Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | April 27, 2019



W A Crisswell

Ezekiel 33:1-33

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (33:11).

Prerequisite For Pardon

One of the most unusual court decisions in American jurisprudence happened in the days of President Andrew Jackson. A railway mail clerk named George Wilson killed his fellow clerk. He then stole the mail and tied himself in some way with a rope. When the train arrived at its destination they found Wilson tied up, and the dead clerk lying in his own blood. Wilson said that he had been assailed by bandits. But as the officers of the law began to question him, they found some discrepancies in his story. Wilson finally confessed that he killed his partner and perpetrated the hoax. He was tried and sentenced to be hanged in the federal penitentiary. But as time passed, people seemed to forget the dastardly act and the sorrow of the dead man’s family. Political pressure was brought upon President Jackson to pardon him.

The warden of the penitentiary told Wilson that the President of the United States had pardoned him. But, to the astonishment of the warden, Wilson refused to accept the pardon. He wanted to be hanged. The warden did not know what to do. He called in the greatest legal minds, and it was finally sent to the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision, written by Chief Justice Marshall, was handed down:

A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that one under sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must hang.

And in the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, George Wilson was hanged.

Christ died for our sins. He was buried for our justification. He suffered that we might be forgiven. We have free and absolute pardon in Him, but if a person refuses that pardon, it is no longer a pardon.


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