Last night Sam was at "The Fighting Rooster"

(James Smith, "
God is Merciful" 1858)

"God is merciful!" said old Mrs. Jenkins, as she came from the funeral home where drunken Sam Voller was just laid out. Last night Sam was at "The Fighting Rooster" and drank too much beer, then he quarreled, a fight followed, and Sam got an unlucky blow — and now he has gone to appear before his Maker, to give an account of the deeds!

Yes, Mrs. Jenkins, God is merciful — but not always. God is merciful — but not to all. There was no mercy for the world of the ungodly, who perished in the flood. Nor was there any mercy for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were consumed by fire from heaven.

Neither can we see, though we do not wish to judge harshly of our poor fellow-creatures, how there could be mercy for Sam — who lived in sin, died in sin, and died in consequence of his sin. "He who confesses and forsakes his sin — shall find mercy;" but how can he hope for mercy — who hardens himself in sin, and perseveres in it until summoned to appear before God to give an account of it?

"There is mercy with God — that He may be feared," not that He may be trifled with, and insulted to His face!

Mercy may now be obtained by any one and every one who seeks it. But the Lord, who is now so merciful and gracious — will by and by manifest His wrathful indignation; and say to those who now refuse to come when He calls them, "Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!" Terrible words — called forth by persevering in sin, and inflicting a terrible doom! May no reader of these lines, ever endure the threatening contained in them!

In vain for mercy now they cry;
In lakes of liquid fire they lie;
There on the flaming billows tossed,
Forever — O, forever, lost!