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The Dead Engineer
B. Carradine
Follow Book & Flag

TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Dead Spiritually, Church Leaders Who Are!

TITLE: The Dead Engineer

Recently on a train in Missouri the conductor noticed that the cars were rushing at a fearful speed around curves, and through several small stations where they should have slackened speed and had not stopped at a place where a halt was required on the schedule. Hurrying through the smoking and baggage cars, and climbing over the tender, he saw the engineer sitting in the cab in his accustomed place with his hand on the throttle, while the fireman was shoveling in coal. Struck with the motionless figure before him, the conductor drew nearer rapidly and, looking around and into the face that was gazing through the window, saw that the man was dead!

A dead man had been running the engine for the last seventeen miles. The fireman, a raw recruit, and a thick-skulled fellow to boot, had in his attention to the furnace failed to observe the catastrophe; while the lifeless engineer, propped up by his seat and the wood and iron wall on either side, held his position, and looked like a living engineer with his hand on the throttle, and face fronting the window, and yet was a dead man all the while!

As we read the dispatch in the papers describing the above remarkable occurrence, the heart fairly sickened as the mind made a swift application of the circumstance to states and conditions of things as we see them here and there in the Field of Religious Work, and in the Church of God which we love.

The horrible sight is still beheld in the land. It can be seen in the council chambers of the church, in the pew, and even at times in the pulpit. It is the spectacle of a man with face at the window and hand on the throttle, and yet that man a corpse. The church machinery started years, and even centuries, ago, is rushing on with its load of freight and passengers, with a momentum received away back in the past, but the man in the cab is dead just the same. He himself is carried on by something outside of himself.

He is propped up by customs, rules and observances, and as he is swept through the Sabbaths many fail to observe his lifelessness.

The firemen, who shovel in the fuel to run the cause of God, deceived by the uprightness of what is merely an outward position; and the people in the church misled by a face turned to the front, and by a hand resting on the throttle of ecclesiastical power, dream not that a spiritually dead man is heading and guiding them in a swift rush to the eternal world.

What a shock it was to the people on the train that day, when they discovered that a corpse had been running the train for nearly twenty miles. Their horror was simply indescribable. And what a consternation would fill the hearts of thousands of church members today, could they see what God sees, a backslider in the pulpit, a dead man in charge of immortal souls, piloting and directing them to the grave and the Judgment Bar of God.

When we read of ministers of the Gospel defending dancing, card-playing and theater-going, we think of the Dead Engineer. When we were recently told of a preacher who, to raise money for some church or religious purpose, rented a hall and had three negro fiddlers to play against each other, while he sat as the judge and decided as to the merits of the contestants we thought again of the Dead Engineer.

We wish our readers would order a little ten-cent pamphlet called Dr. Starr and White Temple, and send it to men who correspond to the description given above. Mail it without comment, but pray much to God to send the message home. The train is so great, the passengers so many, their souls are so precious, and hell is so dreadful and eternity so long, that it is our duty to cry out, wave the danger signal, and do anything to stop the downward rush and avert the coming disaster.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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