What's Come to Dick?
by James Smith, 1860
Dick was an apprentice lad — apt to be thoughtless, noisy, and disagreeable. He lived without real happiness. For it is impossible for anyone to be happy, who lives without God. Dick neglected his bible, and was never concerned about his soul. He had a good master, a comfortable home, and was learning a profitable business — what more need he care for? He was free from pain, and as free from care — if he was not happy, who could be? But he was not happy, he would take his glass of ale, sing his song, be merry with his companions — but he was not happy. He needed something more — but he knew not what. There was every now and then — something working within, which indicated that all was not right. If ever he lay awake at night — some troublesome thoughts would annoy him. The Lord's day, when he had to attend the worship of God, was not pleasant to him. He wondered at times what ailed him. His master was a godly man, he was a happy man. Dick saw this — but ascribed it to his circumstances, and not to its real cause — the state of his heart. Reader, have you ever felt like Dick? Do you feel so now? If so, I will tell you a little more about him.
Dick sat under the preaching of the gospel. On one occasion he heard a sermon on death, and what follows it. The minister was very solemn, and very earnest. Dick's eye was fixed, his attention was riveted, his heart was affected. He went home very thoughtful. He saw for the first time — that he was a sinner, a great sinner. The more he thought, the more deeply was he convinced, and his sins became a heavy burden on his soul. He could not laugh, joke, or sing, as he used to do. He began to read his bible at meal times. He slipped away into his bed-room, or into a loft to pray. He cried to God for mercy. He confessed his sins to God, and begged him to pardon them. He desired above all things — a saving interest in Christ, and therefore he sought it with his whole heart.
He became quiet and obliging to all about him. The change was visible, everyone saw it — but could not account for it; and therefore the servant girl, who knew not the Lord, cried out one day, "What's come to Dick of late? He is so civil and silent?" Ah, poor Dick had enough to make him silent, for he was fearing the wrath of God — and he had something to make him civil, for he was experiencing the work of the Spirit of God. Guilt shuts a man's mouth before his fellow-creatures, and opens it before God to cry for mercy.
At length Dick found salvation peace. He was enabled to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in so doing he realized the pardon of sin, he was reconciled to God, and the burden was removed from his mind. He felt happy. The love of God flowed into his soul, and he loved God in return. He no longer feared hell — but rejoiced in hope of heaven. He was no longer alarmed at death — for the monster had lost his sting. He could enjoy life. He felt as if he could attend to business as well again. His eye sparkled, and in appearance and manner he was improved. He was a new creature, old things were passed away, and behold all things had become new. Well, may his fellow-servant say now, "What's come to Dick? He is so happy!"
Beloved, real religion will make any man happy. Many a poor apprentice boy has been made happy by it, and many a poor drudge of a servant, has felt that she would not change places with the queen. Do you, reader, know anything of this happiness? Are you a young lad, something like Dick was? Let me entreat you to do as Dick did, seek the Lord while you are yet young. You cannot seek him too early — though you may delay until it is too late. You are a sinner — whether you feel it or not. You need a Savior — whether you seek one or not. There is no Savior but Jesus, he alone can meet your desperate case — but he is both able and willing. At this moment he calls you, saying, "Come unto me!" Accept this invitation at once, come to Jesus, and be forever saved.