Testimonies 1 to 60
001 — TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF IGNATIUS
Ignatius, one of the ancient fathers of the church, was born in Syria, and brought up under the care of the Apostle John. About the year 67, he became bishop of Antioch. In this important station he continued about 40 years, both an honor and a safeguard to the Christian religion; undaunted in the midst of very tempestuous times, and unmoved with the prospect of suffering a cruel death. He taught men to think little of the present life; to value and love the good things to come; and never to be deterred from a course of piety and virtue, by the fear of any temporal evils whatever; to oppose only meekness to anger, humility to boasting, and prayers to curses and reproaches.
This excellent man was selected by the emperor Trajan, as a subject whose sufferings might be proper to inspire terror and discouragement in the hearts of the Christians at Rome. He was condemned to die for his faith in Christ, and ordered to be thrown among wild beasts to be devoured by them. This cruel sentence, far from weakening his attachment to the great cause he had espoused, excited thankfulness of heart, that he had been counted worthy to suffer for the sake of religion. “I thank thee, O Lord,” said he, “that thou hast condescended thus to honor me with thy love; and hast thought me worthy, with thy apostle Paul, to be bound in chains.”
On his passage to Rome he wrote a letter to his fellow Christians there, to prepare them to acquiesce in his sufferings, and to assist him with their prayers. “Pray for me,” said he, “that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only say, but do well; that I may not only be called a Christian, but be found one.” Animated by the cheering prospect of the reward of his sufferings, he said: “Now, indeed, I begin to be a disciple; I weigh neither visible nor invisible things, in comparison with an interest in Jesus Christ.” With the utmost Christian fortitude he met the wild beasts assigned for his destruction and triumphed in death. — Power of Religion.
002 — WONDERFUL CONVERSION OT MARY LONES
We were requested to visit a young woman, nearly gone with consumption, who resisted every effort that was made to bring her to Christ. We went, trusting in the Lord for help. She received us respectfully, but seemed quite careless about her soul. The Spirit of the Lord soon touched her heart, and she became distressed on account of her sins; at one time while praying with her she began to plead in real earnest for herself and continued in prayer until she could say, “I am the Lord’s and He is mine.” A sweet peace settled down on her soul and soon after she received the clear witness that her sins were forgiven. Although she was very weak and could hardly speak above a whisper, yet, when the Lord set the seal of Bis Spirit to the work wrought in her soul, her shouts of victory could be heard through the entire building.
She soon began to yearn for entire sanctification, and her soul was greatly drawn out in prayer for the blessing. At one time we read to her the fourth chapter of 1st John and encouraged her to look to be made perfect in love, to believe for it and expect it every moment until it was given. “Oh!” said she, “that is just what I need, and I am praying for it all the while” — although she did not know the name of the blessing she was seeking. She had many conflicts with the powers of darkness before she obtained this victory. At length the all-cleansing touch was given. It was about five o’clock one Sabbath evening a few weeks before her death. Her soul had been much drawn out in prayer all day for purity of heart.
She said the Spirit fell on her and seemed to go through both soul and body. She had been confined to her bed and was so weak we thought she would never again stand on her feet; but when she received the blessing she not only had the use of her voice, but walked the floor back and forth, shouting aloud, “Glory to God.” We were told that she had naturally a fiery disposition, but after this baptism she was all patience, resignation, love and praise. Her sufferings were very great toward the last, but not a murmur or complaint was ever heard.
Neither tongue nor pen can describe some of the scenes witnessed in that little room. From the time that she received the blessing of perfect love, until her death, her sky was unclouded, her conversation in heaven, and her experience, although a young convert, was that of a mature Christian. Her light on the things of God and the state of deceived professors of religion was wonderful. She seemed to have an unclouded view of her heavenly inheritance and longed to depart and be with Christ. On one occasion, when we were singing —
Filled with delight, my raptured soul Would here no longer stay, Though Jordan’s waves around me roll, Fearless, I launch away — she raised her hand in triumph and repeated the word, “fearless, fearless,” while glory unspeakable beamed from her countenance. At times, when talking or singing of her heavenly home, she appeared more like an inhabitant of heaven than of earth. She was truly the most beautiful, angelic-looking being we ever saw. She died in triumph; was conscious to the last, and whispered, “I walk through the valley in peace;” then pointing to each one that stood around her bed, she raised her hand, as if to say, “Meet me in Heaven.” She then folded her hands on her breast, looked up, smiled, and was gone.
Glory to God and the Lamb forever; another safely landed. — Brands From The Burning.
003 — THE AWFUL DEATH OF SIR FRANCIS NEWPORT
Sir Francis Newport was trained in early life to understand the great truths of the gospel; and while in early manhood it was hoped that he would become an ornament and a blessing to his family and the nation, the result was far otherwise. He fell into company that corrupted his principles and his morals. He became an avowed infidel, and a life of dissipation soon brought on a disease that was incurable. When he felt that he must die, he threw himself on the bed, and after a brief pause, he exclaimed as follows: “Whence this war in my heart? What argument is there now to assist me against matters of fact? Do I assert that there is no hell, while I feel one in my own bosom? Am I certain there is no after retribution, when I feel present judgment? Do I affirm my soul to be as mortal as my body, when this languishes, and that is vigorous as ever? O that any one would restore unto me that ancient gourd of piety and innocence! Wretch that I am, whither shall I flee from this breast? What will become of me?”
An infidel companion tried to dispel his thoughts, to whom he replied. “That there is a God, I know, because I continually feel the effects of His wrath; that there is a hell I am equally certain, having received an earnest of my inheritance there already in my breast; that there is a natural conscience I now feel with horror and amazement, being continually upbraided by it with my impieties, and all my iniquities, and all my sins brought to my remembrance. Why God has marked me out for an example of His vengeance, rather than you, or any one of my acquaintance, I presume is because I have been more religiously educated, and have done greater despite to the Spirit of grace. O that I was to lie upon the fire that never is quenched a thousand years, to purchase the favor of Gods and be reunited to Him again! But it is a fruitless wish. Millions of millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour. O, eternity, eternity! Who can discover the abyss of eternity? Who can paraphrase upon these words — forever and ever?”
Lest his friends should think him insane, he said: “You imagine me melancholy, or distracted. I wish I were either; but it is part of my judgment that I am not. No; my apprehension of persons and things is more quick and vigorous than it was when I was in perfect health; and it is my curse, because I am thereby more sensible of the condition I am fallen into. Would you be informed why I am become a skeleton in three or four days? See now, then. I have despised my Maker, and denied my Redeemer. I have joined myself to the atheist and profane, and continued this course under many convictions, till my iniquity was ripe for vengeance, and the just judgment of God overtook me when my security was the greatest, and the checks of my conscience were the least.”
As his mental distress and bodily disease were hurrying him into eternity, he was asked if he would have prayer offered in his behalf; he turned his face, and exclaimed, “Tigers and monsters! are ye also become devils to torment me? Would ye give me prospect of heaven to make my hell more intolerable?”
Soon after, his voice failing, and uttering a groan of inexpressible horror, he cried out, “OH, THE INSUFFERABLE PANGS OF HELL!” and died at once, dropping into the very hell of which God gave him such an awful earnest, to be a constant warning to multitudes of careless sinners. —
004 — POLYCARP, THE SAINTED CHRISTIAN FATHER
Polycarp, an eminent Christian father, was born in the reign of Nero. Ignatius recommended the church of Antioch to the care and superintendence of this zealous father, who appears to have been unwearied in his endeavors to preserve the peace of the church, and to promote piety and virtue amongst men.
During the persecution which raged at Smyrna, in the year 167, the distinguished character of Polycarp attracted the attention of the enemies of Christianity. The general outcry was, “Let Polycarp be sought for.” When he was taken before the proconsul, he was solicited to reproach Christ, and save his life: but with a holy indignation, he nobly replied: “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, who has never done me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?”
When he was brought to the stake, the executioner offered, as usual, to nail him to it; but he said, “Let me alone as I am: He who has given me strength to come to the fire, will also give me patience to abide in it, without being fastened with nails.”
Part of his last prayer, at his death, was as follows: “O God, the Father of Thy beloved son, Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thyself; O God of angels and powers, of every creature, and of all the just who live in Thy presence; I thank Thee that Thou hast graciously vouchsafed, this day and this hour, to allot me a portion amongst the number of martyrs. O Lord, receive me; and make me a companion of saints in the resurrection, through the merits of our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. I praise and adore Thee, through thy beloved Son, to whom, with Thee, and Thy Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, both now and forever. Amen.” — Power of Religion.
005 — THE MARTYR PATRICK HAMILTON
On the first of March, 1528, some eight years before Tyndale was betrayed by a Romish spy, Archbishop Beaton condemned Patrick Hamilton to be burned because he advocated the doctrines of the Reformation and exposed the errors of popery.
The principal accusations were that he taught that it was proper for the poor people to read God’s Word and that it was useless to offer masses for the souls of the dead. Hamilton admitted the truth of these charges, and boldly defended his doctrine. But his judges, Archbishop Beaton and the bishops and clergy associated with him in council, could not endure the truths presented by their prisoner, which indeed were greatly to their disadvantage; for a people before whom an open Bible is spread will soon test by it the lives and teachings of their pastors, and to abolish masses for the dead is to cut off a chief source of the revenues of Rome’s priesthood. Hamilton therefore was quickly condemned, and in a few hours afterwards, to avoid any possibility of his rescue by influential friends, the stake was prepared before the gate of St. Salvador College.
When the martyr was brought to the stake, he removed his outer garments and gave them to his servant, with the words, “These will not profit me in the fire, but they will profit thee. Hereafter thou canst have no profit from me except the example of my death, which I pray thee keep in memory, for, though bitter to the flesh and fearful before man, it is the door of eternal life, which none will attain who denies Christ Jesus before this ungodly generation.”
His agony was prolonged by a slow fire, so that his execution lasted some six hours; but, through it all, he manifested true heroism and unshaken faith in the truth of the doctrines which he preached. His last words were, “How long, O Lord, shall darkness brood over this realm? How long wilt thou suffer this tyranny of man? Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Thus, in the bloom of early manhood, died Scotland’s first Reformation martyr, and his death was not in vain. A Romanist afterwards said, “The smoke of Patrick Hamilton infected all it blew upon.” His mouth was closed, but the story of his death was repeated by a thousand tongues. It emboldened others to seek a martyr’s crown, and stirred up many more to defend the truths for which he died, and to repudiate the hierarchy which found it necessary to defend itself by such means.
“Humanly speaking,” says the author of “The Champions of the Reformation,” to whom we are chiefly indebted for the facts of our sketch, “could there have been found a fitter apostle for ignorant, benighted Scotland than this eloquent, fervent, pious man? Endowed with all those gifts that sway the heads of the masses, a zealous, pious laborer in season and out of season, what Herculean labors might he not have accomplished! What signal triumphs might he not have achieved! So men may reason, but God judged otherwise. A short trial, a brief essay in the work he loved and longed for, was permitted to him, and then the goodly vessel, still in sight of land, was broken in pieces. ” — Heroes and Heroines
006 — REV. E. PAYSON’S JOYFUL EXPERIENCES AND TRIUMPHANT DEATH
He was asked, by a friend, if he could see any particular reason for this dispensation. He replied, “No; but I am as well satisfied as if I could see ten thousand reasons.”
In a letter dictated to his sister he writes: “Were I to adopt the figurative language of Bunyan, I might date this letter from the land of Beulah, of which I have been for some time such a happy inhabitant. The celestial city is full in view. Its glories beam upon me; its breezes fan me; its odors are wafted to me; its sounds strike upon my ears, and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of death, which now appears as an insignificant rill, which can be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission. The Son of Righteousness has been gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as He approached, and now fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the beams of the sun, exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness, and wondering why God should deign thus to shine upon a sinful worm.”
On being asked, “Do you feel reconciled?”
He replied, “O, that is too cold; I rejoice; I triumph; and this happiness will endure as long as God himself, for it consists in admiring and adoring Him. I can find no words to express my happiness. I seem to be swimming in a river of pleasure, which is carrying me to the great fountain. It seems as if all the bottles in heaven were opened, and all its fullness and happiness have come down into my heart. God has been depriving me of one blessing after another, but as each one has removed, He has come in and filled up its place. If God had told me sometime ago, that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and that He should begin by crippling me in all my limbs, and removing from me all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purposes, now, when I am a cripple, and not able to move, I am happier than I ever was in my life before, or ever expected to be.
“It has often been remarked, that people who have passed into the other world cannot come back to tell us what they have seen; but I am so near the eternal world, that I can almost see as clearly as if I were there; and I see enough to satisfy me of the truth of the doctrines I have preached. I do not know that I should feel at all surer had I been really there.”
“Watchman, what of the night!” asked a gray-headed member of his church.
“I should think it was about noonday,” replied the dying Payson.
The ruling passion being strong in death, he sent a request to his pulpit, that his people should repair to his sick-chamber. They did so in specified classes, a few at a time and received his dying message.
To the young men of his congregation, he said: “I felt desirous that you might see that the religion I have preached can support me in death. You know that I have many ties which bind me to earth; a family to which I am strongly attached, and a people whom I love almost as well; but the other world acts like a much stronger magnet, and draws my heart away from this.”
