Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.…
A lady, travelling through the Southern States of America in a private carriage, one or two years after the Proclamation of Emancipation had been issued, chanced to be detained for the night in a little country inn, which stood so far off from the usual lines of travel, that it was evident a guest was very seldom entertained there. She was shown into a room, to prepare for tea, which was as full of dust as though it had not been entered or disturbed for years. She requested some attendance, and a poor, wretched looking coloured woman was sent to her, with no apparent life or energy; nothing but utter listlessness and indifference expressed in every movement. After watching bee useless performance for a few minutes, the lady said: "Auntie, I am from the North, and I am not used to having things this way at all. Now, you know, we Northerners set your people free, and I think you ought to try and make things comfortable for us when we come among you. Just see if you cannot make this room a little cleaner while I go down to tea." Saying this, the lady left the room. She returned in about an hour, and found, to her astonishment, the dusty room transformed into a picture of neatness. But more astonishing even than the transformation in the room was the transformation in the woman herself. She stood there looking inches taller. Life and energy were in every muscle and every movement. Her eyes flashed fire. She looked like a new creature. The lady began to thank her for the change she had made in the room; but the woman interrupted her with the eager question; "Oh, missus, is we free?" "Of course you are," replied the lady. "Oh, missus, is you sure?" urged the woman, with intense eagerness. "Certainly I am sure," answered the lady. "Did you not know it?" "Well," said the woman, "we heerd tell as how we was flee, and we asked master, and he 'lowed we wasn't, and so we was afraid to go. And then we heered tell again, and we went to the Cunnel, and he 'lowed we'd better stay with ole massa. And so we's just been off and on. Sometimes we'd hope we was free, and then agin we'd think we wasn't. But now, missus, if you is sure we is free, won't you tell me all about it? " Seeing that this was a case of real need, the lady took the pains to explain the whole thing to the poor woman — all about the war. and the Proclamation of Emancipation, and the present freedom. The poor woman listened with the most intense eagerness. She heard the good news. She believed it; and when the story was ended, she walked out of the room with an air of the utmost independence, saying, as she went: " I'se free! I ain't a-going to stay with ole Master any longer!" She had at last received her freedom, and she had received it by faith. The Government had declared her to be free long before, but this had not availed her, because she had never yet believed in the declaration. The good news had not profited her, not being mixed with faith in the one who heard it. But now she believed, and, believing, she dared to reckon herself to be free.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.