Sermon Illustrations


Let me tell you about the six-year-old drunken chimney sweep who went on to become a great leader in our movement.

Elijah Cadman was born in Coventry, the youngest of five children of a drunkard father who died when Cadman was three years old. Aged six, Cadman was unusually small and, because of his size, found work at that age climbing and cleaning chimneys for a chimney sweep. He would start work at 4 a.m. and continued climbing chimneys until he was 13, when the British Government passed a law which stopped boys from working up chimneys. Cadman was often drunk from the age of 6, and by the time he was 17 he could "fight like a devil and drink like a fish."

Aged 21, Cadman become a Christian after listening to a street preacher in Rugby whom he had planned to heckle. After his conversion, Cadman spent all his spare time as a Methodist lay preacher. An illiterate, Cadman hired a boy to read the Bible to him and committed large sections of it to memory. He was aged 22 when he was taught to read and write by his young wife.

In 1876, he sold his house and chimney-sweeping business and took his wife and children to London, where he joined William Booth's The Christian Mission.[1] In 1876 Cadman was appointed to the Hackney (East London) Christian Mission Station, where he visited the slums in the day and preached in the streets at night. In his later years, Cadman campaigned on behalf of The Salvation Army in the West Indies, South Africa, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Scandinavia, Germany and other countries.(

Here's Elijah Cadman a man who responded, who put his confidence, not in himself but in God, who became one of the great preachers in the early days of the Salvation Army, he did mighty things along with others for God's kingdom. God took Cadman just as he had taken Moses to do his work in Cadman's own words "Come and hear Elijah Cadman, the sober sweep as he gives an account of his own drinkin' experience. Come and hear him! Come and hear him!" God was able to use the witness of this man to bring others into a life of freedom, from self-centeredness and sin, because of who he was.

(From a sermon by Andrew Moffatt, Dah man of faltering lips, 5/11/2011)

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