“Death comes every night, and stands by my bedside in the form of terrible convulsions, every one of which threatens to separate the soul from the body. These grow worse and worse, till every bone is almost dislocated with pain. Yet, while my body is thus tortured, my soul is perfectly, perfectly happy and peaceful. I lie here and feel these convulsions extending higher and higher, but my soul is filled with joy unspeakable! I seem to swim in a flood of glory, which God pours down upon me. Is it a delusion that can fill the soul to overflowing with joy in such circumstances? If so, it is a delusion better than any reality. It is no delusion. I feel it is not. I enjoy this happiness now. And now, standing as I do, on the ridge that separates the two worlds — feeling what intense happiness the soul is capable of sustaining, and judging of your capacities by my own, and believing that those capacities will be filled to the very brim with joy or wretchedness forever, my heart yearns over you, my children, that you may choose life, and not death. I long to present every one of you with a cup of happiness, and see you drink it.”
“A young man,” he continued, “just about to leave the world, exclaimed, ‘The battle’s fought, the battle’s fought, but the victory is lost forever!’ But I can say, The battle’s fought — and the victory is won — the victory is won forever! I am going to bathe in the ocean of purity, and benevolence, and happiness, to all eternity. And now, my children, let me bless you, not with the blessing of a poor, feeble, dying man, but with the blessing of the infinite God.” He then pronounced the apostolic benediction.
A friend said to him, “I presume it is no longer incredible to you, that martyrs should rejoice and praise God in the flames and on the rack?”
“No,” said he; “I can easily believe it. I have suffered twenty times as much as I could in being burned at the stake, while my joy in God so abounded as to render my sufferings not only tolerable, but welcome.”
At another time, he said: “God is literally now my all in all. While He is present with me, no event can in the least diminish my happiness; and were the whole world at my feet, trying to minister to my comfort, they could not add one drop to my cup.”
To Mrs. Payson, who observed to him, “Your head feels hot and seems to be distended”; he replied: “It seems as if the soul disdained such a narrow prison, and was determined to break through with an angel’s energy, and I trust with no small portion of an angel’s feeling, until it mounts on high.”
“It seems as if my soul had found a new pair of wings, and was so eager to try them, that in her fluttering, she would rend the fine network of the body in pieces.”
THE CLOSING SCENE
On Sabbath, October 21, 1827, his last agony commenced, attended with that labored breathing and rattling in the throat which rendered articulation extremely difficult. His daughter was summoned from the Sabbath-school, and received his dying kiss and “God bless you, my daughter.”
He smiled on a group of church members and exclaimed, with holy emphasis, “Peace, peace! victory!”
He smiled on his wife and children and said, in the language of dying Joseph, “I am going, but God will surely be with you!”
He rallied from the death conflict and said to his physician, “that although he had suffered the pangs of death, and got almost within the gates of Paradise, yet, if it was God’s will that he should come back and suffer still more, he was resigned.” He passed through a similar scene in the afternoon and again revived.
On Monday morning, his dying agonies returned in all their severity. For three hours every breath was a groan. On being asked if his sufferings were greater than on the preceding Sunday night, he answered, “incomparably greater.” He said the greatest temporal blessing of which he could conceive would be one breath of air.
Mrs. Payson, fearing from the expression of suffering on his countenance that he was in mental distress, questioned him. He replied, “Faith and patience hold out.” These were the last words of the dying Christian hero.
He gradually sunk away, till about the going down of the sun his chastened and purified spirit, all mantled with the glory of Christian triumph in life and death, ascended to share the everlasting glory of his Redeemer before the eternal throne. — Fifty Years and Beyond.
007 — THE AWFUL DEATH OF AN INFIDEL SON
“I will never be guilty of founding my hopes for the future upon such a compiled mess of trash as is contained in that book (the Bible), mother. Talk of that being the production of an Infinite mind; a boy ten years of age, if he was half-witted, could have told a straighter story, and made a better book. I believe it to be the greatest mess of lies ever imposed upon the public. I would rather go to hell (if there is such a place) than have the name of bowing to that impostor — Jesus Christ — and be dependent on his merits for salvation.”
“Beware! Beware! my son, ‘for God is not mocked,’ although ‘He beareth with the wicked long, yet he will not keep His anger forever.’ And ‘all manner of sin shall be forgiven men, except the sin against the Holy Ghost, which has no forgiveness.’ And many are the examples, both in sacred and profane history, of men who have been smitten down in the midst of their sinning against that blessed Spirit.”
“Very well, father, I’ll risk all the cutting down that I shall get for cursing that book, and all the agonies connected therewith. Let it come, I’m not at all scared.”
“O Father, lay not this sin to his charge, for he knows not what he does.”
“Yes, I do know what I’m about, and what I say — and mean it.”
“John, do you mean to drive your mother raving distracted? Oh, my God, what have I done that this dreadful trial should come upon me in my old age?”
“Mother, if you don’t want to hear me speak my sentiments, why do you always begin the subject? If you do not want to hear it, don’t ever broach the subject again, for I shall never talk of that book, in any other way.”
The above conversation took place between two fond parents and an only son, who was at home on a visit from college, and now was about to return. And the cause of this outburst was, the kind-hearted Christian parents had essayed to give him a few words of kind admonition, which, alas, proved to be the last. And the above were his last words which he spoke to them as he left the house.
How anxiously those fond parents looked after him as though something told them that something dreadful would happen. What scalding tears were those that coursed their way down these furrowed cheeks! Oh, that they might have been put in the bottle of mercy! Poor, wretched young man, it had been better for him had the avalanche from the mountain crushed him beneath its deadly weight ere those words escaped his lips. Little did he think that He who said, “Honor thy father and mother,” and, “He that hardeneth his heart, and stiffeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” was so soon going to call him to give an account for those words, so heart-rending to his aged parents, and so dreadful in the sight of a holy God. He had imbibed those dreadful principles from an infidel room-mate at college. Beware, young men, with whom you associate, lest you fall as did this unfortunate young man.
John B. left his home and hastened to the depot where he took the cars which were to bear him to M. where he was in a few months to finish his studies. The whistle blew, and away swept the cars “across the trembling plain.” But alas, they had gone but a few miles, when the cars, coming round a curve in a deep cut, came suddenly upon an obstruction on the track, which threw the engine and two of the cars at once from the rails.
As fate would seem to have it, the wicked son (John B.) was that moment passing between them. He was thrown in an instant from the platform, his left arm being broken, and his skull fractured by the fall; and in an instant one of the wheels passed directly over both his legs near the body, breaking and mangling them in the most dreadful manner. Strange as it may seem, no one else was injured. The dreadful news soon reached his already grief-stricken parents; and ere long that beloved, yet ungrateful son, was borne back to them; not as he left, but lying upon a litter a poor, mangled, raving maniac.
Why these pious parents were called to pass through this dreadful trial, He “whose ways are in the deep and past finding out,” only knows; except that by this sad example of His wrath many might be saved. Many skillful physicians were called, but the fiat of the Almighty had gone forth, and man could not recall it. When the news reached the college, his class-mates hastened to see him. When they came, nature was fast sinking, but the immortal part was becoming dreadfully alive. Oh! that heart-rending scene. His reason returning brought with it a dreadful sense of his situation. His first words were, and oh, may never mortal hear such a cry as that again upon the shores of time:
“Mother! I’m lost! lost! lost! damned! damned! damned forever!” and as his class-mates drew near to the bed, among whom was the one who had poisoned his mind with infidelity, with a dreadful effort he rose in the bed and cried, as he fixed his glaring eyes upon him: “J___, you have brought me to this, you have damned my soul! May the curses of the Almighty and the Lamb rest upon your soul forever.”
Then like a hellish fiend, he gnashed his teeth, and tried to get hold of him that he might tear him in pieces. Then followed a scene from which the strongest fled with horror. But those poor parents had to hear and see it all, for he would not suffer them to be away a moment. He fell back upon his bed exhausted, crying, “O mother! mother, get me some water to quench this fire that is burning me to death”; then he tore his hair and rent his breast; the fire had already begun to burn, the smoke of which shall ascend up for ever and ever.
And then again he cried, “O mother, save me, the devils have come after me. O mother, take me in your arms, and don’t let them have me.” And as his mother drew near to him, he buried his face in that fond bosom which had nourished and cherished him, but, alas, could not now protect or shield from the storm of the Almighty’s wrath, for he turned from her, and with an unearthly voice he shrieked, “Father! Mother! Father, save me; they come to drag my soul — my soul to hell.”
And with his eyes starting from their sockets, he fell back upon his bed a corpse. The spirit had fled — not like that of Lazarus, borne on the wings of a convoy of angels, but dragged by fiends to meet a fearful doom. May his dreadful fall prove a warning to those who would unwittingly walk in the same path. — Earnest Christian, September, 1867
008 — “CHILDREN, IS THIS DEATH? HOW BEAUTIFUL! HOW BEAUTIFUL!”
A preacher in Oregon, Rev. J. T. Leise, writes us as follows: “I thought it might be to the glory of God to give you an account of my mother’s death. She died July 28, 1888, in the township of Winnebago City, Faribault County, Minnesota. About six months before her death I left home to enter the work of the Lord. At that time, and also for years, mother had what we often call an up-and-down experience. About July 1st, of the same year she died, I got word to return home to see her die.
On my arrival I found mother very low, but having a strong faith in God. I said, ‘Mother, you have a better experience than you have ever had.’ ‘Yes, Johnnie,’ she said, ‘about three months ago I got what I have longed for for years.’ Mother’s disease was of a dropsical character. With limbs swollen, she would suffer intensely; but her faith in Jesus never wavered. She would often speak of the glorious prospects in view.
The morning she died, about four o’clock, a sister and I were sitting by her bed fanning her, when she suddenly opened her eyes and said, ‘Children, is this death? How beautiful; how beautiful.’
I said, ‘Mother, you will soon be at rest. It won’t be long before you shall have crossed over and are at home.’ Mother never could sing to amount to anything, but on this occasion she sang as if inspired from Heaven,
O I long to be there
And His glories to share
And to lean on my Savior’s breast.
About four hours after we were around her bed having family worship, when, without a struggle, she passed away to be forever with the Lord. Amen-
009 — “MA, I CAN’T DIE TILL YOU PROMISE ME.”
At the close of a series of meetings in Springfield, Mass., a mother handed me a little girl’s picture wrapped in two one-dollar bills, at the same time relating the following touching incident:
Her only child, at the age of six years, gave her heart to the Savior, giving, as the pastor with whom I was laboring said, the clearest evidence of conversion.
At once she went to her mother and said, “Ma, I have given my heart to Jesus and He has received me; now, won’t you give your heart to Him?” (The parents were both unconverted at the time.)
The mother replied, “I hope I shall some time, dear Mary.”
The little girl said, “Do it now, ma,” and urged the mother, with all her childlike earnestness, to give herself to the Savior then.
Finding she could not prevail in that way, she sought to secure a promise from her mother, feeling sure she would do what she promised; for her parents had made it a point never to make her a promise without carefully fulfilling it. So time after time she would say, “Promise me, me”; and the mother would reply, “I do not like to promise you, Mary, for fear I shall not fulfill.”
This request was urged at times for nearly six years, and finally the little petitioner had to die to secure the promise.
Several times during her sickness the parents came to her bedside to see her die, saying to her, “You are dying now, dear Mary.”
But she would say, “No, ma, I can’t die till you promise me.” Still her mother was unwilling to make the promise, lest it should not be kept. She intended to give her heart to Jesus sometime, but was unwilling to do it “now.”
Mary grew worse, and finally had uttered her last word on earth: her mother was never again to hear that earnest entreaty, “Promise me, ma.”
But the little one’s spirit lingered, as if it were detained by the angel sent to lead the mother to Jesus, that the long-sought promise might be heard before it took its flight.
The weeping mother stood watching the countenance of the dying child, who seemed to say, by her look, “Ma, promise me, and let me go to Jesus.”
There was a great struggle in her heart as she said to herself, “Why do I not promise this child? I mean to give my heart to Jesus; why not now? If I do not promise her now I never can.”
The Spirit inclined her heart to yield. She roused her child and said, “Mary, I will give my heart to Jesus.” This was the last bolt to be drawn; her heart was now open, and Jesus entered at once, and she felt the joy and peace of sins forgiven.
This, change was so marked, she felt constrained to tell the good news to her child, that she might bear it with her where she went to live with Jesus; so, calling her attention once more, she said, “Mary, I have give my heart to Jesus, and He is my Savior now.”
For six years Mary had been praying to God and pleading with her mother for these words; and now, and they fell upon her ear, a peaceful smile lighted up her face, and, no longer able to speak, she raised her little, pale hand, and pointing upward, seemed to say, “Ma, we shall meet up there.” Her life’s work was done, and her spirit returned to Him who gave it.
The mother’s heart was full of peace, though her loved one had gone. She now felt very anxious that her husband should have this blessing which she found in Christ.
