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Hope or Fear?

A man went to visit a prisoner in jail and was puzzled by the prisoner's happy face until he told him the following story:

"Three years ago I was condemned to death for murder. You can imagine that my cell became a little hell. The thought of approaching death tortured me day and night. Only a few more weeks and I should be in eternity. I could neither eat nor sleep, so I decided to make a rope from my torn bedsheets with which to hang myself. Only the fear of eternity held me back as suicide would hasten my arrival there. One day I found a gospel tract which had been sent to me. I scanned through the contents which I considered to be nonsense and threw it into the corner. Later, however, I picked it up again and read it through. Thinking over it I paced up and down in my cell. A strange, and hitherto unknown feeling seemed to possess me—a longing to be delivered from the awful fear. In the leaflet stood the words, "The Son of God is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Lost! yes, surely, I was lost. But how could I be saved? How could I get rid of the heavy burden? I managed to get hold of a Bible and began to read it, still filled with this strange feeling swaying between hope and fear. Then I found the words, "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Was that really possible? I fell on my knees and pleaded with God for mercy and I found forgiveness and peace. Later my death penalty was changed to life imprisonment, but I knew that I had been given eternal life through Jesus Christ."

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