Tuesday, May 17, 2011
NO ONE INVITED JOHN "THE WICKED BLACKSMITH"
A few miles back in the country from the blacksmith's town there lives an old couple, Father and Mother Brown. They were close to ninety years of age. Theirs were lives of conscious acceptance with God and of patient, waiting without sorrow and without fear for the promised home-going.
Very early one morning the old man awoke, terribly agitated, and began to call his wife, "Get up, wife! Get up!"
His wife followed him; the breakfast was prepared; and when the meal was over, the old man started to town. It was a long and weary way for an old man to walk, but some strange strength was supplied him and without stopping to rest he kept on. The village was reached. Through the main street he trudged, and into the narrow cross street and to the shop of "Devil John," the blacksmith.
"Farmer Brown!" he exclaimed in great amazement. "What are you doing here, and so early in the morning?"
The old man answered, "That's just what I've come to tell you. Let's go inside where I can sit down for I am tired.
Oh John, I can't tell you how I felt when I was in sight of heaven; nor can I tell what I saw when I looked. I don't believe anyone could tell it. It was so peaceful, so beautiful, so glorious! as we drew nearer, I saw the gates swinging open; and with even faster wing we than we come we swept through them into the city. Such a welcome! Welcome fragrance of the flowers, in the music for every harp, in the song of every tongue, in the grasp of every hand; gladness was everywhere because I had come. Why, they made over me like I was somebody, when I was only a poor sinner saved by Jesus' Blood. I found all my children there--not one of them lost--my boy that you used to be with and play with so much when you went to school together was there, and your old mother, who was in my classes when I went to school. And after a time-I don't know how long it was--I saw the same angels that brought me, bring another; and it was my dear sweet wife. I loved her more than ever when they brought her to me there. She was fairer than the day we married. We sit under the tree of life together and walked by the river that flows from the Throne of God. So happy! And I saw angels bringing in others--others that I love and you love. And so the years of ETERNITY rolled.
With other words the old man urged the Royal invitation, but the blacksmith stood as one petrified. He could not speak nor move. Father Brown got up and saying "Good-bye, John; remember you've got an invitation; remember you are asked to come," took his staff and started for home.
The blacksmith seemed to come to himself; and as one recovering from a magician's charm, he sit out to pursue the labors of the day. But everything went wrong--the bellows would not work right, the hammers would not strike right, the nails would not go in right, the horses would not stand right. "O God, be merciful to me a sinner!" he began to sob at last; leaving the shop, he went home. He told his wife of Father Brown's visit. "Blessed be God!" she said, "We will send the horse and buggy and have him come back." "Yes," he added, "for I mean to accept the invitation; and I want him to pray to God to keep me true and steadfast to the end."