|"Where Love is, God is"|
“You will spoil them that way, the young rascals,” said the old woman. “He ought to be whipped so that he would remember it for a week.”
“Oh, Granny, Granny,” said Martin, “that’s our way—but it’s not God’s way. If he should be whipped for stealing an apple, what should be done to us for our sins?”
The old woman was silent.
And Martin told her the parable of the lord who forgave his servant a large debt, and how the servant went out and seized his debtor by the throat. The woman listened to it all, and the boy, too, stood by and listened.
“God bids us to forgive,” said Martin, “or else we shall not be forgiven. Forgive everyone; and a thoughtless youngster most of all.”
. . .
“Of course, it was only his childishness, God help him,” said she, referring to the boy.As the old woman was about to hoist her sack on her back, the lad sprang forward to her, saying, “Let me carry it for you, Granny. I’m going that way.”
The old woman nodded her head, and put the sack on the boy’s back, and they went down the street together, the old woman quite forgetting to ask Martin to pay for the apple. Martin stood and watched them as they went along talking to each other (93-94).
. . . And a voice whispered in his ear: “Martin, Martin, don’t you know me?”
“Who is it?” muttered Martin.
“It is I,” said the voice. And out of the dark corner stepped Stepanitch, who smiled and vanishing like a cloud was seen no more.”
“It is I,” said the voice again. And out of the darkness stepped the woman with the baby in her arms, and the woman smiled and the baby laughed, and they too vanished.
“It is I,” said the voice once more. And the old woman and the boy with the apple stepped out and both smiled, and then they too vanished.”
And Martin’s soul grew glad. He crossed himself, put on his spectacles, and began reading the Gospel where it had opened; and at the top of the page he read:“I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.”
And at the bottom of the page he read:“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:35, 40).
And Martin understood that his dream had come true; and that the Saviour had really come to him that day, and that he had welcomed him (94).