The parents went into the room where the remains were resting, to look upon the face of her who slept so sweetly in death, when the mother said, ‘Husband, I promised our little Mary that I would give my heart to Jesus, and He has received me. Now, won’t you promise?”
The Holy Spirit was there. The strong man resisted for a while, then yielded his will, and taking the little cold hand in his, kneeled and said, “Jesus, I will try to seek Thee.”
The child’s remains were laid in the grave. The parents were found in the house of prayer — the mother happy in Jesus, and the father soon having some evidence of love to Christ.
When I closed my labors in Springfield, Dr. Ide said to his congregation, “I hope you will all give Bro. Earle some token of your regard for his services before he leaves.”
As this mother heard these words, she said she could, as it were, see her little Mary’s hand pointing down from heaven, and heard her sweet voice saying, “Ma, give him my two one-dollars.”
Those two one-dollars I have now, wrapped around the picture of that dear child, and wherever I go, little Mary will speak for the Savior.
Reader, is there not some loved one now pointing down from heaven and saying to you, “Give your heart to Jesus”? Are you loving some earthly object more than Jesus? God may sever that tie — may take away your little Mary, or Willie, or some dear friend. Will you not come to Jesus, without such a warning? — Bringing in Sheaves
010 — THE CHILD MARTYR
The noted evangelist, E. P. Hammond, writes us from his home at Hartford, Conn., Aug. 11, 1898, and sends us the following reliable and very touching article for this work:
I have been surprised to notice how many children have died a martyr death rather than deny Jesus. I want to tell you about one of these young martyrs. In Antioch, where the disciples were first called Christians, a deacon from the church of Caesarea was called to bear cruel torture to force him to deny the Lord who bought him with His precious blood. While he was being tortured he still declared his faith, saying: “There is but one God and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.”
His body was almost torn in pieces. The cruel emperor, Galerius, seemed to enjoy looking upon him in his suffering. At length this martyr begged his tormentors to ask any Christian child whether it was better to worship one God, the maker of heaven and earth, and one Savior, who had died for us, and was able to bring us to God, or to worship the gods many and the lords many whom the Romans served. There stood near by a Roman mother who had brought with her a little boy, nine years of age, that he might witness the sufferings of this martyr from Caesarea. The question was asked the child. He quickly replied, “God is one and Christ is one with the Father.”
The persecutor was filled with fresh rage and cried out, “O base and wicked Christian, that thou hast taught this child to answer thus.”
Then turning to the boy, he said more mildly, “Child, tell me who taught thee thus to speak? Where did you learn this faith?”
The boy looked lovingly into his mother’s face and said, “It was God that taught it to my mother, and she taught me that Jesus Christ loved little children, and so I learned to love Him for his first love for me.”
“Let us see what the love of Christ can do for you,” cried the cruel judge, and at a sign from him the officers who stood by with their rods, after the fashion of the Romans, quickly seized the boy and made ready to torture him.
“What can the love of Christ do for him now?” asked the judge, as the blood streamed from the tender flesh of the child.
“It helps him,” answered the mother, “to bear what his master endured for him when he died for us on the cross.”
Again they smote the child, and every blow seemed to torture the agonized mother as much as the child. As the blows, faster and heavier, were laid upon the bleeding boy, they asked, “What can the love of Christ do for him now?”
Tears fell from heathen eyes as that Roman mother replied, “It teaches him to forgive his tormentors.”
The boy watched his mother’s eyes and no doubt thought of the sufferings of his Lord and Savior, and when his tormentors asked if he would now serve the gods they served, he still answered, “I will not deny Christ. There is no other God but one, and Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the world. He loved me and died for me, and I love him with all my heart.”
The poor child at last fainted between the repeated strokes, and they cast the torn and bleeding body into the mother’s arms, saying, supposing that he was dead, “See what the love of Christ has done for your Christian boy now.”
As the mother pressed him to her heart she answered, “That love would take him from the wrath of man to the peace of heaven, where God shall wipe away all tears!”
But the boy had not yet passed over the river. Opening his eyes, he said, “Mother, can I have a drop of water from our cool well upon my tongue?”
As he closed his eyes in death the mother said, “Already, dearest, thou hast tasted of the well that springeth up unto everlasting life. Farewell! Thy Savior calls for thee. Happy, happy martyr! for His sake may He grant thy mother grace to follow in thy bright path.”
To the surprise of all, after they thought he bad closed his eyes and had breathed his last, he finally raised his eyes and looked to where the elder martyr was, and said in almost a whisper, “There is but one God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” And with these words upon his parched lips, he passed into God’s presence, “where is fullness of joy, and to His right hand, where are pleasures forevermore.”
Are you, my dear reader, a Christian? If not, you can become one now. That same Jesus who bled and died to save that little Roman boy, suffered on the cross for you, and He is ever ready to give you a new heart, so that you will love Him so much that you would be willing to die a death of suffering rather than deny Him.
011 — THE SAD DEATH OF A LOST MAN
Near the town of K___, in Texas, there lived and prospered, a wealthy farmer, the son of a Methodist preacher, with whom the writer was intimately acquainted. He was highly respected in the community in which he lived. He was a kind-hearted and benevolent man; but, however, had one great fault — he was very profane. He would utter the most horrible oaths without, seemingly, the least provocation. On several occasions, I remember having seen him under deep conviction for salvation, during revival meetings. On one occasion, during a camp-meeting, he was brought under powerful conviction. He afterwards said he was suddenly frightened, and felt as if he wanted to run away from the place.
Just one year from that time, another camp-meeting was held at the same place, and he was again brought under conviction, but refused to yield; after which he was suddenly taken ill, and died in three days. I was with him in his last moments. He seemed to be utterly forsaken of the Lord from the beginning of his sickness. The most powerful medicines had no effect on him whatever.
Just as the sun of a beautiful Sabbath morning rose in its splendor over the eastern hills, he died — in horrible agony. All through the night previous to his death, he suffered untold physical and mental torture. He offered the physicians all his earthly possessions if they would save his life. He was stubborn till the very last; and would not acknowledge his fear of death until a few moments before he died; then, suddenly he began to look, then to stare, horribly surprised and frightened, into the vacancy before him; then exclaimed, as if he beheld the king of terrors in all of his merciless wrath, “My God!”
The indescribable expression of his countenance, at this juncture, together with the despairing tones in which he uttered these last words, made every heart quake. His wife screamed, and begged a brother to pray for him; but he was so terror-stricken that he rushed out of the room. The dying man continued to stare in dreadful astonishment, his mouth wide open, and his eyes protruding out of their sockets, till at last with an awful groan,
“Like a flood with rapid force,
Death bore the wretch away.”
His little three-year-old son, the idol of his father’s heart, was convulsed with grief. This little boy, then so innocent, grew up to be a wicked young man, and died a horrible death. Oh how sad! When we reflect that in hell there are millions of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, hopelessly lost, given over forever to the mad ravages of eternal, pitiless wrath, ever frightened by real ghosts, tortured by serpents and scorpions, gnawed by the worm that never dies; and when we reflect that this, the future state of the wicked, will never abate its fury but, according to the natural law of sin, degradation and wretchedness, will grow worse and more furious as the black ages of eternity roll up from darker realms, we turn for relief from the sad reverie to the Man of Sorrows, who tasted death for every man, then to the beautiful city. whose builder and maker is God, to the bliss of the glorified who will shine as the stars for ever and ever; then with renewed efforts we continue with gratitude to work out our own, and the salvation of others, with fear and trembling. — The Ambassador
012 — THE COURAGE AND TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF ST. LAURENCE THE MARTYR
Laurentius, usually called St. Laurence, was archdeacon under Sextus, and when that bishop was led out to execution, Laurence accompanied and comforted him. As they parted from each other for the last time, Sextus warned his faithful follower that his martyrdom would soon come after his own: that this prophecy was true is indicated by the tradition that has been handed down to us telling of his subsequent seizure and cruel death.
The Christian church of Rotor, even at this early period, had in its treasury considerable riches — both in money, and in gold and silver vessels used at the services of the church. All these treasures were under the watchful eye of Laurence, the archdeacon. Besides maintaining its clergy, the church supported many poor widows and orphans; nearly fifteen hundred of these poor people, whose names Laurence kept upon his list, lived upon the charity of the church. Sums of money were also constantly needed to help struggling churches which had been newly established in distant parts of the world.
Macrianus, governor of Rome under the emperor Valerian, had heard of these riches, and longed to seize them; he therefore sent soldiers to arrest Laurence, who was soon taken and dragged before the governor. As soon as Macrianus’ pitiless eyes rested upon the prisoner, he said harshly:
“I hear that you who call yourselves Christians possess treasures of gold and silver, and that your priests use golden vessels at your services. Is this true?”
Laurence answered: “The church, indeed, has great treasures.”
“Then bring those treasures forth,” said Macrianus. “Do not your sacred books tell you to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s? The emperor has need of those riches for the defense of the empire; therefore you must render them up.”
After reflecting deeply for a few moments, Laurence replied: “In three days I will bring before you the greatest treasures of the church.”
This answer satisfied the governor; so Laurence was set free, and Macrianus impatiently awaited the time when the expected stores of gold and silver should be placed before him.
On the appointed day Macrianus, attended by his officers, came to the place where the Christians usually assembled. They were calmly received by Laurence at the entrance and invited to pass into an inner room.
“Are the treasures collected?” was the first question of Macrianus.
“They are, my lord,” replied Laurence. “Will you enter and view them?”
With these words he opened a door and displayed to the astounded gaze of the governor, the poor pensioners of the church, a chosen number — a row of the lame, a row of the blind, orphans and widows, the helpless and the weak. Astonished by the sight, the governor turned fiercely upon Laurence, saying: “What mean you by this mockery? Where are the treasures of gold and silver you promised to deliver up?”
“These that you see before you,” replied the undaunted Laurence, “are the true treasures of the church. In the widows and orphans you behold her gold and silver, her pearls and precious stones. These are her real riches. Make use of them by asking for their prayers; they will prove your best weapon against your foes.”
Enraged and disappointed at not securing the hoped-for gold (which had been carried to a place of safety during the three days that had elapsed), the governor furiously commanded his guards to seize Laurence and take him to a dungeon. There, terrible to relate, a great fire was built upon the stone floor, and a huge gridiron placed upon it; then the martyr was stripped of his clothing and thrown upon this fiery bed, to slowly perish in the scorching heat.
The cruel tyrant gazed down upon this dreadful sight to gratify his hatred and revenge; but the martyr had strength and spirit to triumph over him even to the last. Not a murmur escaped him, but with his dying breath he prayed for the Christian church at Rome, and for the conversion of the entire empire to God; and so, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he gave up the ghost.
A Roman soldier, named Romanus, who looked on at the sufferings of St. Laurence, was so much affected by the martyr’s courage and faith that he became a convert to Christianity. As soon as this was known the soldier was severely scourged, and afterward beheaded. — Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
013 — TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF GEORGE EDWARD DRYER
This saint of God went to heaven from Readsburg, Wis., Feb. 1, 1896. His sister, Mrs. Evaline Dryer Green, sends us the following:
Dear readers, come with me for a little while as I look on memory’s walls. See, there are many things written there! Here is one story, sweet and sacred, almost too sacred to relate; yet as with hushed voices we talk of this, our hearts shall melt and we shall feel that heaven is drawing nigher.
I remember my baby brother — though I was a child of but four years when he came into our home. I well remember that little face as I saw it first. I remember the chubby brown hands when he was a wee boy, always in mischief then. I was a frail girl, and he soon outgrew me. Then those sweet years of home life-and later the glad home comings when I was away at school. On my return George was always the first to wave his hand and shout for joy — perhaps toss his hat high in the air and give a certain “whoop” and three cheers that I loved to hear. We were right loyal friends, my brother and I. And then — ah, its here I’d wish to draw the vail, and forget. We thought he would accomplish his ambitions — so strong, so full of life! But we will only glance at those long months of suffering and hasten to the last. Nearly eighteen months of weariness from coughing, and there he lay, the picture of patient endurance, saying from his heart’s depths, “Farewell, mortality — Jesus is mine. Welcome, eternity — Jesus is mine!”
Often he would call me near him and say, “Oh, sister, the Lord does so save me!”
To the doctor, the boys of his own age, to neighbors, and all who came, he testified how Jesus saved him, through and through.
The last hours were drawing near. One of the Lord’s servants came and prayed. George prayed for father, mother, brothers and sisters. A little later in the evening a sweat, deathly cold, covered him. We thought he was going then — the poor, weak body seemed all but gone, while the spirit grew even more bright. Ah, that picture! That high, marble-white brow, either cheek glowing with fever intense, great, expressive blue eyes, that peered earnestly, joyfully, all about him and upward. Those dear hands were lifted high, while he said, with heaven lighting his face, “Angels now are hovering round us.”
(Even now I feel to say, as I did then, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”)
Again he came back to us — to spend one more night of suffering on earth, and to work for God and eternity. We watched all night, while he praised God, often saying under his breath, between awful fits of coughing, “Precious Jesus!” Toward morning he asked a dear sister to sing “I Saw A Happy Pilgrim.”
