On December 8, 1903, a great printing machine was awaiting a message in type that should carry, to the hundred thousand readers of the paper which it was to print, the news of the death of its editor.
The one who, in that moment of grief and uncertainty, must write the message, tried to view the seventy-three years of life that had just closed, the half-century of manhood that had ministered unceasingly.
The life was rich in varied and extended forms of service: as home missionary in Sunday-school work, as an army chaplain, as interpreter of the Bible, as traveller and explorer, as preacher and speaker and editor, and as writer of more than thirty volumes in the field of character-building and spiritual truth.
Yet in that hour when death seems to reveal the real man and his central power and purpose, the one form of ministry that stood out in clearest, whitest light to those who knew this man best was the ministry of which the world at large, though it knew him well, knew least. It was his self-sacrificing service for the individual: his instant and invariable putting the claims of one above the claims of many: his sinking and spending all that he had and all that he was in order to serve the on-at-a-time for whom he live.
And so the message that told of the earthly ending of his life was the message that the whole life had spoken; and the summons was sounded, to all who loved him, to ‘make his past a success’ by carrying on his greatest work, the winning of individuals to Christ. And it is significant that one of the least pretentious of the thirty volumes that Henry Clay Trumbull wrote is proving to be the most influential of them all in far-reaching blessing,-the little book that tells the simple narrative of his Individual Work for Individuals.
Thus wrote Charles G. Trumbull of his father, Henry Clay Trumbull, in the Introduction to Taking Men Alive: Studies in the Principles and Practice of Individual Soul-Winning.
Both of the above mentioned books came into my hands when a former pastor offered me the opportunity to select several books for my keeping from his extensive personal library just before ending his long-term ministry at the church I attended . I count it a privilege to have direct access too these two classic titles. In the light of personal events of 2012 I have once again sensed the need to take both books of my bookshelf and revisit the stories written by Henry Clay Trumbull in his book, Individual Work for Individuals, and the studies in the principles and practice of soul-winning implicit in Henry’s stories prepared by his son, Charles G. Trumbull under the title of Taking Men Alive.
Contact Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org