THE MAN WHO REFUSED
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7.
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 todayís standards, this sentence seems very harsh. Remember, no one was killed in their crimes. 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 manís 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 Wilsonís 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.
Incredibly George Wilson Refused The Pardon!
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..." Wilson also stated that he "...had nothing to say, and that he did not wish in any manner to avail himself in order to avoid sentence ..."
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... It is a grant to him: it is his property; and he may accept it or not as he pleases."
Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the following in the decision:
"A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed...
"A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.
"It may be supposed that no being condemned to death would reject a pardon, but the rule must be the same in capital cases and in misdemeanors."
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 Wilsonís 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.
The Bible Plainly Teaches That All of Us Are Sinners
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Romans 3:10.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8.
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? Proverbs 20:9.
God must Punish Sinners
...The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiel 18:4.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:12.
For the wages of sin is death... Romans 6:23.
The Death Spoken of Here Is the Second Death
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14-15.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8.
But God Has Provided a Pardon
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die...? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. Ezekiel 18:31-32.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
Will You Receive or Reject the Pardon?
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.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36.
Letís look closely at these last two verses.
1. "He that believeth" is not only "not condemned", but "hath everlasting life."
2. "He that believeth not" is "condemned already" and "shall not see life."
3. Why is he (any person) "condemned already" and has "the wrath of God" abiding on him? Simply because "he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
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.
When we believe on the name of Jesus Christ we are depending upon the authority of God the Son to do what He has promised in His Word, the Bible.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12.
...Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37.
And you hath he quickened, (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins; Ephesians 2:1.
Will You Receive the Pardon?
1. Do you believe you are a guilty sinner? (Romans 3:10, 19-20, 23)
2. Do you believe God punishes sinners? (Ezekiel 18:4; Revelation 21:8)
3. Do you believe Jesus Christ died to save you?
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:8-9.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19.
4. 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 presidentís pardon and lost his human life. Will you reject Godís pardon as provided by Jesus Christ and loose your eternal life?
If you would like to receive the wonderful pardon of eternal life please pray this prayer from your heart:
"Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I know I deserve to go to Hell. But I know you died for me. So right now, Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart and save me from my sins. Help me to live for you and take me to Heaven when I die. Thank you for saving me. Amen."
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Romans 8:34.
If you have received Jesus Christ as your Saviour after reading this tract please write us. We would like to rejoice with you. firstname.lastname@example.org