Finally the morning came; a dark, rainy morning in February. The gray light was just dawning when we all gathered about his bed. We repeated beautiful texts to him, and verses of hymns that he most loved, and encouraged him to the very river’s brink. His last spoken words were, “Eva, come on this side.” Then, peacefully he closed his eyes and grew so still.
“And with the morn, those angel faces smile, Which I have loved long since — and lost a while.”
014 — “FIVE MINUTES MORE TO LIVE”
A young man stood before a large audience in the most fearful position a human being could be, placed on the scaffold! The noose had been adjusted around his neck. In a few moments more he would be in eternity. The sheriff took out his watch and said, “If you have anything to say, speak now; as you have but five minutes more to live.” What awful words for a young man to hear, in full health and vigor!
Shall I tell you his message to the youth about him? He burst into tears and said with sobbing: “I have to die! I had only one little brother. He had beautiful blue eyes and flaxen hair. How I loved him! I got drunk — the first time. I found my little brother gathering strawberries. I got angry with him, without cause; and killed him with a blow from a rake. I knew nothing about it till I awoke on the following day and found myself closely guarded. They told me that when my little brother was found, his hair was clotted with his blood and brains. Whisky had done it! It has ruined me! I have only one more word to say to the young people before I go to stand in the presence of my Judge. Never, Never, NEVER touch anything that can intoxicate!”
Whiskey did it! The last words of this doomed young man make our heart ache, and we cry out to God, “How long, how long shall our nation be crazed with rum? When, oh when, will the American people wake up?”
Oh that the professed people of God would vote as they pray. What about the licensed saloon that deals out this poison that sends millions reeling and crazed with drink to hell? What about the multitudes of innocent people who are killed by inches and sacrificed to the god of rum? We protect and license a man who deals out death and destruction, and hang a man who gets drunk and kills his neighbor. Who was most to blame — this young man, or the saloon-keeper who made him crazy, or the government that gave the saloon-keeper license not only to make crazy but to ruin soul and body? God help us to decide this question in the light of the coming judgment. Amen.
015 — BLACK DAYS AND WHITE ONES — A RESCUE STORY
We are thankful to God that we have had the privilege of helping to launch the Rescue Home in Grand Rapids, Mich. We induced the Salvation Army to open a home in our city by furnishing the buildings free of rent the first year, and by helping in other ways. Capt. Duzau, the first in charge, led not only the subject of the sketch to God, but most of the other girls that passed through the home have been saved from a life of shame, and I am told by good authority that most all of the girls who enter the various rescue homes of the Army are saved. We quote the following from the War Cry:
Alice’s life had always been a sad one — at least, as far as she could remember. Perhaps the first three years of babyhood life had been as pleasant and happy as if she had been born in a more comfortable home But Alice couldn’t be sure about this, and no one else could speak for her.
Certainly there was misery and unhappiness from one day on — misery that lasted for nearly fifteen years of girlhood life. That was the day which came shortly after her third birthday, when Alice ceased to be a baby.
She couldn’t remember much about it, but it seemed like a big, round, black spot, big enough to shut out all the sunlight from life. The day itself was dark and gloomy, but that wasn’t the worst. Some strange men Alice had never seen before came to the little house — and they were all dressed in black — and they took away something in a long, black box — and Alice never saw her mother again after that day. No wonder it seemed to the child — the youngest one of the five thus suddenly left motherless — like something black and awful.
Besides, after that, life was bitterly hard for the one who was still the youngest, but no longer watched over with care that even a three-year-old baby needs. Things at home which had been in some ways bad enough before were worse now; and, from that time on, the child grew up in an atmosphere of such moral degradation that it is a wonder she did not fall sooner and sin more deeply than was the case. Two of her sisters lived an openly sinful life, and assuredly the brother for whom she went to keep house as soon as she was old enough, was no better. A companion of this brother came to the house one day; when he went away he was as light-hearted and careless as ever, but he left behind him such a burden of shame and sorrow and disgrace as poor Alice felt she could not carry.
This girl of seventeen went to her two sisters with the weight of sorrow and wrong, to the two sisters who should have stood in the place of mother to her.
“Nonsense,” said Kate, “why, you’ll get used to it!”
Bettina was a little more sympathetic, but even more discouraging. “I never thought you’d feel like that,” she said, “but it’s too late to mend matters now. It could have been helped yesterday, but not today. What’s done can’t be undone. There isn’t a respectable woman in the world whom speak to you now!” Alice walked away as if in a dream. “What’s done can’t be undone,” she kept repeating to herself, as if to fasten the direful statement upon her mind and memory. Occasionally the words changed, and she repeated, “It’s too late to mend matters now.”
It was the old argument, used so successfully in scores and hundreds and thousands of cases — the argument that one step down the ladder of disgrace involves the whole distance, that there is no hope, no way of escape, after the first wrong-doing.
“There’s no help for it — you are doomed now, anyway-no respectable woman could speak to you — you might as well take what pleasure you can out of this life.” In almost every case, someone is sure to come with this temptation of utter hopelessness, and the young girl whose better nature is fighting against the horror of the whole thing, calls on that better nature to yield the battle. “It is no use trying to be good,” she says despairingly.
So it was with Alice Sawyer. She knew of no one in the village to whom she could go for help, or even Christian advice, and she gave up the struggle. “It isn’t my fault,” she said to herself once when her half dormant conscience spoke out and would be heard. “There simply isn’t any way out for me, or if there is, I can’t find it, and that’s the same thing.”
Weeks passed by, during which no one would have suspected that Alice Sawyer felt any repugnance toward the careless, irregular sort of life she was leading. “There, I knew she’d get used to it soon enough,” exclaimed Kate one day.
But Bettina said nothing. Deep down in her heart there was a sort of sorrow for her youngest sister, but it was a sorrow she did not know how to put into words.
After a time Alice went away from home and found her way to the city of Grand Rapids. Like many others, she imagined that it would be easy to hide her shame in the midst of a crowd, and as soon as she arrived in the city she began her search for work.
She wanted to be lost, but instead she was found-found by the One who came to seek and to save that which was lost.
Almost at the beginning of her search for work, Alice discovered that one part at least of the disheartening prophecy was untrue, because she came across an earnest Christian lady, who not only “spoke to her,” but even took her into her own home for the night.
The next day this lady brought her to the Salvation Army Rescue Home in Grand Rapids. Alice wanted to stay, and was very grateful for the opportunity. Yet it all seemed so strange, so unexpected, that it took the poor child some time to realize that “the way out” of her sin and misery had, actually been found, and that the door was open before her into paths of new life and hope.
Kneeling by her bedside one night, Alice claimed for herself the power of that uttermost salvation which alone can take away the bitterness from the memory of such a past as hers, and which alone can make it possible to sing,
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free:
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avails for me.
That night marked the last of Alice’s unhappy days, the “black ones” as she sometimes called them in contrast to the “white ones” of the new life which then began. Her one sorrow was for those left behind in the village home, without any knowledge of Christ, and she prayed for them all, especially for her father, then seventy-one years old.
“It will take something to touch my father’s heart,” she said one day to the Captain of the Home, “but I am praying for him, and I believe he will give his heart to God.”
That “something” which should touch her father’s heart came sooner than was expected by some.
Alice had to go to the hospital, and after she had been there a short time it became evident that she would never be able to go out again. But she had no fear, and was sorry only because she had hoped to be able to go to others with the story of that wonderful salvation which had availed for her.
On the first evening of her stay in the hospital the Captain and Lieutenant of the Rescue Home went with her and stayed a few hours. As they were saying goodnight to her and to the nurse who was to have her in charge, Alice suddenly dropped on her knees by the bedside.
It was indeed a striking picture. On the one side the two Salvationists in their uniforms, on the other side the nurse in hers, while by the bedside knelt the girl of eighteen who had been saved in time from a life of misery and sorrow. It seemed as if the very light of heaven were striking through, illuminating the scene with divine radiance and blessing. It may indeed have been so, for Alice was rapidly nearing the very gates of heaven.
Suddenly the summons came — such a summons always is sudden at the last, even when the possibility has been in view for some time.
Word was sent to the Rescue Home, and the Captain came at once to the hospital. “I do love you, Captain,” said Alice. Then, with her eyes steadfastly fixed on the face of the one who had lead her into the light of salvation through Jesus, the girl passed quietly, peacefully away to that land where there is no more pain, for the “former things are passed away.”
This scene might do very well as a beautiful ending to a story which began in sadness and gloom. It was indeed a bright, white, glorious day in Alice’s experience, but it did not mark the end of her work on earth.
The “something” which was to touch her father’s heart did reach and touch that man of seventy-one through his youngest daughter’s death.
At the simple funeral service, held in the Rescue Home, he came forward like a child, knelt sobbing by the coffin and asked God to help him meet his Alice in the great, wonderful land beyond the grave. — Adjutant Elizabeth M. Clark
016 — TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF MRS. MARGARET HANEY
Mrs. Margaret Haney, of Greenville, Mich., died of cancer, May 31, 1896, aged 53 years. She was converted fifteen years ago in a meeting held by Bro. S. B. Shaw. Sister Haney was born in Canada. She was an excellent Christian. A few days before she died she said to one of the sisters, “Do you know that I love Jesus?” and to another sister she said, “He fills my soul with glory.”
Tuesday before she died she waved her hands and praised the Lord while Sister Taylor was reading, “I go to prepare a place for you,” etc. A few hours before she passed away I said, “Sister Haney, do you know Jesus?” and she nodded her head, after she could speak no more. She arranged her temporal matters for her departure, selected the text for her funeral (Rev. 14: 13) and asked Bro. D. G. Briggs to preach her funeral sermon. The funeral was held at Greenville, June 2. The Comforter was present to give hope and cheer to sorrowing friends. Sister Haney will not only be missed in our class, but all over the city, and especially in her home by her husband and children. — Mrs. A. Hoadley
017 — LAST HOURS ON EARTH OF THE NOTED FRENCH INFIDEL, VOLTAIRE
When Voltaire felt the stroke that he realized must terminate in death, he was overpowered with remorse. He at once sent for the priest, and wanted to be “reconciled with the church.” His infidel flatterers hastened to his chamber to prevent his recantation; but it was only to witness his ignominy and their own. He cursed them to their faces; and, as his distress was increased by their presence, he repeatedly and loudly exclaimed:
“Begone! It is you that have brought me to my present condition. Leave me, I say; begone! What a wretched glory is this which you have produced to me!”
Hoping to allay his anguish by a written recantation, he had it prepared, signed it, and saw it witnessed. But it was all unavailing. For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times, in plaintive accents, he would plead, “O Christ! O Lord Jesus!” Then, turning his face, he would cry out, “I must die — abandoned of God and of men!”
As his end drew near, his condition became so frightful that his infidel associates were afraid to approach his bedside. Still they guarded the door, that others may not know how awfully an infidel was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said, “For all the wealth of Europe she would never see another infidel die.”
It was a scene of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration. Such is the well-attested end of the one who had a natural sovereignty of intellect, excellent education, great wealth, and much earthly honor. We may all well exclaim with Balsam, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his. — The Contrast Between Infidelity and Christianity
018 — DYING WORDS OF SAMUEL HICK
Many of our readers no doubt have heard of “Sammy Hick, the Village Blacksmith.” His eccentricities and devotion to God are widely known, not only in England, his native land, but in other countries as well. His biographer says:
In 1825, Mr. Hick gave up business and devoted the remainder of his days to the work of the Lord. Everywhere he became very popular. In London he drew crowds to hear him, and he was the means of doing much good. In speaking in the pulpit or on the platform, he was loud and vehement; on warming up with his subject he was much given to gesticulation and stamping, making the platform tremble under him; in fact, on one occasion he stamped the platform down. “Just at the moment of applying his subject,” says Rev. J. Everett, “and saying, ‘Thus it was that the prophets went,’ that part of the platform on which he stood gave way, and he instantly disappeared. Fortunately no injury was done.”
And now the time for his dissolution drew near. About a month before he died he told his friends he was “going home.” He wished Mr. Dawson to preach his funeral sermon from Isaiah 48:18; he also desired that his death should be advertised in the Leeds paper, and that a sack of meal should be baked into bread and two cheeses purchased for the use of those who came to witness the interment. “My friends will all come,” said he, “there will be a thousand people at my funeral.”
By Martha’s desire, however, Mr. Dawson succeeded in “persuading him off” this baking and cheese purchasing business, especially as his means were small. That dry, hearty humor to which he was so much given showed itself even in his last hours. A friend who prayed with him in his last illness asked the Lord to “make his bed in his affliction.”
“Yes,” responded Sammy, “and shake it well, Lord.”
Remembering that the stairs were narrow, and the windows of the room small, he said to those about him, “As soon as I die, you must take the body down and lay it out; for you will not be able to get the coffin either down-stairs or out of the windows.” Then after singing I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath:
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers,
He said faintly, “I am going, get the sheets ready”; and on Monday, at 11 p. m., Nov. 9th, 1829, in the 71st year of his age, he took his departure. On the following Sunday he was buried in Aberford Churchyard, and about a thousand persons attended the funeral; many of whom after taking their last look at the coffin, turned away exclaiming, “If ever there was a good man, Sammy Hick was one.” — Life Stories Of Remarkable Preachers
019 — THE SAINTED SUSANNA WESLEY
“The Mother of Methodism” was born in London in 1669, and was the youngest child of Dr. Samuel Annesley, an able and prominent minister, who paid every attention to the education of his favorite daughter. When Susanna was twenty years of age she and her husband, Samuel Wesley, a graduate of Exeter College and a curate in London, began married life on an income of sixty pounds a year.
