Oh, That Satin!

by James Smith, 1860


A young woman in London had been employed to make satin stocks, and by contriving and working in the odd bits for bows, etc, she had managed in course of time to save enough to make herself a dress. With the views she then had, she considered that she came honestly by it, and anticipated much pleasure in wearing it. But before it was made up, she was laid upon a sick bed. A minister of Christ visited her, and she appeared to derive much light and comfort from his visits; and as there was no hope of her life, he expected to find her happy in the prospect of death, and then see her depart in peace. But one morning when he visited her, he was surprised to find her very sad and sorrowful, something oppressed her spirits, and filled her with distress. In answer to his inquiries, she told him the circumstances; her conscience was now made tender, and her soul was full of trouble. She now found that she had not done right, death terrified her, and with a piercing look, and a cry of anguish she exclaimed, "Oh, that satin! I wish it was out of the house!" Death was near, eternity was just at hand, there was guilt on her conscience; and what was intended to feed her pride now filled her with grief!

Reader, are you scrupulously honest? Do you hold what belongs to others sacred, even when it is in your power? It is to be feared that many do not. They have a low standard of morals. They manage to quiet their consciences, while they purloin from their employers. They imagine they shall never be detected, and therefore they need not fear. But things appear very different in the light of eternity to what they do in the light of time. Death often startles the sinner, and fills his conscience with alarm. The thought of appearing before the judgment seat of Christ, to answer for the deeds done in the body, and that soon makes the guilty, cowards; and even hardened sinners quail.

Then it appears to be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Then with shame and confusion of face, secret sins must be confessed, or conscience will not cease to accuse. And then Satan who tempted to sin, takes advantage of the sinner's state, and tempts him to despair. Let us do nothing now, upon which we cannot look with satisfaction on a death-bed; or for which we cannot give a good account at the judgment seat of Christ.

The young woman I have referred to, spent much time and thought in saving out enough satin from her employer's material, for a new dress, and no doubt admired her ingenuity, and looked forward to the pleasure she should enjoy in wearing it. But she was disappointed. Not only disappointed but that from which she expected pleasure, was the cause of her bitterest sorrow!

Let us beware, for we too must die! On a dying pillow our consciences may be awakened, and our last moments may be embittered by that, from which we are now expecting pleasure. If we have sinned in any such way let us deeply deplore it, frankly confess it before God, plead the blood of Jesus for our pardon, and if possible make restitution to man; for without this, we cannot prove our repentance to be sincere.

O what a mercy it is for us, that pardon may be obtained! O how thankful we should be, that God is ready to forgive, and that he has promised abundantly to pardon! O what a glorious truth it is for sinners that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin! Let us then seek pardon through that blood for the past, and let us also seek grace for the future that we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.

Young friends, if ever tempted to take what is not your own, or in any way to appropriate to your own nse what belongs to another think of this young woman. O if you could have heard her cry, and have seen her distressed countenance when she cried, "Oh, that satin! I wish it was out of the house!" You would never have forgotten her, you never could. Gracious Lord, give us tenderness of conscience, an eye that will quickly discern sin, and an honest heart that we may provide things honest in the sight of all men, and when we come to be on a sick, or dying bed may we have your peace, and rejoice ia the prospect of departing to be with Christ. Amen.