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by Ronald Ferguson © 2021

William Shuttleworth was born in London.
His parents were poor and greatly deprived.
They did their best, but were not capable,
So by his own means, young William survived.

By the age of ten, grimy and unkempt,
He linked with other rag tags on the street.
With language coarse and behaviour vulgar,
They knew of only one way to compete.

Pickpocketing became their skilful art;
Their tools were sleight of hand and fleet of foot.
Not from the poor they extracted their means,
But into rich pockets, their hands they put.

Transient street kids they were, quite astute,
At relocating when the police appeared.
Their practiced art continued for some years,
Until, on more dangerous paths they veered.

Petty violence with robbery became
Their stock in trade, 'till one eventful day,
There was a raid and most were arrested.
William, by devious means, got away.

The year that dawned was eighteen forty-eight.
William had moved into the country side.
He reasoned that obscurity out there,
From the law, would be a good place to hide.

Through cunning guile and opportunism
He eked out for himself a wayward life,
And took his chances whenever they came -
In and out of trouble, and frequent strife.

What had he achieved of worthy mention
In all his thirty-one years with nothing?
Nothing to show and nothing of substance;
No prospects; no future, no anything.

Then one day in his miserable state,
A traveller met him camped by the lane.
The newcomer was different, kindly,
A man of character, gentle and sane.
He took an in'trest in William right there,
Relating to him his own life's report.
He had been a violent man up 'till when,
He was sentenced to jail, taken from court.

It was there a tract came into his hands;
A gospel tract that had opened his eyes;
Showed him clearly his sinful condition;
That he was hell bound after his demise.

It spoke of a Saviour given for man,
Who died at Calvary to take his place;
Who'd forgive all his sins and make him whole;
Make him a recipient of God's grace.

In jail, that man was born again in hope;
Became a new creation of God's love.
His life turned around dramatically,
And now he witnessed for Christ above.

William listened patiently to the man,
As the Holy Spirit worked in his heart.
His life was canvassed before him in shame,
But it was hard, from his old life, to part.

He struggled with the decision he knew
That he had to take to become God's child.
The message was in clearest light that shone,
And exposed his soul that was so defiled.

God won victoriously that blessed day,
As William joined the members of the Bride.
And then, likewise carried the gospel news,
And walked the paths of life, Christ at his side.

Take from this account one important thing -
A word along the paths of life for God,
Can reap a harvest for eternity.
Gird up your life, and tread as William trod!

Copyright reserved Metre = 10 throughout

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