It Was All My Fault - I Forgot
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THERE was a collision on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, eight miles north of Cadillac, between a regular freight train and an extra passenger train, in which several were killed and injured. The wreck was caused by the engineer, Frederick Zimmerman, of the freight train, for-getting an order which was given him verbally to side-track his train several miles south of the scene of the incident and await the passage of the passenger train. Zimmerman, who was fatally injured, said just before he died, "It was all my fault; I forgot."
There is not a day passes in which there is not some one who suffers the penalty of carelessness. The newspapers are full of the reports of fatal accidents occasioned by the negligence of some one, but these accidents, lamentable as they are, are not so horrible as the spiritual injuries which come as the result of neglect. People are having the spiritual life crushed out of them by collisions which might have been avoided, if there had not been the greatest carelessness in the discharge of duty. Very few people who make a moral wreck of life intend to be lost; most of them intend to be saved, but they are careless of the spiritual dangers that are on the track, and are crushed to death. There can scarcely be any remorse more agonizing than that of a soul, in the presence of spiritual ruin, which is compelled to take up the lament, " It was all my fault; I forgot." It is an exceedingly dangerous thing for people to pay so little attention to such grave spiritual perils ; to charge the memory so lightly with things on which hang life or death.
The death of poor Zimmerman by his own fault was a very serious thing, but not so serious as the death he brought to others by his neglect. It is a serious thing for a man to wreck himself morally by carelessness in the discharge of religious duty, but it is a still more serious thing for the man to allow spiritual ruin to come to his fellow men by his neglect of religious duty. We have not only been charged with the perilous duty of saving ourselves, but also of saving our fellow men. And it will be a fearful thing if we allow any whom God has placed on the train under our care to be destroyed by our religious neglect. It would be a terrible thing for parent or pastor or teacher or Christain worker in the presence of the everlasting ruin of friends and associates, and especially of those committed to their care, to be compelled to say, " It was all my fault; I forgot."