There was a young minister once preaching very earnestly
in a certain chapel, and he had to walk some four or five
miles to his home along a country road after the service.
A young man, who had been deeply impressed under the
sermon, requested the privilege of walking with the minister,
with an earnest hope that he might get an opportunity of
obtaining some word of guidance or comfort.
Instead of that, the young minister all the way along told
the most singular tales to those who were with him, causing
loud roars of laughter, and even relating tales which
bordered upon the indecorous. They stopped at a certain
house, and the whole evening was spent in frivolity and
foolish talking.
Some years after, when the minister had grown old, he
was sent for to the bedside of a dying man. He hastened
there with a heart desirous to do good. He was requested to
sit down at the bedside, and the dying man, looking intently
at him, said to him, "Do you remember preaching in such-
and-such a village on such an occasion?" "I do," said the
minister. "I was one of your hearers," said the man, "and I
was deeply impressed by the sermon."
"Thank God for that," said the minister.
"Stop!" said the man, "don't thank God till you have heard
the whole story; you will have reason to alter your tone
before I am done." The minister changed countenance, but
he little guessed what would be the full extent of that
man's testimony.
The dying man said, "Sir, do you remember, after you had
finished that earnest sermon, I with some others walked
home with you? I was sincerely desirous of being led in the
right path that night; but I heard you speak in such a strain of
levity, and with so much coarseness too, that I went outside
the house, while you were sitting down to your evening meal;
I stamped my foot upon the ground; I said that you were a
liar, that Christianity was a falsehood, that if you could
pretend to be so in earnest about it in the pulpit, and then
come down and talk like that, the whole thing must be a
sham; and I have been an infidel," said he, "a confirmed
infidel, from that day to this. But I am not an infidel at
this moment. I know better; I am dying, and I am about to be
damned; and at the bar of God I will lay my damnation to
your charge; my blood is on your head!"
And with a dreadful shriek, and one demoniacal glance at
the trembling minister, he shut his eyes and died.