H.A. Ironside (known as Harry or H.A.I.) was a famous Bible teacher from the previous century. He preached and taught all over the United States and was pastor of the famous Moody Memorial Church in Chicago for a number of years. In his biography entitled, Ordained of the Lord, by E. Schuyler English, his biographer tells a story which must have had a transforming effect on Ironside’s ministry. Here is the excerpt:
Occasionally, in his travels up and down California, Harry sought the communion and counsel of servants of God who were reported to know Christ intimately and to be well acquainted with the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. To this end, on one of his visits to Los Angeles he walked out far beyond the city limits to gain the acquaintance of an aged servant of the Lord who lived in a tent among the olive trees. His name was Andrew Fraser. He had been a friend of Sophia several years earlier but now, because he had contracted a contagious and terminal illness, he saw few people indeed. When Harry reached Mr. Fraser’s tent and introduced himself, and after certain amenities were observed, the young man told his host that he was trying to preach the gospel and teach the Word.
“Well,” said the aged servant of the Lord, “sit down for a while and let’s talk together about the Word of God.” He then opened his much-worn Bible and for some time, in fact, until his strength was about gone, earnestly presented truth after truth of the precious Word of God, turning from one passage to another. He did this in so simple and so sweet a manner that young Ironside entered into these truths in a way that he had never done before. Tears began running down the cheeks of the young preacher.
“Where did you get these things?” he asked. “Can you tell me where I can find a book that will open such wonderful truths to me? Did you learn these things in seminary?”
He waited for Mr. Fraser’s answer, which he never forgot, “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the colleges or seminaries in the world.”