Dr. John Donne was watching the caretaker digging a grave in the churchyard, when the workman’s shovel accidentally threw up a skull. The Dr. took the skull in his hands to engage in serious meditation; and on looking at it, he found a headless nail sticking into the temple of the skull. The Dr. secretly drew it out, and wrapped into the corner of his handkerchief.
He then asked the grave-digger if he knew whose skull it was.
He said he did very well know. He declared that it belonged to a man who had been given to drink, who one morning, years earlier, was found dead in his bed after a night of drunkenness.
The Dr. asked: “Had he a wife?”
“Yes, a good one, only her neighbors have wondered about her since she married again, only a day after her husband was buried.”
This was enough for the Dr. Soon, he visited this woman, asked her a number of personal questions, then suddenly opened his handkerchief, and cried: “Woman, do you know this nail?” She was struck with horror, instantly admitted that she’d murdered her husband, and was afterwards tried and executed.
— The European Magazine and London Review, 1820, Volume 77, p. 405.
“. . . be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b).
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions . . . Against You, You only I have sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:1, 4).
Great story. Timeless truth. Better to be repentant and confess, than hide and harden. Better yet, by God’s grace, avoid it altogether.
We cannot outwit God. As His children let us pray for godly sorrow and repentance when we sin. Let’s keep short accounts with the Lord and stop running from the throne of grace.