ONCE when Rowland Hill was preaching, Lady Ann Erskine happened to be driving by: she was in the outer ring of the circle, and she asked the coach-man, what all the people were there for. He replied, “They are going to hear Rowland Hill.” Well, she had heard a great deal about this strange man, accounted to be the very wildest of preachers, and so she drew near.
No sooner did Rowland Hill see her, than he said, “Come, I am going to have an auction, I am going to sell Lady Ann Erskine.” She of course stopped, and she wondered how she was going to be disposed of. “Who will buy her?” Up comes the world. “What will you give for her?” “I will give her all the pomps and vanities of this present life; she shall be a happy woman here, she shall be very rich, she shall have many admirers, she shall go through this world with many joys.” You shall not have her; her soul is an everlasting thing; it is a poor price you are offering; you are only giving a little; and what shall it profit her if she gain the whole world and lose her own soul?
Here comes another purchaser — here is the devil. “What will you give for her?” “Well,” says he, “I will let her enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; she shall indulge in everything her heart shall set itself unto; she shall have everything to delight the eye and the ear; she shall indulge in every sin and vice that can possibly give a transient pleasure.” Ah, Satan! what will you do for her for ever? You shall not have her, for I know what you are; you would give a paltry price for her, and then destroy her soul to all eternity.
But, here comes another — I know him — it is the Lord Jesus. “What will you give for her?” Says he, “It is not what I will give, it is what I have given; I have given my life, my blood for her; I have bought her with a price, and I will give her heaven for ever and ever; I will give her grace in her heart now and glory throughout eternity.” “O Lord Jesus Christ,” said Rowland Hill, “thou shalt have her. Lady Ann Erskine, do you demur to the bargain?” She was fairly caught; there was no answer that could be given. “It is done,” he said, “it is done; you are the Savior’s; I have betrothed you unto him; never break that contract.” And she never did. From that time forth, from being a gay and volatile woman she became one of the most serious persons, one of the greatest supporters of the truth of the gospel in those times, and died in a glorious and certain hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever is willing to have Christ, Christ is willing to have him.