He was a blacksmith, and a most wretchedly wicked man. He knew
everything that is blatant and blasphemous in infidelity. He
hated everything that is good, and loved everything that is bad.
He studied to make himself an irritation to all who believed God,
not even sparing his wife, who did the best she could in the
patience and kingdom of Jesus. This man was given up as altogether
beyond moral recovery, and so indeed he seemed. Prayer was made as
though he had no existence; churches were opened and shut, but
never with reference to him; the gospel was preached and mercy
offered, but no one connected him with God’s message to the world.
A few miles back in the country from the blacksmith’s town there
lived an old couple. Father and Mother Brown. They were close to
ninety years of age. Theirs had been lives of conscious acceptance
with God and of patient unremitting devotedness to Him; and they were
waiting without sorrow and without fear for the promised home-coming.
Very early one morning the old man awoke, terribly agitated, and
began to call his wife: "Get up, wife! Get up!" "Why, old man?" she
said. "What is the matter?" He answered: "I can't tell you now
what’s the matter; for I must start a fire in the kitchen. I want
you to get breakfast ready as soon as you can; for I've got to go
to town this morning."
"You go to town this morning?!" she exclaimed. "Why, you are out
of your head. You can't go to town. You haven't any way of going,
and I know you can't walk." "Don’t tell me what I can't do," the
old man persisted. "I tell you, I've got to go to town. I had a
dream last night, and—well, I'll go and make the fire, then tell
you about it."
His wife followed him, the breakfast was prepared and when the meal
was over the old man started for town. It was a long and weary
way for an old man to walk, but some strange strength was supplied
him and without stopping to rest he kept on. The village was reached.
Through the main street he trudged, then into the narrow cross street
and made it to the shop of "Devil John," the blacksmith.
"Father Brown!" he exclaimed in great amazement. "What are you doing
here, and so early in the morning?" The old man answered: "That’s
just what I've come to tell you. Let’s go inside, where I can sit
down; for I am tired."
Together they went into the shop, and when seated the old man said:
"John, I had a dream last night, and I've come to tell you about
it. I dreamed that the hour I have thought about so much and tried
to keep ready for so long was come. It was my time to die. And it
was just like I thought it was going to be; for it was just as the
Lord promised it should be. I wasn't the least bit afraid. How could
I be? My room was full of angels, and they all spoke to me, and I
loved them, and know they loved me. Then some of them stooped and
slipped their arms under me and away we went. Beyond the hills and
beyond the clouds we mounted through the starry skies. Oh, how they
sang! I never heard anything like it in my Life. On we swept, and on,
till one of them said: ‘Look yonder, now; there’s heaven!’
"Oh, John, I can't tell you how I felt when I was in sight of heaven;
nor can I tell you what I saw when I looked. I don’t believe any
one could tell it. It was so peaceful, so beautiful, so pure, and
so glorious! As we drew nearer, I saw the gates swinging open, and
with even faster wings than we had come we swept through them into
the city. Such a welcome! Welcome from everybody; all so glad;
every hill seemed robed in gladness; it was in the fragrance of the
flowers, in the music of every harp, in the song of every tongue,
in the grasp of every hand; gladness everywhere, because I had come.
Why, they made over me like I was somebody, when I was only a poor
man saved by Jesus blood.
I found all my children there—not one of them lost—my boy that you
used to be with and play with so much when you went to school
together, was there, and your old mother, who was in my classes
when I went to school. And after a time—I don’t know how long it
was—I saw the same angels who brought me, bring another; and it
was my dear, sweet wife. I loved her more than ever when they
brought her to me there. She was fairer than the day we married.
We sat under the trees of life together, and walked by the river
that flows from the throne of God. So happy! And I saw angels
bringing in others—others that I love and you love. And so the
years of eternity rolled.
"Then, John, all at once it came to me that I hadn't seen you
anywhere. I set out to look for you. I went into every street,
asked everybody, but could get no trace of you. I was distressed
more than you can know; and I went to the Lord, my precious
Saviour, and asked Him where you were. And, 0 John, that you
could have seen how sorry He was when He told me that you hadn't come.
‘Not come!’ I said ‘Why didn't John come?’ And He wept, as I
suppose He often did when He was down here, and told me, 'Nobody
ever asked John to come.’ Oh, I fell at His feet I bathed them
with my tears. I laid my cheeks upon them and cried: ‘Blessed
Lord! Just let me out of here half an hour, and I'll go and ask
him to come. I'll give him an invitation.’ And right then and
there I woke up. It was beginning to get light in the east, and I
was so glad that I was alive, so I could come and ask you to go
to heaven and now here I am: and I have told you my dream, and
want you to go."
With other words the old man urged the royal invitation, but
the blacksmith stood as one petrified. He could not speak nor
move. Father Brown got up, and saying, "Good-bye, John; remember
you've got the invitation; remember you are asked to come," took
his staff and started home.
The blacksmith seemed to come to himself, and, as one recovering
from a magician’s charm, he set out to pursue the labors of the
day. But everything went wrong—the bellows would not work right,
the hammer would not strike right, the nails would not go in
right, the horses would not stand right. "Oh God, be merciful
to me, a sinner!" He began to sob at last, and leaving the shop,
he went home. He told his wife of Father Brown’s visit. "Blessed
be God!" she said. "We will send the horse and buggy and have
him come back." "Yes," he added, ‘for I mean to accept the
invitation, and I want him to pray to God to keep me true and
steadfast to the end."
~ Author Unknown ~
THE GREAT INVITATION
The Spirit and the Bride say:."Come." Let each one who hears
them say, "Come." Let the thirsty ones come--anyone who wants
to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge.
Revelation 22:17 NLT
However, those the Father has given me will come to me,
and I will never reject them.
John 6:37 NLT
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that
which was lost.
Luke 19: 10 KJV
Love Was When
1 John 4:19
We love him, because He first loved us.
Love was when God became a man,
Locked in time and space, without rank or place;
Love was God born of Jewish kin;
Just a carpenter with some fishermen;
Love was when Jesus walked in history,
Lovingly He brought a new life that's free,
Love was God nailed to bleed and die
To reach and love one such as I.
Love was when God became a man,
Down where I could see love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.
Love was when Jesus met me, now it's real;
Lovingly He came, I can feel He's real!
Love was God, only He would try
To reach and love one such as I.
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