The young husband was a diligent student and devoted to his work; his beautiful wife, a person of fine manners. Had Susanna Wesley not been a person of very strong will, she could not have borne all the trials, privations and hardships incident to her long and toilsome life. Not only did poverty often stare the rapidly increasing family in the face, but in 1702 their home was destroyed by fire and other troubles fast followed.
Mr. Wesley, owing debts which he could not pay, was put into prison, where he remained three months before his friends succeeded in releasing him. A still greater calamity was awaiting them. In 1709 Epworth Rectory was burned to the ground, and some of the children narrowly escaped with their lives. Their books, which had been purchased with great self-denial, twenty pounds in money and their clothing were all gone. A month later Mrs. Wesley’s nineteenth and last child was born. The rectory was after a time rebuilt and the scattered family reunited.
Notwithstanding her manifold household duties Mrs. Wesley found time for a vast amount of literary work. Not only did she conduct a household school, which she continued for twenty years, but she prepared three text-books for the religious training of her children.
She also held Sunday evening services in the rectory for her children and servants. Others asked permission to come, and often two hundred were present.
The letters she wrote to her children give some insight into her pure and noble character. When John entered school at London many letters passed between mother and son. She advised him what books to read. “Imitation of Christ” and “Rules for Holy Living and Dying” made lasting impressions upon him. When he was first asked to go to America to preach the gospel he hesitated, wishing to remain near his aged mother.
When he consulted her she replied, “Had I twenty sons I should rejoice were they all so employed, though I should never see them again.” What must have been her feelings as she witnessed the grand work done by his son before she was called away.
“Children, as soon as I am released sing a psalm of praise to God,” was her last uttered request. The words of her son Charles, “God buries the workmen, but the work goes on,” are true, and though this model mother has long since passed away, the grand work of her sons still goes forward. — Traits of Character
020 — “OH! I HAVE MISSED IT AT LAST!”
Some time ago, a physician called upon a young man who was ill. He sat for a little while by the bedside, examining his patient, and then he honestly told him the sad intelligence that he had but a very short time to live. The young man was astonished; he did not expect it would come to that so soon. He forgot that death comes “in such an hour as ye think not.”
At length he looked up into the face of the doctor, and, with a most despairing countenance, repeated the expression, “I have missed it — at last.”
“What have you missed?” inquired the tenderhearted, sympathizing physician.
“I have missed it — at last,” again he repeated.
“Doctor, I have missed the salvation of my soul.”
“Oh, say not so — it is not so. Do you remember the thief on the cross?”
“Yes, I remember the thief on the cross. And I remember that he never said to the Holy Ghost, ‘Go thy way.’ But I did. And now He is saying to me, ‘Go your way.'”
He lay gasping a while, and looking up with a vacant, starting eye, he said, “I was awakened and was anxious about my soul a little time ago. But I did not want to be saved then. Something seemed to say to me, ‘Don’t put it off, make sure of salvation.’ I said to myself, ‘I will postpone it.’ I knew I ought not to do it. I knew I was a great sinner, and needed a Savior. I resolved, however, to dismiss the subject for the present. Yet I could not get my own consent to do it until I had promised to take it up again, at a time not remote and more favorable. I bargained away, resisted and insulted the Holy Spirit. I never thought of coming to this. I meant to have made my salvation sure, and now I have missed it — at last.”
“You remember,” said the doctor, “that there were some who came at the eleventh hour.”
“My eleventh hour,” he rejoined, “was when I had that call of the Spirit. I have had none since — shall not have. I am given over to be lost. Oh! I have missed it! I have sold my soul for nothing — a feather — a straw — undone forever!” This was said with such indescribable despondency, that nothing was said in reply.
After lying a few moments, he raised his head, and looking all around the room as if for some desired object, he buried his face in the pillow, and again exclaimed in agony and horror, “Oh! I have missed it at last!” and died.
Reader, you need not miss your salvation, for you may have it now. What you have read is a true story. How earnestly it says to you, “NOW is the accepted time!”
“Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3: 7, 8). — The Fire Brand
021 — “VICTORY! TRIUMPH! TRIUMPH!” WERE JOHN S. INSKIP’S LAST WORDS
This great evangelist of full salvation was greatly used in bringing Christians from a life of wandering in the wilderness of doubts and fears to the promised land of perfect rest. For many years he was at the head of the great holiness movement in this country. His biographer says:
“The agents whom God employs for special work, are marked men — men who seem, by special enduement, to be leaders; and who at once, by their superior adaptation, command public attention and take their place, by general consent, in the front ranks. Such a character was Rev. John S. Inskip.”
He was a great sufferer for many weeks before he died. On one occasion Mrs. Inskip said: “My dear, religion was good when you were turned from your father’s home; it was good in the midst of labor, trials and misrepresentations; it has been good in the midst of great battles, and when the glorious victory came; does it now hold in the midst of this great suffering?”
He pressed her hand, and with uplifted eyes, and a hallowed smile, responded, “Yes, oh yes! I am unspeakably happy.” This was followed by “Glory! glory!” During his sickness he requested many of his friends to sing and pray with him. He was “always cheerful and his face radiant with smiles and bright with the light of God.
His biographer says: The last song sung, on the day of his departure, was, “The Sweet Bye And Bye.” While singing that beautiful and appropriate hymn, the dying man pressed his loving wife to his breast, and then, taking her hands in his, raised them up together, and with a countenance beaming with celestial delight, shouted, “Victory! Triumph! Triumph!” These were his last words on earth.
He ceased to breathe at 4 p. m., March 7, 1884, but so peacefully and imperceptibly did he pass away, that those who watched by him could scarcely perceive the moment when he ceased to live. On that day the Christian warrior, the powerful preacher, the tender husband, the world-renowned evangelist, was gathered to his fathers, and rested from his toil. “And thou art crowned at last.”
The intelligence of his death spread throughout all the land with great rapidity, and though not unexpected, it produced a profound impression upon all. Letters of Christian sympathy for the afflicted widow came pouring in from all parts of the country. The general feeling was, that a great and useful man had fallen — one whose place in the holiness movement of the country could not easily be filled. — Life of John S. Inskip
022 — THE WONDERFUL COURAGE OF THE MARTYR PHILIP, BISHOP OF HERACLEA
Philip, bishop of Heraclea, in Asia Minor, who lived in the third century, had in almost every act of his life shown himself to be a good Christian.
An officer, named Aristomachus, being sent to shut up the Christian church in Heraclea, Philip told him that the shutting up of buildings made by hands could not destroy Christianity; for the true faith dwelt not in the places where God is adored, but in the hearts of His people.
Being denied entrance to the church in which he used to preach, Philip took up his station at the door, and there exhorted the people to patience, perseverance and godliness. For this he was seized and carried before the governor, who severely reproved him, and then said: “Bring all the vessels used in your worship, and the Scriptures which you read and teach the people, and surrender them to me, before you are forced to do so by tortures.”
Philip listened unmoved to this harsh command, and then replied “If you take any pleasure in seeing us suffer, we are prepared for the worst you can do. This infirm body is in your power; use it as you please. The vessels you demand shall be delivered up, for God is not honored by gold and silver, but by faith in His name. As to the sacred books, it is neither proper for me to part with them, nor for you to receive them.”
This answer so much enraged the governor, that he ordered the venerable bishop to be put to the torture.
The crowd then ran to the place where the Scriptures and the church plate were kept. They broke down the doors, stole the plate, and burned the books; after this they wrecked the church.
When Philip was taken to the market-place, he was ordered to sacrifice to the Roman gods. In answer to this command, he made a spirited address on the real nature of the Deity; and said that it appeared that the heathens worshipped that which might lawfully be trodden under foot, and made gods of such things as Providence had designed for their common use.
Philip was then dragged by the mob through the streets, severely scourged, and brought again to the governor; who charged him with obstinate rashness, in continuing disobedient to the emperor’s command. To this he boldly replied that he thought it wise to prefer heaven to earth, and to obey God rather than man. The governor then sentenced him to be burned, which was done accordingly, and he expired singing praises to God in the midst of the fire. — Foxes Book, of Martyrs
023 — “I CAN SEE THE OLD DEVIL HERE ON THE BED WITH ME.”
There lived at one time in our neighborhood a man whom we will call Mr. B____. He was intelligent, lively, a good conversationalist, and had many friends. But Mr. B loved tobacco and strong drink, and was not friendly to Christianity. He would not attend church and would laugh and make fun of religion, and some of his neighbors he would call Deacon so-and-so for fun.
But Mr. B____ was growing old. His head was frosted over with many winters and he had long since passed his three score and ten years.
At the close of a wintry day, in a blinding snowstorm, a neighbor called at our home saying Mr. B____ wished to see my husband. Knowing Mr. B____ was ill, my husband was soon on his way. On entering the sick room, he asked what he wished of him. He replied, “O, I want you to pray for me.”
“Shall I not read a chapter from the Bible to you first?” was asked. He assented. The chapter selected was the fifth of St. John.
While reading, Mr. B____ would say, “I can see the old devil here on the bed with me, and he takes everything away from me as fast as you read it to me, and there are little ones on each side of me.”
After reading, prayer was offered for him, and he was told to pray for himself. He said: “I have prayed for two days and nights and can get no answer. I can shed tears over a corpse, but over this Jesus I cannot shed a tear. It is too late, too late! Twenty-five years ago, at a camp-meeting held near my home, was the time that I had ought to have given my heart to Jesus. Oh!” he cried, “see the steam coming up! See the river rising higher and higher! Soon it will be over me and I will be gone.”
The room was filled with companions of other days; not a word was spoken by them. Fear seemed to have taken hold of them; and some said after that, “I never believed in a hell before, but I do now. O, how terrible!”
Mr. B____ lived but a short time after this and then died as he had lived, a stranger to Jesus, with no interest in His cleansing blood. — E. A. Rowes
024 — “GOD HAS CALLED ME TO COME UP HIGHER.”
Mrs. Gafford was dying, away from father, mother, brothers and sisters. Not one of her relatives knew of her illness. She mentioned this fact to me, and requested me to tell her people how kind her husband’s family had been to her, and that she had had everything that could be done for her.
Mrs. Gafford was a noted teacher, and was a graduate from the Normal College, South Nashville. She had been married but two months before her death occurred, which was on the same day that her marriage took place. Mr. Gafford’s youngest brother came for me, saying, “Sister Chloe says she is dying and wants to see you.”
As I entered the room, she said, “Mrs. Moore, God has called me to come home. I have had a happy, beautiful home on this earth, but God has one for me that will last forever.”
When Bro. Harrel came, she said, “Bro. Harrel, God has called me to come up higher. He says my life’s work is done.”
Bro. Harrel said, “We need you so much here, I am going to ask God to spare you to us.”
Mrs. Gafford replied, “The Lord’s will be done.” Bro. Harrel then read to her from the Bible. She commented on each passage, saying, “The Lord has been all this to me.”
As he read “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee,” she said, “Bro. Harrel, death is the deep waters, God is with me.” Then, putting her arms around her mother-in-law’s neck, she said, “God has sent me here to die to win you to heaven.”
She then began to sing “The Unclouded Day” and “Home, Sweet Home”; and soon after left us to live with God. As Mr. Gafford, her husband’s father, had died several years before, they did not know each other on this earth, but I am sure that they have met up yonder. — Prepared for this book by Mrs. T. C. Moore, White’s Bend, Tenn.
025 — CARRIE CARMEN’S VISION OF THE HOLY CITY
When Carrie Carmen, with whom the author was personally acquainted, as pastor, came to the “river’s margin,” perfectly conscious, she gazed upward, and exclaimed, “Beautiful! beautiful! beautiful”
One asked, “What is so beautiful?”
“Oh, they are so beautiful.”
“What do you see?”
“Angels! and they are so beautiful.”
“How do they look?”
“Oh, I can’t tell you, they are so beautiful.”
“Have they wings?”
“Yes! and hark! hark! They sing the sweetest of anything I ever heard.”
“Do you see Christ?”
“No, but I see the Holy City that was measured with the reed whose length and breadth and height are equal, and whose top reaches to the skies; and it is so beautiful I can’t tell you how splendid it is.” Then she repeated the verse beginning “Through the valley of the shadow I must go.”
She then spoke of the loneliness of her husband, and prayed that he might have grace to bear his bereavement, and that strength might be given him to go out and labor for souls. (They were expecting soon to enter the ministry.) She also prayed for her parents, asking that they might make an unbroken band in the beautiful city. She closed her eyes and rested a moment, and then looked up with beaming eyes and said: “I see Christ, and oh, He is so beautiful!”
Her husband asked again, “How does He look?”
“I can’t tell you; but He is so much more beautiful than all me rest.” Again she said, “I see the Holy City.” Then, gazing a moment, she said, “So many!”
