The Pastor of the Church had invited Cartwright with some misgivings, because the evangelist was known to be a little unpredictable. However, interest had been high, and it seemed as if everyone in Nashville had come to church that Sunday to see the eccentric Cartwright. His text was Matthew 16:26: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”
Cartwright had just read his text, and had paused for effect to let the words sink in, when General Andrew Jackson himself entered the church and slowly walked down the aisle. Every seat was taken; and he stood for a moment leaning against a pillar. Cartwright suddenly felt a tug at the tail of his coat. “General Jackson has come in,” the Nashville pastor whispered excitedly, “General Jackson has come in!”
The whisper was audible to most of the church. Cartwright’s jaw tightened, and he gave the pastor a look of scorn. “Who is General Jackson?” Cartwright suddenly thundered. “If he does not repent and have his soul converted, God will damn his soul to hell as quickly as any other unconverted pagan.”
After the sermon, because Jackson was known for his fiery temper and his deadly duels, Cartwright was advised by several people to leave town immediately. Cartwright shrugged them off and remained. Far from being angry, however, Jackson waited patiently outside to meet Cartwright. When they finally did meet, Jackson is reported to have said, "Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world!"
He then invited the evangelist to dinner; and thereafter asked him to stay and continue preaching at a church near to the Hermitage so he could hear more.
Because of these events and what followed, we have hope that Andrew Jackson did indeed repent of his sins, and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. But if Peter Cartwright had not had the courage to take a stand and speak what he knew was the truth, then General Jackson certainly would not have had that opportunity, at least not on that particular day and at that particularly opportune time.
Sometimes, we must be willing to speak the truth - sweetented perhaps with a bit of love, but nonetheless the plain truth.