Frederick N. Charrington abandons fortune

I would like to give one or two incidents of my life, and I do so to the glory of God, to show what I owe to the sacrifice of Christ. All acts of self-sacrifice pale before the Supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Men will die for their friends, but He died for His enemies. "He gave Himself a ransom for all". I was born to an inheritance valued considerably over a million pounds. I should have had at least a thousand pounds coming to me every week. But it was a corrupt and defiled inheritance. It was built upon the tears and blood of the people, of sin and misery, ruined homes, blasted lives, and starving children. John Wesley said of the liquor dealers, "Blood, blood is upon the walls of their houses. They murder His Majesty's subjects wholesale". It was not only a defiled inheritance, but it would only have melted in the fires of Hell. But, thank God, when I was twenty years old I became a Christian.

Travelling in the South of France with my father and mother, I met the Rev. Wm. Rainsford, son of the well known Marcus Rainsford. We travelled home together, and I invited him to my father's house at Wimbledon Common. He then said, "I am afraid I have been very unfaithful to you. I have never talked to you about your soul". I said, "Well, we have had a very pleasant time on the continent, and I don't think you need introduce a controversial subject like religion". He seemed very sad at my reply and said, "Well, will you promise when I have left to read the third chapter of John?" I said certainly I would, and next night I read the chapter according to promise, until I came to the last verse "He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life".

That was the turning point in my life. I felt my need of a Saviour, although hitherto I had never understood how I could be saved. Through this verse I was brought to trust in Christ, and receive assurance of my salvation.

A young friend of mine named Canning (afterwards Lord Garvagh), also like Rainsford said that he had Eternal Life. Therefore in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word was established.

That day I was born again to "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time" (1 Peter 1 v.4-5).

After that I was engaged in some little way in trying to work in the East End of London, chiefly among boys and girls. I was beginning to be very uncomfortable in my conscience as to my connection with the drink traffic. One day, passing the "Rising Sun" at the corner of a little street in the East End, I saw a poor woman with her little children dragging at her skirt, go to the public house. She looked in and called to her husband, "Oh Tom, Tom do give us some money, the children are crying for bread". The man looked at her, and his only reply was to rush out and knock her and the children down into the gutter. Just then I looked up and saw my own name "CHARRINGTON" in huge gilt letters on the top of the public house. I said to myself, "How can I say anything to that man seeing I am responsible for their misery".

When he knocked down his wife, He knocked me out of the Liquor Traffic. It suddenly flashed into my mind that this was only one case of the dreadful misery and brutality, in one of hundreds of public houses that our firm possessed. It was a crushing realisation, the most concrete object lesson that a man could possibly have. What a frightful responsibility for evil rested upon us! Then and there without any hesitation, I said to myself in reference to the sodden brute who had knocked his wife into the gutter, "Well, you have knocked your poor wife down, and with the same blow you have knocked me out of the brewery business". I knew I could never bear the awful responsibility of so much guilt upon my soul, and I determined I would never enter the brewery again. I carried out my intention. Since then I have never regretted the step I took.

Frederick Charrington told his father he would have nothing whatever to do with the business. The father's anger and disappointment were intense, but his son was unmoved. He gave up one and a quarter million pounds for conscience' sake. His father on his deathbed sent for him, and said: "Fred, you have chosen the better part, which will never be taken away".

Frederick left his luxurious house and took a small house in the district where he laboured, gathering round him a band of earnest soulwinners. Through the help of a number of the Lord's people the Great Assembly Hall, Mile End Road, holding five thousand persons, was erected. It was open every night of the week, and thousands of souls were rescued from the slavery and penalty of sin.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it, for what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8 v.35-37)

Frederick Charrington was able to say: "I have done what I could in the East End of London, during the last fifty years, to counteract the power of drink, and to preach the Gospel, and many trophies have been won for God".

Much of what this world can boast
I have lived to count but dross;
And the sight that charms me most
Is a sinner at the cross.

Oh, why was He there as the bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy guilt was not laid?
Oh, why from His side flowed the sin-cleansing Blood,
If His dying thy debt has not paid.