God Is Not Mocked
Due to an open switch, a serious railroad accident happened near a little wayside station called Oakley’s Creek, in 1888. With an air-splitting crash, the wrecked train shuddered and lay silent along the tracks. The wounded victims, whose cries, began to fill the air, were taken inside, to be attended on, by doctors and nurses, who were soon on hand.
A hopelessly injured passenger, whose back was broken, was propped up on a broken car seat in a corner of the station. He had something very important to say. So he called one of the unhurt passengers to his side and told him the following story.
Ten years ago, he said, he happened to be with some of his companions in a barroom of a hotel in upper New York. They were ridiculing a religious revival then in progress in that city. Drinking and jesting they used the coarsest language to describe the events connected with the revival. A drunken young man, with the assistance of a few others, offered to demonstrate how the religious meetings were conducted.
Wiping the sweat of excitement from his brow, the fatally injured passenger narrated.
“What I am telling you is the truth as sure as I stand on the verge of eternity. Six of us.” He said, “knelt down on the floor of the barroom and burlesqued God. Mockingly we prayed to God to forgive our sins, even simulating the tears of repentance. We closed the performance with ‘Rock Of Ages,’ a hymn we had learned at our mothers’ knees. Before we finished, the barroom was empty. Horror-stricken at our insolent actions, the other drinkers had left.”
The group of people who had gathered around the injured man could not help but shudder as they listened to his story—how they defied God, scoffed at Christianity, and derided the work of the revival leader, a white-haired man upon whom the rowdies had played many pranks.
“There were six of us, “he continued, “who thus blasphemed the work of God. The punishment that was deserved did not come right away. The Lord gave us time to think about our sins, but we showed no repentance. Then we began to feel the hand of God against us.
“In less than a year the hotel-keeper stumbled and fell. In the accident he ruptured a blood vessel and died. Nothing strange, you might say; but mark this, it was a violent death.
“Two years later the young man who proposed the act was at a country house with a hunting party. Getting up at night to get a drink of water, he fell to the lower floor and broke his neck. Two days after the accident, he was dead.
“The third year, Tom, a light-hearted young man, the noisiest in the mock service, opened the wrong door in his house, fell to the cellar floor, and broke his neck.
“I Began to wonder about my two remaining companions in blasphemous revelry. One of them had gone West, where he became a conductor on one of the Western roads. Three years ago a newspaper item narrated the story of his death. He was crushed between two cars and died in agony.
“Only one of my companions was left. One night, last year, I found him—addicted to alcoholism and sunken in poverty. His wife and children were dead. That very night he slipped and fell from the saloon door, breaking his neck.
“Since then I, the last survivor, have been sorely afraid. I knew that my turn would come sooner or later. Today the time had come for me to meet my fate. I’m about to leave this world—without God and without salvation.
“Within ten years, the six of us who performed those blasphemous actions have been punished with violent death. This is more than a strange coincidence. It’s the hand of God meting out righteous judgments to those who have gone be yond the limits of his forbearance.
“Who was the fellow who caught his own blood as it flowed from a wound in his heart and tossed it skyward?
“Julian, the apostate,” replied one of the bystanders.
“Yes, emperor Julian tossed his blood skyward and said, ‘O Galilean, thou hast conquered,’ And, I say so, too.” The fatally wounded man added. “Please, put my story in print, some scoffers may read it and take it as an eye-opener.”
Soon after the man closed his eyes, an officer passed by and said, “Change his name from the list of the ‘wounded’ to the list of ‘killed.’”
A. T. Worden