Not A bit Afraid by Anonymous
"Yes, I know it's a serious case; the doctor said so. But I don't trouble myself about that; I'm not a bit afraid."
"But you told me just now that you had not attended to religion a great deal. You know this is the first time I ever saw you; so I know nothing about you but what you tell me. I suppose, in fact, you have lived like many more, without much thought about your soul?"
"Yes, sir, that's it."
"And yet you are not afraid?"
"No, sir, I don't feel afraid at all. I'm not troubled in my mind. I have been no wise wicked."
The minister looked grave.
"You mean you have not been a thief, or a great drinker, or a swearer, or a liar, or anything of that sort?"
"No, no; I have not been anything of the kind. I know plenty who have; but I've always tried to live respectable."
"Well, but do you mean to say you are not a sinner?"
"Oh, we are all sinners, of course."
"But does not that mean anything? Does it not signify being a sinner?"
"I've never done anything bad in particular, as I know of. At all events, I don't feel afraid."
"I wish you did," said the minister earnestly; "I wish you did with all my heart. I know I should if I were you."
The sick man looked surprised; but he made no answer, so the minister went on.
"As for me, I could not speak as you do. I know that I am a poor sinner; and that, but for my Saviour, I must be lost for ever. But I have gone to Him, and sought His blood to wash away my sins, and I do humbly believe in Him; and He, and He alone, takes my fear away. You have told me what you feel, and now I have told you what I feel."
"Well, that's all right, sir, no doubt," was all the sick man said. The minister went on again:
"Oh, my friend, it will never do to say you are not afraid while you have not gone to Christ; you ought to be afraid, you have good reason to be afraid. I must be plain with you. I dare not build you up with false hopes. Don't you know that you must stand before God, and give account for all your life? Don't you know about the great judgment day, when the books will be opened? These books will have in them all you have ever done in your life. Can you face that? Are you not afraid when you think of that? There will be another book opened then, the book of life. That will contain the names of all who are saved by Jesus Christ. And everybody else (do you remember that?) will be cast into the lake of fire. You know you have not lived to God, you know you have not sought Christ, your religion has been nothing but a name; and, say what you will, you know quite well that you have often and often done wrong. Now, how can you say you are not afraid?"
The man shifted uneasily on his bed.
"Perhaps," said he, "I ought to be more afraid than I am."
"Yes, indeed you ought. I don't want to give you pain, I want to comfort you; but I dare not give you false comfort. I want you to see the truth. You are a poor sinner in need of a Saviour. You may think lightly of your sins now, and hardly call them sins at all; but if you saw them as they really are, oh how black they would look to you! I pray God to teach you to see yourself, and to see your sins, now, before the books are opened. And now let me speak to you about Jesus Christ. He pitied us poor sinners, and came and died on the cross to save us. Thousands have been saved by Him. He has never turned one away who went to Him for salvation. I hope I have gone. I know I have. I could not rest in my bed if I had not. I want you to go to Him too. He calls you to Him. Just as you are, He bids you look to Him and be saved. He is willing to be your Saviour. Now, remember, now, He is willing to be your Saviour. Do not put this off. Sometimes people put away such thoughts because they trouble them. Oh, do not you do so. Here you are alone on your bed away from everybody. Now pray, pray for the Holy Spirit to teach your heart, pray that Jesus may be your Saviour. Let me pray with you before I go."
And the minister knelt down and prayed. And when he rose from his knees, the sick man held out his hand, and his eyes were wet with tears, and he did not say again that he was not afraid; but he said in a low voice, "I hope God will forgive me. You'll come and see me again, sir?"