“What do you see, of which there are so many?”
“How many are there?”
“A great many; more than I can count.”
“Any you know?”
“Yes, a great many.”
“Uncle George and a lot more. They are calling me. They are beckoning to me.”
“Is there any river there?”
“No; I don’t see any.”
Her husband then said, “Carrie, do you want to go and leave me?”
“No, not until it is the Lord’s will that I should go. I would like to stay and live for you and God’s work. His will be done.”
Presently she lifted her eyes and said, “Oh, carry me off from this bed.”
Her husband said, “She wants to be removed from the bed.” But his father said, “She is talking with the angels.”
When asked if she were, she replied, “Yes.” She then thanked the doctor for his kindness to her, and asked him to meet her in heaven. She closed her eyes, and seemed to be rapidly sinking away.
Her husband kissed her and said, “Carrie, can’t you kiss me?”
She opened her eyes and kissed him, and said: “Yes I can come back to kiss you. I was part way over.” She said but little more, but prayed for herself and for her friends. Frequently she would gaze upward and smile, as though the sights were very beautiful.” — Christ Crowned Within
026 — THE AWFUL END OF A BACKSLIDER
The following is a short account of the life and death of William Pope, of Bolton, in Lancashire. He was at one time a member of the Methodist Society, and was a saved and happy man. His wife, a devoted saint, died triumphantly. After her death his zeal for religion declined, and by associating with back-slidden professors he entered the path of ruin. His companions even professed to believe in the redemption of devils. William became an admirer of their scheme, a frequenter with them of the public-house, and in time a common drunkard.
He finally became a disciple of Thomas Paine, and associated himself with a number of deistical persons at Bolton, who assembled together on Sundays to confirm each other in their infidelity. They amused themselves with throwing the Word of God on the floor, kicking it around the room, and treading it under their feet. God laid His hand on this man’s body, and he was seized with consumption.
Mr. Rhodes was requested to visit William Pope. He says: “When I first saw him he said to me, ‘Last night I believe I was in hell, and felt the horrors and torment of the dammed; but God has brought me back again, and given me a little longer respite. The gloom of guilty terror does not sit so heavy upon me as it did, and I have something like a faint hope that, after all I have done, God may yet save me.’
After exhorting him to repentance and confidence in the Almighty Savior, I prayed with him and left him. In the evening he sent for me again. I found him in the utmost distress, overwhelmed with bitter anguish and despair. I endeavored to encourage him. I spoke of the infinite merit of the great Redeemer, and mentioned several cases in which God had saved the greatest sinners, but he answered, ‘No case of any that has been mentioned is comparable to mine. I have no contrition! I cannot repent! God will damn me! I know the day of grace is lost. God has said of such as are in my case, “I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh,”‘
I said, ‘Have you ever known anything of the mercy and love of God?’
‘Oh, yes,’ he replied, ‘many years ago I truly repented and sought the Lord and found peace and happiness.’
I prayed with him after exhorting him to seek the Lord, and had great hopes of his salvation. He appeared much affected, and begged I would represent his case in our Society and pray for him. I did so that evening, and many hearty petitions were put up for him.
Mr. Barraclough gives the following account of what he witnessed. He says: “I went to see William Pope, and as soon as he saw me he exclaimed, ‘You are come to see one who is damned forever!’
I answered, ‘I hope not; Christ can save the chief of sinners.’
He replied, ‘I have denied Him, I have denied Him; therefore hath He cast me off forever! I know the day of grace is past, gone — gone, never more to return!’
I entreated him not to be too hasty, and to pray. He answered, ‘I cannot pray! My heart is quite hardened, I have no desire to receive any blessing at the hand of God,’ and then cried out, ‘Oh, the hell, the torment, the fire that I feel within reel. Oh, eternity.’ eternity! To dwell forever with devils and damned spirits in the burning lake must be my portion, and that justly!’
On Thursday I found him groaning under the weight of the displeasure of God. His eyes roiled to and fro; he lifted up his hands, and with vehemence cried out, ‘Oh, the burning flame, the hell, the pain I feel! I have done, done the deed, the horrible, damnable deed!’
I prayed with him, and while I was praying he said with inexpressible rage, ‘I will not have salvation at the hand of God! No, no! I will not ask it of Him.’
After a short pause, he cried out, ‘Oh, how I long to be in the bottomless pit — in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone!’
The day following I saw him again. I said, ‘William, your pain is inexpressible.’
He groaned, and with a loud voice cried out, ‘Eternity will explain my torments. I tell you again, I am damned. I will not have salvation.’
He called me to him as if to speak to me, but as soon as I came within his reach he struck me on the head with all his might, and gnashing his teeth, cried out, ‘God will not hear your prayers.’
At another time he said, ‘I have crucified the Son of God afresh, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing! Oh, that wicked and horrible deed of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, which I know I have committed!’
He was often heard to exclaim, ‘I want nothing but hell! Come, O devil, and take me!’ At another time he said, ‘Oh, what a terrible thing it is! Once I might, and would not: now I would and must not.’ He declared that he was best satisfied when cursing.
The day he died, when Mr. Rhodes visited him, and asked the privilege to pray once more with him, he cried out with great strength, considering his weakness, ‘No!’ and passed away in the evening without God.”
Backslider, do you know you are in danger of the fires of hell? Do you know you are fast approaching the:
“Line by us unseen
That crosses every path,
That marks the boundary between
God’s mercy and His wrath.”
You are, and unless you turn quickly, you with William Pope will be writhing in hell through all eternity. God says, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.” But He says again, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Oh, come back and be healed before God shall say of you, “He is joined to his idols, let him alone.” — Remarkable Narratives
027 — THE ADVICE OF ETHAN ALLEN, THE NOTED INFIDEL, TO HIS DYING DAUGHTER
Though the following biographic note may be familiar to some, it may yet be useful to many. Ethan Allen was a professed infidel. He wrote a book against the divinity of our blessed Lord. His wife was a Christian, earnest, cheerful and devoted. She died early, leaving an only daughter behind, who became the idol of her father. She was a fragile, sensitive child, and entwined herself about the rugged nature of her sire, as the vine entwines itself about the knotty and gnarled limbs of the oak. Consumption marked this fair girl for its own; and she wasted away day by day, until even the grasshopper became a burden.
One day her father came into her room and sat down by her bedside. He took her wan, ethereal hand in his. Looking her father squarely in the face, she said:
“My dear father, I’m going to die.”
“Oh! no, my child! Oh! no. The spring is coming and with the birds and breezes and the bloom, your pale cheeks will blush with health.”
“No, the doctor was here today. I felt I was nearing the grave, and I asked him to tell me plainly what I had to expect. I told him that it was a great thing to exchange worlds; that I did not wish to be deceived about myself, and if I was going to die I had some preparations I wanted to make. He told me my disease was beyond human skill; that a few more suns would rise and set, and then I would be borne to my burial. You will bury me, father, by the side of my mother, for that was her dying request. But father, you and mother did not agree on religion. Mother often spoke to me of the blessed Savior who died for us all. She used to pray for both you and me, that the Savior might be our friend, and that we might all see Him as our Savior, when He sits enthroned in His glory. I don’t feel that I can go alone through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Now, tell me, father, whom shall I follow, you or mother? Shall I reject Christ, as you have taught me, or shall I accept Him, as He was my mother’s friend in the hour of her great sorrow?”
There was an honest heart beneath that rough exterior. Though tears nearly choked his utterance, the old soldier said:
“My child, cling to your mother’s Savior; she was right. I’ll try to follow you to that blessed abode.”
A serene smile over-spread the face of the dying girl, and who can doubt there is an unbroken family in heaven.
028 — “MA, I SHALL BE THE FIRST OF OUR FAMILY OVER YONDER.”
Asa Hart Alling, eldest son of Rev. J. H. and Jennie E. Alling, of Rock River Conference, was born Dec. 20, 1866, in Newark, Kendall County, Ill.; and died in Chicago, April 19, 1881. He was converted and united with the church at Morris when eleven. His conversion was clear and well defined, and his Christian life eminently satisfactory. He was regularly present at worship, and frequently took part. He would invariably close his prayer by asking the Lord to keep him “from bad boys.” He assisted cheerfully in the fulfillment of his own prayer, and made choice of the more noble youths of his own age. And while most boys were devoting their spare time to fun and rude sport, he was applying himself to works of benevolence and humanity, and numbers of aged and infirm people living near Simpson church will bear record of the good deeds by his youthful hands.
In the public school he took high rank, and led his classmates. For his years he was well advanced. Friday, April 15, he complained of being ill, but insisted upon going to school. He returned in distress, took to his bed, and did not leave it. He was smitten with cerebro-spinal meningitis, and was at times in agony. Through it all he proved himself a hero and a Christian conqueror. He realized that his sickness would terminate fatally, and talked about death with composure.
He put his arms about his mother’s neck, and gently drawing her face close to his own, said, “Ma, I shall be the first of our family over yonder, but I will stand on the shore and wait for you all to come.”
He requested his mother to sing for him, “Pull for the shore.” She being completely overcome with grief could not sing. He said, “Never mind, ma; you will sing it after I am gone, won’t you?”
To a Christian lady who came to see him, he said, “You sing for me. Sing ‘Hold the fort:'” She sang it. “Now sing ‘Hallelujah: ‘Tis done.'” He fully realized that the work of his salvation was done, and he was holding the fort till he should be called up higher.
He bestowed his treasures upon his brother and sisters. He gave his Bible to his brother Treat; and as he did so said to his father, “Pa, tell aunty, who gave me this Bible, that I died a Christian.”
His last hours of consciousness were rapidly closing. He remarked, “Ma, I shall not live till morning; I am so tired, and will go to sleep. If I do not wake up, good-bye; good-bye all.”
A short time afterward he fell asleep. He was not, for God had taken him. He had reached the shores of eternal life for which he had pulled so earnestly and with success. His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people, who thronged the church. The services were conducted by several of the Chicago pastors, and were very impressive and instructive. We all felt as if we had lost a treasure, and heaven had gained a jewel. — G. A. Vanhorne
029 — “TAKE THEM AWAY — TAKE THEM AWAY.”
“Some years ago a neighboring family, consisting of father, mother, and five or six children that God had entrusted to their care, were all seemingly without a thought of eternity — all for the world and the things of the world. But soon the dark shadows began to gather. The father was taken sick. He grew worse and worse and soon it was said that he was seriously ill. In a few short days the message came to me saying, “Come quick, Mr. S. is dying.”
I went immediately to his bedside, and found him talking and trying to draw back from some apparition that he evidently saw, saying, “Take them away! Take them away!” It seemed to be the demons or the wicked spirits tormenting him while yet alive.”
The above was recently sent us for publication by Mrs. M. E. Holland, Bentonville, Ark. May God help all our readers, if not already free from evil spirits, to call on God to take them away at once — not wait until they are called to die. The time to get rid of the devil is when he first makes his appearance, or when the soul becomes conscious of his presence. May God help our readers to realize that “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation.”
“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say” (1 Cor. 10: 11-12).
030 — A DYING MAN’S REGRETS
A minister once said to a dying man, “If God should restore you to health, think you that you would alter your course of life?”
He answered: “I call heaven and earth to witness, I would labor for holiness as I shall soon labor for life. As for riches and pleasure and the applause of men, I account them as dross. Oh! if the righteous Judge would but reprieve and spare me a little longer, in what spirit would I spend the remainder of my days! I would know no other business, aim at no other end, than perfecting myself in holiness. Whatever contributed to that — every means of grace, every opportunity of spiritual improvement, should be dearer to me than thousands of gold and silver. But, alas! why do I amuse myself with fond imaginations? The best resolutions are now insignificant, because they are too late.”
Such was the language of deep concern uttered by one who was beginning to look at these things in the light of the eternal world, which, after all, is the true light. Here we stand on the little molehills of sublunary life, where we cannot get a clear view of that other world; but, oh! what must it be to stand on the top of the dark mountain of death, and take an outlook upon our surroundings, knowing that from the top of that mountain, if angel pinions do not lift us to the skies, we must take a leap into the blackness of darkness!
Reader, when your soul shall pass into eternity, is it an angel or a fiend that shall greet you on your entrance there? If you want a well-grounded hope of heaven, live for it! live for it! — The Manna.
031 — THE TRANSLATION OF THE SAINTED FRANCES E. WILLARD
Early on February 17, the last day God let us have her with us, she remembered it was time for her “letter from home,” as she loved to call our official paper, The Union Signal, and sweetly said, “Please let me sit up and let me have our beautiful Signal.”
She was soon laid back upon her pillows, when, taking Dr. Hills’ hand in hers, she spoke tender, appreciative words about her friend and physician, of which the last were these, “I say, God bless him; I shall remember his loving kindness through all eternity.”
A little later Mrs. Hoffman, National Recording Secretary of our society, entered the room for a moment. Miss Willard seemed to be unconscious, but as Mrs. Hoffman quietly took her hand she looked up and said, “Why, that’s Clara! Good Clara! Clara, I’ve crept in with mother, and it’s the same beautiful world and the same people, remember that — it’s just the same.”
