As Told by the Last of the Six
By C. H. Lancaster
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
There are generally in each community some who are ever ready to point the finger of scorn at true religion and to mock the saints of God who have a burden upon their hearts for the lost. Not a few times have we known personally of individuals who have thus been “destroyed, and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1). Those who take special delight in scorning and mocking God’s people shall not go unpunished. The story of the end of six mockers was published some years ago by A. T. Worden, who heard the story from the lips of the last survivor of the six.
The sad story opens with the scene of a terrible railroad wreck, caused by an open switch at a small station called Oakleys. The wounded men were taken into the station, and immediately a surgeon and nurses were called to the scene. Mr. Worden was on the wrecked train, but uninjured. He says, “I was called to the side of a well dressed man, propped up in a broken car seat, in the corner of the station. The man’s back was broken, but he suffered little pain, and after a short conversation he requested me to listen to his story for the benefit of the world. He said that ten years previously, while traveling for a drug store in New York, one night he found himself in a barroom of a hotel in H_____ County, New York. He said that night the conversation turned upon a religious revival then in progress in the village. The leader of the revival was a white haired old man of gentle appearance, upon whom the rowdies had played many pranks and had gone unrebuked. The efforts of the revival had reached some of the attendants of the barroom who had been converted and this had created bitterness against those in charge of the revival. Upon this occasion rude jokes went around, and as the drinking went on, the language became coarser and coarser. Some one asked how the meetings were concluded and a half drunken young man said he would show them if five persons would assist him. Here the victim of that terrific railroad wreck — a dying man — related the sad story. Wiping the sweat of excitement from his brow, he said,” “What I am telling you is the truth as sure as I stand on the verge of eternity. Six of us knelt down on the floor of that barroom and mocked God. Six of us prayed to God to forgive us our sins, simulating the tears of repentance. We closed the performance with a hymn we had learned at our mother’s knee — Rock of Ages. When we got through we were alone in the barroom. Horror-stricken, the rest had gone shuddering home.”
Here the injured man paused a moment to rest, and a sigh of horror went up from the crowd who had gathered around to hear the story. Resuming, he said, “Were it a tale of the middle ages or a story of the times of the Crusaders, what I am about to tell you would not seem strange, but it is a story of our day, placed between the years of 1878 and 1888. There were six of us. In less than a year the hotelkeeper stumbled, and falling, ruptured a blood vessel and died. Nothing strange, you say, but mark this — it was a violent death. Two years later the young man who proposed the act, while with a hunting party at a country house, got up in the night to get a drink of water, and falling to the lower floor, broke his neck, and lived only two days. The third year Tom, a light-hearted fellow, the one who was the noisiest in the mock service, opening the wrong door in his house, fell to the bottom of the cellar and broke his neck. I began to be curious as to my two remaining companions in revelry. One of them thought it would break the sequence of events to go west. I heard of him; he had become a conductor on a western road, and a newspaper item brought the story of his death in 1885. He was crushed between the bumpers and died in agony. There were two of us left. Last year I found my remaining companion. He was sunken in poverty, his wife and family dead. One night a fall of six feet from a saloon door broke his neck. Since that time I have been waiting. Today it came, and in ten years the six men who performed that daring, impious feat have been taken away by violent death.”
“Well, the scientific man can show how the chances or probabilities of human destiny might run in such grooves, but there is no consolation for me in such a demonstration. It is easy to follow such reasoning when your limbs and the springs of life are bubbling with vitality, but in my case it is worse than idle romancing. The cold facts are there. I prefer to believe that there are limits to man’s apparent freedom. Passing those limits we infringe on the prerogative of God. Who was that fellow that caught his own blood as it flowed from a wound in his heart and tossed it skyward?” “Julian the apostate,” I said. “Yes, he tossed his blood skyward and said, ‘O Galilean,* thou hast conquered,’ and so I say. If you will put my story in print, there are hundreds who will read it and recall some of the circumstances. I have told you a true story. Lift my head up higher, higher, O Galilean.”
“Change his name from the list of the dangerously wounded to killed,” said an official at my side.
* Galilean was a reference to Jesus Christ.
The End of Six Mockers was slightly revised, and may be reproduced and distributed.