Percy Rush was born in Cheshire, England on December 10, 1882.
His autobiography, Is Not This a Brand, is an incredible saga of redeeming grace …
Reared in a ‘religious’ home, 17 year-old Percy was led to Christ (on 11 May, 1899) by a local preacher, Mr Worthington. Four years later, when the Torrey-Alexander Mission came to Liverpool, Percy Rush was there, leading others to Christ.
But a year later came the tragic turning point. A deacon in the church he attended gave him a drink “of hot spiced ale” to combat the ’flu he had caught. “And with that hot spiced ale there came into my personality a craving, not merely a liking, but a cursed craving …” (page 23). By page 57 of this testimony Percy Rush is a desperate alcoholic … married to a Christian lass.
“I went for my wife, once, with a new knife. The blade was broken in the struggle.” He found himself arrested – and placed in a padded cell.
In his sin-ridden state Rush took wild delight in the company of loose women, was a slave to alcohol, took drugs, regularly beat his wife, and made his home a hell. For all this he was tormented, rather than blessed through his self indulgence. In sheer desperation he once tried to commit suicide, but was prevented by two tramway men.
Rush tried several times to reform his life, being often witnessed to by Christians. He would change his ways for a time, but always slip back to his enslaved lifestyle. He struggled with his unworthiness.
But Rush was “Tracked Down by the Tremendous Lover”, and, at the age of 46, at an open-air meeting in 1928, he came back to the Saviour. In deep guilt and despair he had knelt to pray, but soon felt it useless, so he tried to get away. The men praying with him refused to stop, despite his protest that, “I’m too bad, I tell you, I’m lost. There can be no hope for me. Leave me alone.”
Rush was brought to deliverance by the sudden revelation of one Bible text which came clearly to his mind. “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He explains what happened next…..
Then rising on one knee, the spirit of prayer upon me again, I determinedly prayed, saying: “Lord, that text is in Thy blessed Book. If that Book be true, you dare not cast me out. Take me in for Christ’s sake, take me in for my wife’s and children’s sake. Oh, take me in for my own sake, but take me now, else that Book is a lie, and I’m lost for ever.”
The moment my prayer ended, it was answered by a sudden inflow of new life and power, vitalizing and quickening. My feet became as hind’s feet” (2 Sam.22:34).
I leaped up and shouted again and again: “Hallelujah, I’m through.” Even my drink-sodden face became changed. I was instantaneously delivered by Christ the Emancipator, and completely released from my bondage to sin; the diabolical hatred, the craving for drink and drugs, and (next day) tobacco, were taken clean away, and they have never since returned.
Two bystanders in that crowd, then utter strangers to my wife and me, have since often witnessed to the actual change that came into my countenance on that memorable Sunday night, August 19th, 1928.
Dr W.E. Sangster writes: “What happened on the green at Clacton on that memorable Sunday changed this drink-sodden, drug-taking, demon-haunted man into a good husband and father, a faithful and dependable friend, and a blazing advocate for the faith” (page 3).
Not only did Percy Rush become a Methodist preacher but his wife became an active worker with the Christian Literature Crusade.
This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com