“Has my cable come?” she soon asked; “Oh, how I want to come”; and when, a few moments later, a message of tenderest solicitude and love was received from dear Lady Henry, I placed it in her hand. “Read it, oh read it quickly — what does it say?” were her eager questions, and as I read the precious words I heard her voice, “Oh, how sweet, oh, how lovely, good — good!”
Quietly as a babe in its mother’s arms she now fell asleep, and though we knew it not “the dew of eternity was soon to fall upon her forehead.” “She had come to the borderland of this closely curtained world.”
Only once again did she speak to us, when about noon the little thin, white hand — that active, eloquent hand — was raised in an effort to point upward, and we listened for the last time on earth to the voice that to thousands has surpassed all others in its marvellous sweetness and magnetic power, it was like the lovely and pathetic strain from an Aeolian harp on which heavenly zephyrs were breathing, and she must even then have caught some glimpse of those other worlds for which she longed as she said, in tones of utmost content, “How beautiful it is to be with God.”
As twilight fell, hope died in our yearning heart, for we saw that the full glory of another life was soon to break o’er our loved one’s “earthly horizon.” Kneeling about her bed, with the faithful nurses who had come to love their patient as a sister, we silently watched while the life immortal, the life more abundant, came in its fullness to this inclusive soul, whose wish, cherished from her youth, that she might go, not like a peasant to a palace, but as a child to her Father’s home, was about to be fulfilled. A few friends who had come to the hotel to make inquiries joined the silent and grief-stricken group. Slowly the hours passed with no recognition of the loved ones about her. There came an intent upward gaze of the heavenly blue eyes, a few tired sighs, and at the “noon hour” of the night Frances Willard was:
“Born into beauty
And born into bloom,
O’er death and the tomb.”
— The Beautiful Life of Frances E. Willard
032 — “IT IS EASIER TO GET INTO HELL THAN IT WILL BE TO GET OUT.”
In the village of Montgomery, Mich., in the spring of 1884, an infidel, husband of a spiritualist, was stricken down with disease. He had such a hatred for the cause of Christ that he had requested previous to his death that his body should not be ‘carried to a church for funeral services, or any pastor be called upon to officiate.’
As he was nearing the shores of eternity, he turned his face toward the wall and began to talk of his future prospects. His wife saw that he was troubled in spirit and endeavored to comfort and console him by telling him not to be afraid; that his spirit would return to her and they would commune together then as now. But this gave him no comfort in this awful hour. With a look of despair, he said, “I see a great high wall rising around me, and am finding out at last, when it is too late, that it is easier to get into hell than it will be to get out,” and in a few moments his spirit had departed from this world to receive its reward.
My sister-in-law was present at the time and heard the conversation. — Written for this book by Rev. W. C. Muffit, Cleveland, Ohio.
033 — THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN WALTER C. PALMER’S SUNLIT JOURNEY TO HEAVEN
His biographer, Rev. George Hughes, says: At 5:15 p. m., July 20, 1883, his ransomed spirit entered the triumphal chariot and, under a bright angelic escort, sped away to the world of light and blessedness. There was no dark river to cross — no stormy billows to intercept his progress. It was a translation from the terrestrial to the celestial — the work of a moment, but covered with eternal resplendency. Heaven’s pearly gates were surely opened wide to admit this battle-scarred veteran, laden with the spoils and honors of a thousand battles. The light of a conqueror was in his eye. His countenance was radiant. His language was triumphant. The angelic escort was near.
The expanded vision was rapturously fixed on immortal objects and scene. The ear was saluted with the songs of angels and redeemed spirits. The blood-washed soul was filled with high expectancy. Every avenue of the inner being was swept with rapture. Hallelujahs burst momentarily from his lips. The aspects of such a departure were gorgeous indeed — no other word will express it. The splendors of the eternal state were gathered to a focus, and burned intensely around the couch of the Christian warrior as he breathed his earthly farewell. Such a departure was the allotment of the beloved physician.
The place designated was wondrously attractive. A few steps only from his cottage-home, the grand old ocean was ceaselessly rolling his billows upon the strand, making solemn music, offering a deep-toned anthem of praise to the Creator. The clear blue heavens above were resplendent. The sun was declining, but glorious in his decline.
But the moral surroundings of the period set for this departure were still more gorgeous. Not far away was the hallowed grove, the place of holy song and Gospel ministration, where multitudes congregated. And there, too, the “Janes Tabernacle,” where such indescribable triumphs had been won. “The voice of salvation and rejoicing was in the tabernacles of the righteous.” Even now we seem to hear the forest resounding with prayer and praise. Surely holy angels must have delighted to hover o’er the scene, glad to join the hallowed songs.
And what is that we see? In yonder cottage there is one newly born into the kingdom of heaven. The first song of the new life is breaking upon the ears of surrounding friends, Hallelujahs rule the hour.
In a little tent there is a child of God who has just entered “Beulah Land!” He is inhaling its pure atmosphere. The fragrance of the land delights him. He is basking in the meridian rays of the “Sun of righteousness.” What a heavenly glow there is upon his countenance! How the Beulah-notes burst from his lips!
Hark! yonder is the shout of victory! What does it mean? Ah, one of God’s dear saints has been sorely buffeted of Satan; but “Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son,” she has just said, authoritatively, in overcoming faith, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” And, lo! the enemy is discomfited — he flies ingloriously from the field! Jesus, in the person of His tempted one, has driven the arch-foe to his native hell.
And so we might go on in this field survey. At each step new wonders would rise upon our view. Heaven and earth were surely keeping jubilee in the sacred inclosure.
Can we conceive of a grander spot, in either hemisphere, from which a good man might make his transition from world to world? Nay! Is it not written, “My times are in Thy hand”? And are not the places too at the Divine disposal? Did not Jehovah conduct (Moses) His servant of old to the Mount of transition, and Himself perform the funeral-rites and interment? And so secure, so hidden from the rude gaze of men the entombment, that the ages have not discovered the burial-place.
Is it too much to think that the God of glory put forth His hand to designate the place, so full of natural and moral attractions, for the departure of His honored servant, Dr. Palmer. And then what a quiet hour — just as the sun was declining and the soft evening shades were being stretched forth! What an evening, after such a day!
All day long the beloved one had been quietly reclining upon his couch. The tokens of his convalescence were cheering. A new light had been given to his languid eye. A radiant smile illumined his whole countenance. Inspiring words dropped from his lips. Loving friends, who had kept sleepless vigils around him, rejoiced with great joy.
The day had been a festive one. The table of the Lord had been spread before him, and he had feasted upon its dainties. At the foot of his couch had been suspended “The Silent Comforter” (meaning perhaps, the Bible, or some publication containing God’s promises) — silent, yet voiceful, telling of the riches of the kingdom of heaven.
It was open at the passage for the day, reading thus:
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee — When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior” (Isaiah 43: 1-3).
What beautiful words — beautiful words of life! His eye and his heart drank in the Father’s message — a message of perfected redemption — of joyous adoption into the royal family, and the conferment of a royal name — of defense against destroying forces, the overflowing waters and the consuming flame — of exalted spiritual relationship, “I am thy God, thy Savior.” O, wondrous message spoken by Isaiah’s fire-touched lips! Well might that prostrate one rise into new life as he gazed upon the glittering pages. Indeed, he had during the weeks of his suffering taken refuge in the precious Word, so that the wicked one had not dared to approach him!
About two weeks before his release from earth, Mrs. Palmer said to him, “My dear, Satan has not troubled you much of late.” Raising his arm, with emphatic voice he exclaimed, “No! he has not been allowed to come near me!”
So now, he was sweetly reposing in the Divine Word as opened to his view on the page of the “Silent Comforter.”
So strong was the doctor’s returning pulse that those who were performing tender ministries were encouraged to have him attired and seated in an easy chair where he could look upon the ocean and be invigorated by its breezes. Indeed, he walked out and took his seat on the upper piazza. The beloved of his life was by his side, and in a letter written to a friend subsequent to the departure of her dear husband, beautifully describes what transpired at this particular juncture:
“About three in the afternoon, he walked out on the second-story balcony, sat there a half-hour or more, and seemed unusually joyous. He talked of the beautiful landscape before him, and the grand old ocean. Seeing our dear friend Mr. Thornley, who had so kindly relieved us of the care of the morning meetings, come out of his cottage on the opposite side of the park, in front of our summer cottage, our loved one waved his hand again and again, with smiles of affectionate recognition. He then went into the room and wrote a business letter to his son-in-law, Joseph F. Knapp, and read it to me in a strong voice, and conversed freely.
“About five o’clock he proposed lying down to rest. His head had scarcely reached the pillow, when I was startled by seeing those large blue eyes open wide, as if piercing the heavens. Two or three struggles, as if for breath, followed. “Raise me higher,” he said, as I put my arm about him, holding him up. A moment’s calm ensued, I said, “Precious darling, it’s passing over.” The dear one, putting his finger on his own pulse, looking so sweetly, said in a low tone, “Not yet” — and almost in the same breath, in a clear, strong voice, said, “I fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” After a moment’s pause, he continued, “I have redeemed thee; thou art mine. When thou pass — ”
Here his loved voice failed. The precious spirit was released to join the glorified above.
034 — “GOOD-BY! I AM GOING TO REST.”
Through the kindness of T. L. Adams, of Magdalena, New Mexico, we furnish our readers with this incident:
In the year 188-, in Milan, Tenn., Ella Bledsoe, daughter of Dr. Bledsoe, lay dying from a painful, wasting flux. Being near neighbors, Ella and my sister had been together much of the time, and from close association had learned to love each other very tenderly.
Ella had now been ill for about nine days. Her Christian father had heretofore kept her under the influence of opiates to ease her pain, but not willing that she should pass out of this world stupefied by these drugs, he had ceased to administer them.
When sister Dorrie and I heard that Ella was dying we at once prayed to God that she might not pass away without leaving a dying testimony. She was a Christian, a member of the C. P. Church, as was also her father. We hastened to her bedside and found her tossing from side to side on her dying couch in the painful agonies of the “last enemy.”
My sister approached her, and sitting on the side of the bed, she took one of her hands in her own, and said, “Ella, are you afraid to die?”
It seemed for a moment all that life offers to a young girl rushed in before her youthful gaze, and she replied, “I hate to die.”
Then turning, like Hezekiah, with her face to the wall for a few moments, doubtless in communion with her Heavenly Father, she turned back and said to sister, “Good-bye; I am going to rest,” and extending her hand to me she said, “Good-bye. Meet me at rest.”
She then called her family up to her. bedside, one by one, and kissed them and bade them “good-bye,” requesting and exhorting them to meet her “Where the weary are at rest.”
This was an affecting scene, one that impressed all that were present with the reality of the joys of the Christian religion, and that when all things around us fade away, this religion enables us to rejoice even in the face of death. Thank God!
“The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (Prov. 14: 32).
“For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).
035 — “THE FIENDS, THEY COME; OH! SAVE ME! THEY DRAG ME DOWN! LOST, LOST, LOST!”
The following incident is concerning a young lady, who, under deep conviction for sin, left a revival meeting to attend a dance which had been gotten up by a party of ungodly men, for the purpose of breaking up the meeting. She caught a severe cold at the dance and was soon on her death bed. In conversation with a minister, she said, “Mr. Rice, my mind was never clearer. I tell you all today that I do not wish to be a Christian. Don’t want to go to heaven — would not if I could. I would rather go to hell than heaven, they need not keep the gates closed.”
“But you don’t want to go to hell, do you Jennie?” was asked.
She replied, “No, Mr. Rice. O, that I had never been born. I am suffering now the agonies of the lost. If I could but get away from God; but no, I must always see Him and be looked upon by Him. How I hate Him — I cannot help it. I drove His Spirit from my heart when He would have filled it with His love; and now I am left to my own evil nature — given over to the devil for my eternal destruction. My agony is inexpressible! How will I endure the endless ages of eternity? O, that dreadful, unlimited, unfathomable eternity.”
When asked by Mr. Rice how she got into that despairing mood, she replied, “It was that fatal Friday evening last winter when I deliberately stayed away from the meeting to attend the dance. I felt so sad, for my heart was tender — I could scarcely keep from weeping. I felt provoked to think that my last dance, as I felt it to be for some cause, should be spoiled. I endured it until I became angry, then with all my might I drove the influence of the Spirit away from me, and it was then that I had the feeling that He had left me forever. I knew that I had done something terrible, but it was done. From that time I have had no desire to be a Christian, but have been sinking down into deeper darkness and more bitter despair. And now all around, and above and beneath me are impenetrable clouds of darkness. O, the terrible gloom; when will it cease?”
She then sank away and lay like one dead a short time. But she raised her hand slightly, her lips quivering as if in the agonies of death, her eyes opened with a fixed and awful stare, and then gave such a despairing groan that sent the chill blood to every heart. “Oh, what horror,” whispered the sufferer. Then turning to Mr. Rice, she said, “Go home now and return this evening. I don’t want you to pray for me. I don’t want to be tormented with the sound of prayer.”
About four o’clock she inquired the time, and upon being told exclaimed, “O, how slowly the hours wear away. This day seems an age to me. O, how will I endure eternity?”
