The Duke of Wellington's Answer

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When the English and French were fighting each other in the Spanish Peninsula, an English general had planned an attack on the enemy. He ordered an officer, whose duty it was to provide the troops with food, to have rations ready at a certain place by twelve on the following day.
At times it was no easy matter to provide sufficient supplies for the army and the officer replied that the rations could not be ready on such short notice.
"I cannot march my men without food," said the general. "I say that the rations must be there at twelve o'clock tomorrow."
"But, sir, it's impossible to do this," replied the officer.
"Well," said the general, "remember this: if the rations are not there at twelve o'clock tomorrow, I'll hang you."
The officer departed in a rage, saying to himself, "How dare he talk to me like that! Hang me! Hang me! We shall see about that!"
Wellington was then the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, and to him the officer went at once to complain of the general's order. The Duke listened in silence. Presently he inquired: "Did the general really say he'd hang you if the rations were not there by twelve o'clock?"
"Yes, sir," replied the officer.
"Are you sure he said he would hang you?"
"He did, indeed, sir," replied the officer, thinking that a severe rebuke was in store for his superior.
"Well," said the Duke, "I know the general is a man of his word! If he really said that he would hang you, then if I were in your place, I would take care to have the rations there."
The officer went away, and the rations were there punctually at twelve o'clock.
Yes, when the man was convinced that his neck was in danger, he no longer refused to take the needful trouble to do the business promptly. He would not presume on the chance that for once in his life the general would not keep to his word. When it is a question of life or death a man generally takes good care to put himself on the right side, even if it cost him a world of pain to do so.
Whether for good or for evil, we can believe the word of a fellow man. Is God less worthy of credit? If we can be fully persuaded that a man will keep to his word, how can we imagine that God will not keep to His?
Oh, do not presume that God will not punish you for your sins, but accept His offer of mercy now.