The Three Bidders [Tract]

The Three Bidders
20-Pack of Poetry Gospel Tracts, 9-Point Type
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Will you listen kind friends, for a moment,
While a story to you I'll unfold―
A marvelous tale of a wonderful sale
Of a noble lady of old;
How hand and heart, at an auction mart,
Her soul and her body she sold.

’Twas in the broad king's highway,
Nearly a century ago,
That a preacher stood whose heart overflowed,
Telling the fallen and low
Of a Savior's love and a home above
And a peace that they all might know.

All crowded around him to listen,
And they wept at the wondrous love
That in spite of their sin could welcome them in
And give them a home above;
When lo! through the crowd a lady proud
Her gilded chariot drove.

“Make room!” cried the haughty outrider,
“You hold here the king's highway;
My lady is late, and their majesties wait;
Give way there, good people, I pray!”
But the preacher heard, and his soul was stirred,
And he cried to the rider, “Nay.”

His eye like the lightning flashes,
His voice like a trumpet rings;
“Your grand fete-days, your fashions and ways,
Are all but perishing things.
’Tis the king's highway, but I hold it today
In the name of the King of kings.”

Then, turning his eyes on the lady,
And marking her soft eye fall—
“And now in His name a sale I proclaim,
And bids for this fair lady call.
Who will purchase her whole, both body and soul,
Her coronet, jewels, and all?

“I see already three bidders,
The world steps up as the first:
‘I will give her my treasures and all of my pleasures,
For which my votaries thirst
She shall dance each day, more joyous and gay,
With a quiet grave at the worst.'

"But out speaks the Devil boldly,
‘The kingdoms of earth are mine;
Fair lady, thy name with an envied fame
On their brightest tablets shall shine.
Give me only thy soul, and I'll give thee the whole—
Their glory and wealth to be thine.'

"And Jesus, Lord, what wilt Thou give,
Thou Man of Sorrows unknown?
Then gently He said, 'My blood have I shed
To purchase her for Mine own;
To conquer the grave and her soul to save
I bore the judgment alone.

“‘I will give her My cross of sufferings here,
My cup of sorrow to share;
Then in glory and love, in My home above,
Forever to dwell with Me there;
She shall walk in the light in a robe of white,
And a radiant crown shall she wear.'

“Thou hast heard the terms, fair lady,,
Which each hath offered for thee;
Which wilt thou choose and which wilt thou lose,
This life, or the life to be?
The figure is mine, but the choice is thine.
Dear lady, which of the three?"

Nearer the stand of the preacher
The gilded chariot stole,
And each head was bowed as over the crowd
The challenging accents roll;
And every word which the lady heard
Burned in her very soul.

“Pardon, good people,” she softly said,
As she rose from her cushioned seat;
Full well, they say, as the crowd made way
You could hear her pulse's beat:
And each, head was bare as the lady fair
Knelt at the preacher's feet.

She took from her hand the jewels,
The coronet from her brow.
“Lord Jesus,” she said, as she bowed her head,
“The highest, bidder art Thou;
Thou gav’st for my sake Thy life, and I take
Thy offer—and I take it now.

“I know the world and its pleasures;
At the best they weary and cloy.
And the tempter is bold, but his honors and gold
Prove ever a fatal decoy;
I long for Thy rest—Thy bid is the best:
O Lord, I accept it with joy!

“I turn from the pride and ambitions of earth,
I welcome Thy cross now so dear;
My purpose shall be to win souls for Thee
While life shall be spared to me here;
My hope ever found with Thee to be crowned
When Thou shalt in glory appear.

“Give me Thy cup of suffering,
Welcome earth’s sorrow and loss.
Let my portion be to win souls to thee.
Perish earth’s glittering dross.
I gladly lay down her coveted crown
Saviour, to take up Thy cross.”

“Amen!” said the noble preacher;
And the people wept aloud.
Years have rolled on, and they all have gone
Who formed that awe-struck crowd.
Lady and throng have been swept along
As wind sweeps a passing cloud.

But the Saviour has claimed His purchase
And around His radiant seat
A greater throng, in an endless song,
The wondrous story repeat.
And a form more fair, comes forward there
To lay her crown at His feet.

So, now, in eternal glory
She rests from her cross and care.
But her spirit above, with a longing love,
Seems calling on you now to share
Her endless reward, in the joy of her Lord,
Will you join in her joy yonder there?

Think how soon, oh, how soon, the glory and gloom
Of this world shall pass clean away;
And Jesus shall come and take His own home
To be there with Himself for alway;
Wilt thou, then, be there, His bright glory to share,
Through heaven’s eternal day?

This is the true story of the conversion of Lady Anne Erksine. The preacher was Rowland Hill. The original author is unknown, and versions vary. The poem was once credited to Isaac Watts, but Watts died when Hill was only about four years old.