by Inglis Fleming
Almost all my young readers have enjoyed looking at the blacksmith in his town or village smithy, and have watched the shoes being made in readiness, or the horses being shod. The roaring fire, the flashing sparks, the swing of the hammer, and the ring of the anvil, together with the strength of the blacksmith, have all attracted attention, and occasioned remarks.
Let me relate to you part of an interesting story which I have read about a strong young man named Jim, who earned his living by following the blacksmith’s trade. It may carry with it an important lesson, and be used to your blessing.
Jim had been respectably and religiously trained, but fell into drinking habits, and squandered his hard-earned savings, and some other money which came into his possession at the death of near relatives. He was fast becoming a mere slave of his degrading passion, when he awoke one morning with severe palpitation of the heart. This alarmed him so much that he hastened to a doctor, who told him to go home and rest quietly, taking the medicine prescribed by him.
“If I’ve got to die I may as well be at my work as lying idle on my bed,” Jim thought; and so, despite the doctor’s orders, to his forge he went.
While at his work, the question pressed itself upon him, “If you should die, what then?” Labouring the harder, he endeavoured to drown the solemn enquiry; but all in vain. “If you should die, what then?” was asked again and again. Work was impossible in his weak condition. Burdened with his sin, the fear of death, and that which comes after it—the judgment, filled his soul, and he became increasingly miserable.
Regaining strength, for twelve months he sought rest, and found none. There was no longer any satisfaction in drinking, and, in spite of his fears, he was ashamed to be seen going to hear the gospel of the blessed God. At length he was asked by a friend to go with him to hear the glad tidings proclaimed. Gladly now he accepted the invitation, and went. The sweet message of God’s free and full salvation for sinners through our Lord Jesus Christ was simply told. Poor Jim saw that he was guilty before God, lost and ruined; and owning his condition, was enabled to cast himself there and then, just as he was, upon Christ, and to trust in His precious blood, which cleanseth from all sin. Joy and gladness at once took the place of his fears and misery, and Jim patiently bore witness to the saving grace of God.
My story is ended; but as I close let me ask you, my dear young reader, “If YOU should die, what then?”
Scattered Seed 1892, p. 25