Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Some years ago I was making a tour in Wales with my father, during which he one day found himself walking along a lane where he observed a man leaning over a gate, apparently engaged in watching the laborers at their work in the field before him. My father joined him, and, entering into a conversation, found that he was a farmer, and the field which was engaging his attention belonged to the farm he rented. This opened up further conversation, and before they parted, my father, putting his hand in his pocket, produced a bundle of tracts, from which he selected that at the top, and asked the farmer to accept it.
As the farmer complied, the clergyman of the parish turned into the lane, and witnessing the transfer of the tract to the farmer, went up to him and said, “I saw a gentlemen give you that tract. Will you let me look at it?”
As the farmer handed the tract to the clergyman, he said, - “It will do to light my pipe with.”
The clergyman, looking at it, replied – “it will do for nothing of the kind. Is it not remarkable providence that a perfect stranger should take a bundle of tracts out of his pocket, and hand you one, and that one should be exactly suited to your own case? You know that drunkenness has been your besetting sin, and that I have hitherto striven in vain to point out to you, that a continuance in such a course must end in present and everlasting sorrow. Do take this tract home with you; read it with prayer; and may God bless it to you!”

While this conversation was going on, my father had left the lane a long way behind, and being an old man, had grown weary with his walk; and seeing a cottage by the roadside he tapped at the door, and asked permission to enter and sit down. This was readily granted: and no sooner had he taken his seat, than he observed a little boy seated beside him.
“Why, my little man,” said my father, “you should not be here, you should have a little dog trained to take you to school, and there you should learn to read with the raised letters.”
The little fellow burst into tears. As soon as he was pacified, he said, - “Oh sir, I had a little dog, and I used to go to school and learn to read from the raised letters, when one day the tax-gatherer came and demanded the dog-tax, and because my father could not pay it, the tax-gatherer took away the clock instead of the money for the tax, and my father in a rage drowned the dog.”
No sooner was this sad tale told than my father shouldered his stick, and setting off for the country town hard by, wrote to the authorities, and detailing the case, declared that he would give them no rest until another dog was provided exempt from tax.
He was requested to meet the tax-gatherer in open court, and to bring his protégé with him on a day appointed. This he did. The statement of the little blind boy was verified, and it was decided that a blind boy’s dog did not come within the pale of the law, and that no tax should be charged if a successor could be found to take the place of the dog which had been destroyed. This my father soon accomplished, and we proceeded on our tour, and the little blind boy returned home with the strict injunction to lose no time in going to school and learning to read.

Some six weeks or so after, my father, finding himself once more in the same neighborhood, proceeded to the village school, so as to make quite sure that his young friend was there, and on opening the door, the first object that met his eye was the little blind boy, with his new dog lying by his side; but before my father had time to speak to him, the clergyman of the parish came up to him, and shaking him very warmly by the hand, expressed his great pleasure in seeing my father once more, for he wished to tell him that the tract given six weeks before had not only resulted in the drunkard becoming a sober man, but, so far as could be judged, in a mightier change than that – even from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God."
W.D.C.., in “The Christian.”

I have read this story three times now and with each reading I well up at the part where the old man immediately shouldered his stick and set off for the town to get justice for this little boy. I’m not sure why that moves me so deeply; it may be, having lost my father as a boy, to see someone take a child under his wing strikes a sensitive chord in me. But all I do know is, this man is what I consider to be a true Christian, displaying in the simplest fashion all the elements of - “Justice, mercy and faithfulness.”
Photo from internet


Mel said...

Thanks for sharing this amazing story, Fred! I can't wait to read it to my kids! Faith, love, compassion--they don't even exist if they aren't expressed in action. Praise God that the man in the story was willing to give of his time, energy, creativity, heart, love, and passion to bless another human being in need. May we all be as selfless!

Bless you!

Love in Christ,

ForHisSake said...

WOW! How these stories restore my hope and bring such encouragement to my soul. How I wish they were common place. But, it seems down through history, they have been the exception and not the rule.

One must ponder why that is. If they move people, which they do, why not enough to cause others to do the same. Maybe there is some truth to the depravity of fallen man?

Absolutely love the photo. I am a dog lover. I always joke with people that don't care for dogs, saying, "You know studies have shown that those who don't like dogs have severe intimacy issues that effect all of their human relationships". Boy, does that get the conversation started. Opinions flying everywhere!

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
You are welcome and thank you for making me think what a good story this is for grandkids. I have seen stories and moving videos really impact children. Without a steady flow of positive encouragement I soon begin to wither, how much more children in this culture.
Bless you back,

Hi D.L.,
You bring up some good questions. Think about it; in books and movies these themes always bring us to tears or move us to admiration, but somehow in the daily rush of living we forget them and settle into commonplace.
But that's what's good about blogging, we stir up these noble themes and become more ready to take advantage of opportunities, don't you think?
God bless,

ForHisSake said...

Absolutely! That is one of the wonderful ways God is using the internet and blogging in particular.

Regardng the impact of stories on children. The "Emperor's New Clothes" was a story that had a major impact on me as a child. I believe it was one thing that kept me from following the masses and being vulnerable to peer pressure in my youth.

It instilled in me the desire to be honest and speak the truth even when it goes against what the masses are saying and it taught me how vulnerable we all are to the desire to be accepted and to be seen as one of the "elite" even if that means we have to lie to achieve that.

Just recently, I was talking about the impact on my life as a child that this story had, to two co-workers (a 23 year old mother and a 31 year old mother). Neither one had ever read it to their children--in fact, neither one had even heard of it.

Guess what those two young mothers will be getting from me for Christmas?

fcb4 said...

great story...I'm off to deal with "issues". Oh how I wish that these were the stories we would tell. Instead I waste my little energy on stuff that amounts to nothing. I pray that us Christians could get a vision that takes us from the petty stuff towards things that really love, justice and mercy. Just imagine if our time was taken up with living like this...there would be no time left to complain, gossip, malign, stew or devour. Love is busy.