have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill;
and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:"
Closer Walk With Thee"
Used with permission by Paula Vaughn
-- by Daniel Parks - Copyright 1999 --
Twas cold and dreary, Sunday morn,
a steady rain came down.
Upon a little country church,
outside a country town.
The worship service, just begun,
with folks all gathered ‘round.
The preacher in pulpit stood,
the old man, Parson Brown.
When through the door, a man stepped in,
looking cold and wet.
Like a vision from the past,
a scene, I'll ne'er forget.
An old time cowboy, tall and lean,
stooped by the driven rain.
In the vestibule, he stood,
a picture in a frame.
The old man's clothes, stained and frayed,
a blue plaid shirt, he wore.
His tattered Stetson, he removed,
and slowly closed the door.
His tanned and furrowed, weathered face,
aged by the wind and rain.
As if he'd just drifted in,
from some far distant plain.
The preacher man paused a bit,
then laid his Bible down.
And speaking to the cowboy said,
"ere' you new in town?"
The cowboy raised his low bowed head,
and said, "why no, my friend".
"But this here cowboy longs to hear,
the word of God again".
The preacher stood, without a word,
and beckoned him sit down.
Then starting up where he'd left off,
read scriptures he had found.
He spoke about the love of God,
and how our Savior died.
And how for us, He suffered so,
when He was crucified.
I noticed then, the old cowboy,
with kerchief in his hand.
Wiping tear drops from his eyes,
he looked a broken man.
I wondered what, his lot in life,
and of his happenstance.
Why was it that he'd searched us out,
or was it just by chance?
The last song sung, a prayer intoned,
the worship service or'.
The cowboy slowly rose and turned,
and headed for the door.
He passed a woman standing by,
and handed her a note.
And in some shaky, penciled words,
this is what he wrote.
"My name is Will Magarvey Smith,
I lived here years ago.
In fact you'll find the grave out back,
that doomed my living soul.
You see, I killed a man in town,
and so it sealed my fate.
They hanged me from the old oak tree,
the one out by the gate."
Without a word, he walked away,
the door banged shut behind.
And as I stepped out on the porch,
no cowboy could I find.
A cold wind swirled the misty rain,
sent shivers up my spine.
He, like a vapor blown away,
with nothing left behind.
Perhaps this cowboy from the past,
with respite from Hell given.
Came back to hear the word of God,
and walk amongst the livin'.
Yet separated from our God
his grieving eyes implored,
"Don't live a life of sin like mine,
for Hell is what's in store".
The grave yard out behind the church,
with grave stones from the past.
And sure enough, a marker stood,
for Will Magarvey Smith.
Hanged in eighteen eighty-four,
the wooden marker said.
The ghost of Will Magarvey Smith-
a warning from the dead.
now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
II Corinthians 6:2b
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