Saturday, 28 March 2015

"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild" Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

JOHN B. GOUGH with a friend one day went up to a small garret room. A feeble voice said, "Come in!" and they entered. Through the gloom they saw a boy, ten years old, lying on a heap of chips. "What are you doing there?" they asked. "Hush !" he replied; "I am hiding." As he showed his bruised and swollen arms, he added : "Poor father got drunk and beat me because I would not steal. . . . Once I went to ragged school and they taught me Thou shalt not steal, and told me about God in heaven. I will not steal, sir, if my father kills me." 

The friend said: "I don't know what to do with you. Here is a shilling. I will see what we can do for you." The boy looked at it a minute, and then said: "But please, sir, wouldn't you like to hear my little hymn?" They marveled that a lad suffering from cold and hunger and bruises could sing a hymn; but they answered : "Yes, we will hear you." And then in a low, sweet voice he sang, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild." At the conclusion he said : "That's my little hymn. Good-by." 

Next morning they mounted the stairs again, knocking at the door, but there came no answer. They opened the door and went in. The shilling lay on the floor, and there too lay the boy dead, but with a brave smile on his face. He sleeps in the grave until that day when His "Gentle Jesus" will take him home to heaven.


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