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The Strange Case of George Wilson (KJV)

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  • Format: Folded Tract
  • Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
  • Pages: 8
  • Version: KJV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the KJV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)

The Crime

On December 6, 1829, two men, George Wilson and James Porter, robbed a United States mail carrier in Pennsylvania. Both men were subsequently captured and tried. On May 1, 1830 both men were found guilty of six indictments which included robbery of the mail “and putting the life of the driver in jeopardy.” On May 27th both George Wilson and James Porter received their sentences: Execution by hanging. The sentences were to be carried out on July 2nd, 1830.

By today’s standards, this sentence seems very harsh. In the earlier days of American history the justice system more closely followed Biblical principles.

The system was both swift: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). And harsh: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).

James Porter was executed on schedule. George Wilson was not. Shortly before the set date a number of Wilson’s influential friends pleaded for mercy to the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, on behalf of their friend.

President Jackson issued a formal pardon. The charges resulting in the death sentence were completely dropped. Wilson would have to serve only a prison term of twenty years for his other crimes.

According to the official report, The United States Versus George Wilson (Peters 7 Report Sections 150-163) Wilson was returned to court as they attempted to “force” the pardon on him. It is recorded that George Wilson chose to: “… waive and decline any advantage or protection which might be supposed to arise from the pardon referred to.”

Incredibly, George Wilson Refused the Pardon

The case reached the Supreme Court. The Attorney-General made the following comments:

“The court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it.”

In other words, George Wilson committed a crime. He was tried and found guilty. He was sentenced to be executed. A presidential decree granted him a full pardon. But George Wilson chose rather to refuse that pardon. The courts concluded that the pardon could not be forced upon him.

George Wilson
Chose to Die!

Now that you have read George Wilson’s amazing story, you are probably saying: “How could anyone refuse a pardon for the death sentence? The man was a fool!”

What would you say if someone told you that you, too, were refusing a pardon? A pardon that would result in you spending eternity in the presence of God rather than eternal separation from God in Hell.

If you would like to learn more about the pardon God offers through Jesus Christ please continue reading. But before we get to the good news, we have to cover the bad news.

Have You
Committed a Crime?

God gave the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) as the standard of a righteous man. Be your own judge to see which commandments you have violated.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Has God held first place in your life, above the gods of pleasure, sports, money, and ambition?

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Are spiritual matters more important to you than material things?

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Have you always used the name of God and Jesus Christ in a reverent manner?

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Do you set aside time each week to worship God?

5. Honor thy father and thy mother. Have you always shown proper respect for your parents?

6. Thou shalt not kill. Jesus expanded this to say that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Jesus said that if a man looks at a woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart.

8. Thou shalt not steal. The value is not important.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Have you ever told a lie (a white lie, fib, exaggeration, etc)?

10. Thou shalt not covet. Have you ever had a strong desire for the possessions of others?

James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

Now, the wages of sin is death (eternal separation from God in hell (Romans 6:23). And because God is just, He must punish our sins. But because God is merciful, He Himself suffered the awful penalty when Jesus Christ, His Son, suffered all the wrath of God against our sins as He died on the cross of Calvary. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Will You Receive or
Reject the Pardon?

John says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

To “believe” means to depend upon or rely on much like a drowning person must believe (depend upon) a life guard to save his life.

Unless you accept the pardon, you remain condemned (He that believeth not is condemned already). Will you ask the Lord Jesus to save you?

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

George Wilson rejected the president’s pardon and lost his human life. But he was a fool. Will you reject God’s pardon as provided by Jesus Christ and loose your eternal life?

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Accepting the Pardon

God’s holiness demands that your sin be punished. Hell is God’s bench of justice for those who have broken His Law. Are you perfect or have you sinned against God? Who or what are you trusting in for salvation? Since you have sinned, do you now realize that you need a pardon?

Your pardon has been signed by God Himself. Now all you need to do is accept it. Until you do, you are accused, convicted, and condemned.

If you would like to receive the wonderful pardon of eternal life please receive God’s gift by trusting what Jesus has done for you. Call out to God and receive His pardon today:

“Dear God, I know I am a sinner, worthy of punishment, but I believe Jesus paid the penalty for my sin by dying on the cross. I believe that He died for me. Heavenly Father forgive me of my sin and I now put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Amen.”

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Saviour after reading this tract please write us. We would like to rejoice with you.

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