Oh, I am on Fire!
by James Smith, 1860
(Editor's note: This is an excellent evangelistic tract for children!)
A quiet family living nearby, was alarmed one evening when going to bed at night, by a loud cry of, "Oh, I am on fire! I am on fire!"
The little granddaughter had gone to her bedroom, placed her candle on the table before the window, and in reaching over it to shut the window — her clothes caught fire, and she was soon in flames! She cried with all the strength she had, and her grandmother, whose name is Mercy, flew to her help, and soon extinguished the flames. She was slightly burned — but if her grandmother had not been at hand, or had not been prompt, or had not known how to extinguish the flames — the consequences would have been fearful!
Young people should be careful where they place their candle. Never put it near curtains, on by any light material that may be blown into the flame. Never lean over it on any account, or your life may be the price paid for your folly!
If that little girl had been burned to death — then what would have become of her soul? I have no idea that she was a believer in Jesus, though she had always sat under the preaching of the Gospel. O how sad it would have been to have died unprepared — and in a moment to have been summoned to appear before God!
Reader, sin is a fire — and is the beginning of a more terrible fire, even the fire of Hell. When the Holy Spirit of God awakens the soul to perceive its true state and condition, it discovers that, like the little girl referred to — it is on fire, and it cries out for a deliverer! It was grandmother Mercy who saved the burning child — and it is God's mercy in Jesus that saves the poor lost sinner.
What a good thing it was that grandmother Mercy was within hearing, and could come to her grandaughter's assistance; and, O what a good thing it is that Jesus is at hand to save the sinner who cries to him!
Reader, whether you know it or not — you are on fire! The fire may be only smoldering now — but the flames will break out by and bye. Dreadful indeed — if they should not be felt by you, until you are beyond the reach of mercy! Fearsome indeed — if you should go on, until, like the rich man in the Gospel, you cry out in bitter agony, and in the horrors of despair: "I am tormented in this flame!" How sad, how very sad will your case then be!
Young friends, let me beseech you to think of these things. If you sin — then you must suffer. And having once sinned — none of the sufferings you can endure, can ever atone for your sins. There is no hope for you — but in God's mercy. No one can extinguish the fire, and save you — but the Lord Jesus Christ. He is now near to you. He is now watching to save you. Cry, O cry unto him, in real earnest, as the little girl cried for help when on fire! And if you do, as sure as grandmother Mercy saved her child, so will the Lord Jesus Christ save you!
If the child had delayed only a little time, or had tried to extinguish the fire herself — she would soon have been burned to death! Just so, if you delay, if you think that by your prayers, or sufferings, or by doing the best you can — that you will be saved; then you will find out your dreadful mistake, as thousands have done already.
Cry, then, to the Savior ot once! Cry, and cry mightily to God for mercy! Let nothing stop your crying . . .
until the love of sin is extinguished,
until the power of sin is destroyed,
until the guilt of sin is removed, and
you are saved, as a brand plucked out of the fire!
With holy fear and humble song,
The dreadful God our souls adore;
Reverence and awe becomes the tongue
That speaks the terror of his power.
Far in the deep where darkness dwells.
The land of horror and despair,
Justice has built a dismal Hell,
And laid her stores of vengeance there.
Tremble, my soul, and kiss the Son;
Sinners, obey your Savior's call;
Else your damnation hastens on,
And Hell gapes wide to wait your fall!