything with your severe words! Was it necessary to barge into that house head first?”

The older man only smiled and said: “I have him on a fish hook now, which he will never let go of.”

He was right! Before Hebich visited such a person, he obviously spent much time in prayer for him. Only when he had gained assurance of victory in prayer and by the Holy Spirit did he approach that person. But then he went as a victor! 

Three days after that turbulent visit with the engineer, the missionary Hebich received a note from him.

“Dear Mr. Hebich, for the love of God, please come see me! I have not slept a wink since you were last here. I am lost! I cannot find peace, nor rest. My conscience condemns me. I am in hell. What can I do so that I may be saved?”

Next, Hebich brought Jesus Christ to this man and, consequently, this man to Jesus Christ. Before long, the engineer acknowledged the Savior who died on the cross. He was able to grasp that the Redeemer’s blood also flowed for him, which also cleansed him from all his sins.

In the following years, this engineer proved by his consistent, honorable, and humble living that he truly had repented and become a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.  

A former chaplain in Kannur recounts: 

While in Madras, Mr. Hebich paid a visit to St. Thomas-Berg to preach the gospel to the soldiers. As the older minister walked along the street, an Army Major noticed Hebich coming in his direction. Immediately, he called to his servant and said: “If that Padre makes his way over to my house, do not let him in. Tell him that I am not home.” 

It appears that Hebich did see the Major and started towards his house. 

The servant stood in the doorway of the house and stammered: “Padre Sahib (teacher), do not come into the house. Master (the Major) is not home.”

“Oh yes, he is here!” countered Hebich.

“No, no! He is not at home. Padre must not come in!”

Brushing the lad aside, Hebich entered the house. The room was empty. The Major was not there. He entered the next room, but he was not there either. He walked into the bedroom and then into the dining room, but the man was nowhere to be found. Eventually, he circled back to the first room he had looked in. There stood a large couch, bordered with a fringe of long tassels hanging down to the ground. Crouching down, he peered underneath the sofa and found the officer hiding there. 

“You coward, come on out!” he called to him. The Major crawled out from under the sofa and stood before the dreaded man.

“Sit down, coward!” he commanded. Hebich’s mysterious influence caused him to sit down. 

“Now listen to God’s message, you coward!” 

He began to preach earnestly to the Major, telling him how utterly impossible it is to hide from the all-seeing eye of God. 

“Where Adam didn’t measure up, you surely have no prospect of escaping. You must be converted and set free from all your sins!”

It wasn’t long before this man kneeled down together with him and called out to God for forgiveness. He became a courageous confessor of his faith.

Wilhelm Jörn

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