The art of persuading men to turn to Christ is the greatest science that this old sin-cursed world has ever known. We have been definitely urged to study the science of soul winning :
"In order to lead souls to Jesus there must be a knowledge of human nature and a study of the human mind." "We all need to study character and manner that we may know how to deal judiciously with different minds."—"Testimonies," Vol. IV, pp. 67, 09.
Observe the wisdom of Jesus in presenting the subject of the kingdom of heaven to a mixed multitude. In Matthew 13, to a farmer He represented the kingdom of heaven as "a man which sowed" and "a grain of mustard seed ;" to the housewife it was represented as "leaven ;" to the miner, as a "treasure hid in the field ;" to the merchant, as a "man seeking goodly pearls ;" and to the fishermen, as "a net that was cast into the sea." In all this Christ was not only endeavoring to illustrate the kingdom of heaven to His hearers, but He was trying to teach His disciples the science of soul-saving.
The Bible clearly points out that the heart has much to do with any decision a man makes. Therefore, it is certain that we must learn the art of touching the hidden springs of action in the heart. "Keep the heart with all diligence ; for out of it are the issues of life." Prov. 4:23. "The heart is the citadel of the man."—Id., Vol. V, p. 536. In the heart are the springs of action ; it is the citadel that must be taken.
To be successful in winning souls, a worker must know how to take that citadel, and he must understand that it can be reached only through the avenue of the mind. "The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind."—"Fundamentals of Christian Education," p. 426. "Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body."---"Testimonies," Vol. III, p. 136. "It is the nicest and most critical work ever given to mortals, to deal with minds. Those who engage in this work should have clear discernment, and good powers of discrimination."—Id., p. 104.
The mental faculties are three—intellect, feeling, will. An appeal that is made to any one of these three faculties of the mind alone is not according to God's order, and is not productive of permanent results. For example, we might make too strong an appeal to the feelings, or emotions. The legitimate and successful way, however, is a properly balanced appeal to all three faculties, An appeal to the intellect alone, though it be ever so convincing, may not touch the springs of action in the heart at all, nor cause the hearer to will to turn to Christ. We must learn how to make people feel what we have made them think. Otherwise we will always be weak in "pulling them over the line."
All successful soul winners whose work has held fast have worked in harmony with these principles. We read concerning Luther's work : "His eloquence captivated his hearers, the clearness and power with which he presented the truth convinced their understanding, and his fervor touched their hearts." Thus the "citadel" was taken.
There is a vast difference between soul convincing and soulsaving. By sound logic and unanswerable arguments, a speaker may convince the mind of an individual, and then, without having taken the citadel of his heart, by dominant influence and sheer force of will, sweep him off his feet into the baptismal pool and on into the church. And again, a speaker may play too strongly upon an individual's emotions or feelings, thus submerging his will and placing his heart under the control of his emotions rather than under the control of his convinced intellect. In either case the results are seldom permanent or satisfactory. "It is not God's purpose that any human being should yield his mind and will to the control of another, becoming a passive instrument in his hands."—"Ministry of Healing," p. 242.
The science of soulsaving contemplates taking the citadel of the heart by Christ's method of gaining the respectful attention, properly developing that attention into rapt interest, and then creating such a desire as will legitimately touch the springs of action in the heart, and result in a definite resolve to turn to Christ. And all this is accomplished, in so far as we are concerned, by making the proper impression upon the mind.'