PIE IN THE SKY
THE little church was filled when we arrived. The people were seated on long, rough-hewn, backless benches arranged in rows facing the platform. A few people, however, sat on chairs wth comfortable backs. Their elegant attire contrasted with the rags worn by the others. Even I could tell the mill owner and his family at a glance.
The preacher was standing in his pulpit on the platform addressing the congregation:
". . . and he brought them down from the mountains. Gave them work, gave them houses to live in. He opened his stores and gave them goods on credit. Just like Mr. Weaver does for you." He turned to Mr. Weaver and nodded and smiled. Mr. Weaver smiled and nodded back. "He built them schools, churches, just like the one you're in now, to enable them to give due praise to the Almighty Lord. And how did they repay him? Like snakes in the grass they turned on him!
"Take care that you too do not fret or murmur and bite the hand that's feeding you. For it will greatly offend the Almighty God, who has by his providence made you laborers because no doubt, He knew what conditions are best for each of us in this world, so as better to help us toward Heaven, if you but do what duty he has assigned you here. Any discontentment on your part is quarrelling with your Heavenly Master and finding fault with God Himself, who hath made you what you are and hath promised unto you a large share in the Kingdom of Heaven -- a share as great as that of the richest man alive. If you will but behave yourself aright and go about the business He hath set you in this world, honestly, cheerfully and loyally. Riches and power have proven the ruin of many unhappy souls by drawing away their hearts and affections from God and fixing them on mean and sinful enjoyments. So that when God, who knows our hearts better than we know ourselves, sees that they would be hurtful to us and therefore keeps them from us, it is the greatest mercy of kindness he could show us.
"But should you not accept the word of God, death is the wages of disobedience, the everlasting fire prepared by the Devil! It is a fire which shall last forever. And the Devil and all people who will not serve and love God, shall be punished for evermore. The Bible says, 'The smoke of their torments ascendeth up forever and forever.' Amen."