In about an hour she said, “How slowly the time drags. Why may I not cease to be?”
About seven P. M. she sent for Mr. Rice. As he approached her bed Jennie said to him, “I want you to preach at my funeral. Warn all of my young friends against the ball-room. Remember everything I have said and use it.”
He replied, “How can I do this? Jennie, how I do wish you were a good Christian, and had a hope of eternal life.”
“Now, Mr. Rice, I don’t want to hear anything about that. I do not want to be tormented with the thought. I am utterly hopeless; my time is growing short; my fate is eternally fixed. I die without hope because I insulted the Holy Spirit so bitterly. He has justly left me alone to go down to eternal night. He could not have borne with me any longer and followed farther and retained His divine honor and dignity. I wait but a few moments, and as much as I dread it, I must quit these mortal shores. I would delay, I would linger — but no! The fiends, they come; O save me! They drag me down! Lost! lost! lost!” she whispered as she struggled in the agonies of death.
A moment more and she rallied and with glazed eyes she looked upon her weeping friends for the last time, then the lids sank partly down and pressed out a remaining tear as she whispered, “Bind me, ye chains of darkness! Oh! that I might cease to be, but still exist. The worm that never dies, the second death.” The spirit fled, and Jennie Gordon lay a lifeless form of clay. — The Unequal Yoke, by J. H. Miller
036 — “OH, PAPA, WHAT A SWEET SIGHT! THE GOLDEN GATES ARE OPENED.”
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
Lillian Lee, aged ten, when dying spoke to her father thus: “Oh! papa, what a sweet sight! The golden gates are opened and crowds of children come pouring out. Oh! such crowds. And they ran up to me and began to kiss me and call me by a new name. I can’t remember what it was.” She lay and looked upwards, her eyes dreaming. Her voice died into a whisper as she said, “Yes, yes, I come, I come!”
037 — “I AM GOING TO DIE. GLORY BE TO GOD AND THE LAMB FOREVER.”
These were the last words of the sainted Ann Cutler, one of Mr. Wesley’s workers in whom he had great confidence. She was converted under Rev. Win. Bramwell, who wrote the following account:
Ann Cutler was born near Preston, in Lancashire, in the year 1759. Till she was about twenty-six years of age, though she was very strict in her morals and serious in her deportment, yet she never understood the method of salvation by Jesus Christ till the Methodist local preachers visited that neighborhood. After hearing one of them she was convinced of sin, and from that time gave all diligence to obtain mercy. In a short time she received pardon, and her serious deportment evinced the blessing she enjoyed. It was not long before she had a clearer sight into her own heart; and, though she retained her confidence of pardon, she was yet made deeply sensible of the need of perfect love. In hearing the doctrine of sanctification, and believing that the blessing is to be received through faith, she expected instantaneous deliverance, and prayed for the power to believe. Her confidence increased until she could say, “Jesus, thou wilt cleanse me from all unrighteousness!”
In the same year of her finding mercy (1785) the Lord said, “I will, be thou clean.” She found a sinking into humility, love and dependence upon God. At this time her language was, “Jesus, Thou knowest I love Thee with all my heart. I would rather die than grieve Thy Spirit. O! I cannot express how much I love Jesus!” After this change something remarkable appeared in her countenance — a smile of sweet composure. It was noticed by many as a reflection of the divine nature, and it increased to the time of her death. In a few months she felt a great desire for the salvation of sinners, and often wept much in private; and, at the same time, was drawn out to plead with God for the world in general She would frequently say, “I think I must pray. I cannot be happy unless I cry for sinners. I do not want any praise, I want nothing but souls to be brought to God. I am reproached by most. I cannot do it to be seen or heard of men. I see the world going to destruction; and I am burdened till I pour out my soul to God for them.”
Her great devotion to God is shown in the following account of her sickness and death by Mrs. Highfield:
I will endeavor to give you a few particulars relative to the death of Ann Cutler. I would have done it sooner had not the affliction of my family prevented. While she was with us, it seemed to be her daily custom to dedicate herself, body and soul, to God.
She came to Macclesfield, very poorly of a cold, on the fifteenth of December. Being our preaching night, she had an earnest desire to have a prayer-meeting; but I told her on account of preaching being so late as eight o’clock, and the classes having to meet after, it would not be convenient. But she was very importunate, and said she could not be happy without one; adding, “I shall not be long here, and I would buy up every opportunity of doing something for God, for time is short.” Knowing she had an uncommon talent for pleading for such souls as were coming to God, we got a few together, to whom she was made a blessing.
A few days before her death, she often said, “Jesus is about to take me home. I think I shall soon have done with this body of clay; and O how happy shall I then be when I cast my crown before Him, lost in wonder, love and praise!”
About three o’clock on Monday morning (the day of her death) she began to ascribe glory to the ever-blessed Trinity, and continued saying, “Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, and glory be to the Holy Ghost,” for a considerable time. About seven o’clock the doctor, with those about her, thought she was just gone; but, to our great surprise she continued in this state till between ten and eleven o’clock in the forenoon. She then lifted herself up and looked about her, and spoke just so as to be heard, and was very sensible; she seemed perfectly composed, but her strength nearly gone.
About three o’clock she looked at her friends and said, “I am going to die”; and added, “Glory be to God and the Lamb forever!” These were her last words. Soon afterwards the spirit left this vale of misery. So died our dear and much-valued friend, Ann Cutler.
038 — “I HAVE TREATED CHRIST LIKE A DOG ALL MY LIFE AND HE WILL NOT HELP ME NOW.”
About twenty years ago, when we were holding revival meetings at G____, Mr. B____, a well-to-do farmer living near the town, was in the last stages of consumption. He was a wicked man; all of his life having been spent in laying up treasures on earth. At the time we visited him, he was about sixty years old. The pastor of the Methodist church, whom we were assisting, had not as yet called on him because he was so ungodly. The pastor said to me one day, “I am waiting until Mr. B____ is near his end, hoping he will then allow me to talk to him about his soul.”
Several days before Mr. B____’s death, in company with the pastor of the Methodist church, we visited this man and talked with him about his moral condition. His mind was very dark and full of unbelief. We talked earnestly with him about the saving of his soul, but left him without receiving much encouragement.
In a day or two we called on him again and found him more willing to converse, but he still seemed to be far away from God. We plead with him and urged him to call on God to have mercy on him for Jesus’ sake.
“I cannot: I have never spoken the name of Jesus, only when using it in profanity, and I have used it that way all of these years. I have treated Christ like a dog all of my life and He will not hear me now. I would give all I am worth if I could only feel as you say you feel.” was his reply.
We told him that God was no respecter of persons, that He never turned any away that came to Him for pardon. He continued, “I cannot get any feeling. What can I do? My heart is so hard.”
Our hearts ached for him. He was afraid to die without faith in God, but he seemed to have no ability to repent.
Before we left the town, he went to meet his God, so far as we know, unprepared, as he gave no evidence of salvation. He had treasures on earth; but, alas, that did not avail him anything when he came to face eternity.
Reader, how are you treating the Christ on whom you must depend if you are ever saved? God grant that your experience may not be like his. Editor.
039 — “JESUS WILL TAKE CARE OF ME.”
These were the last words uttered by Ella Gilkey, as she passed away from earth to live with Him who said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
In the winter of 1860-61 I was holding a series of meetings in Watertown, Mass., during which a large number found Jesus precious — many believing they found Him in my room; thus rendering that room ever memorable and dear to me.
Among those who there gave themselves to the Savior was Ella. Coming in one morning, with tears on her face, she said, “Mr. Earle, I came up here to give my heart to Jesus. I feel that I am a great sinner. Will you pray for me?”
I replied, “I will pray for your Ella, and I can pray in faith if you see that you are a sinner; for Jesus died for sinners.”
After pointing out the way of salvation I asked her if she would kneel down by my side and pray for herself, and, as far as she knew, give herself to Jesus, to be His forever. She said, “I will; for I am a great sinner.”
Could one so young, and kind to everybody, be a great sinner? Yes, because she had rejected the Savior until she was twelve years old; and when the Holy Spirit had knocked at the door of her heart, she had said, “No, not yet. Go Thy way for this time.”
We kneeled down, and after I had prayed, she said, “Jesus, take me just as I am. I give myself to Thee forever. I will love and serve Thee all my life.”
The door of her heart was now open and Jesus entered and took possession. The tears were gone from her face, which was now covered with smiles.
And I believe holy angels in that room witnessed the transfer of her heart to Jesus, and then went back to heaven to join in songs of thanksgiving; for “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
Ella then went down stairs, her face beaming with joy as she thought of her new relation to Jesus, and said to her mother, “I have given myself to Jesus, and He has received me. O, I am so happy!”
Little did we think that in a few days she would be walking the “golden streets” with the blood-washed throng.
Like the Redeemer, who, when at her age, said to His mother, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” she seemed to long to be doing good.
“‘What can I do for Christ,’ she said,
‘Who gave His life to ransom me
I’ll take my cross, and by Him led,
His humble, faithful child will be.'”
Among other subjects of prayer there was one which particularly weighed upon her heart; it was for the conversion of an older brother. One day, after earnestly praying that this dear brother might be led to accept the Savior, she said to her mother, “O, I think he will be a Christian!” At another time she said, “I would be willing to die if it would bring him to Jesus.”
Could she speak from her bright home above, I believe she would say to this brother, and to all who are delaying,
“Delay not, delay not: why longer abuse
The love and compassion of Jesus, thy God
A fountain is opened: how canst thou refuse
To wash and be cleansed in His pardoning blood?”
Anxious to obey her Savior in all things, she obtained permission from her parents to present herself to the church for baptism; and, in the absence of a pastor, I baptized her, with several others, a few weeks after her conversion.
The next Tuesday after her baptism she was present at our evening meeting and gave her last public testimony for Jesus. When an opportunity was given for any one to speak, Ella arose, and, turning to the congregation, said, in a clear, earnest tone, “If there are any here who have not given their hearts to Jesus, do it now.”
As I sat in my room at her father’s that night, after meeting, I heard her voice mingling with his, in songs of praise, until near the midnight hour. Less than three days after this, Ella was called away from us, to sing in heaven the song of Moses and the Lamb.
As death drew near, she said to her parents, “I am going home,” and commenced singing her favorite hymn,
“O, happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior, and my God
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.”
“Yes,” she whispered, “it was a happy day.” Then putting her arm around her father’s neck, whose heart seemed almost broken, she said, “Don’t care for me, father; Jesus will take care of me.”
These were her last conscious words; the smile of affection lingered a little longer on her face, the look of love in her eyes, and its pressure in her hand, and then her spirit took its flight, mid angel guards and guides, leaving behind her the clearest evidence of love to Jesus, and a worthy example of fidelity to Him, though she had followed Him but one short month.
On the first Sabbath of February I gave the hand of fellowship to a large number of new members, and Ella would have been with them had she lived. It so happened that near the place where she would have stood there was a vacant spot. I directed the attention of the large assembly to that opening and asked, “Where is Ella today?”
For a moment all was still, and the entire congregation appeared to be bathed in tears, when I said, “Jesus seems to say, ‘I have given Ella the hand of fellowship up here.'”
A few days after her death, her parents, in looking over her portfolio, found she had written, unknown to any one, in the middle of a blank book, as if intended only for God’s eye, the following deed, which shows her depth of purpose and complete dedication to Christ:
“December 21, 1860. — This day I have given my heart to the Savior, and have resolved to do just what He tells me to do, and to take up my cross daily and follow Him — my eyes to weep over sinners, and my mouth to speak forth His praise and to lead sinners to Christ. — Ella J. Gilkey.”
And in the vestry of the church at Watertown these words, printed in large type, and handsomely framed, now hang upon the wall, where all who enter may read them; so that, in the hours of Sabbath school and in the prayer meeting and social gathering, Ella, though in heaven, still speaks, and continues her work for Jesus. — Bringing in Sheaves.
040 — A DYING GIRL’S REQUEST
An evangelist said: “A little girl of eight years was sent on an errand by her parents. While on her way she was attracted by the singing of a gospel meeting in the open air, and drew near. The conductor of the meeting was so struck with the child’s earnestness that he spoke to her and told her about Jesus. She being the child of Roman Catholics, did not know much about Him, but the gentleman told her of His love to her.
On returning home, her father asked her what had detained her. She told him, and he cruelly beat her, forbidding her to go to any such meeting again. About a fortnight afterward she was sent on another errand, but she was so taken up with what she had previously heard about Jesus that she forgot all about her message. She saw the same gentleman, who again told her more about the Savior. On her return home she again told her father, as before, where she had been, and that she had not brought what she had been sent for, but that she had brought Jesus.
Her father was enraged, and kicked the poor little creature until the blood came. She never recovered from this brutal treatment. Just before she breathed her last she called to her mother and said, ‘Mother, I have been praying to Jesus to save you and father.’
Then pointing to her little dress she said, ‘Mother, cut me a bit out of the blood-stained piece of my dress.’
The mother, wondering, did so. ‘Now,’ said the dying child, ‘Christ shed His blood for my sake, and I am going to take this to Jesus to show Him that I shed my blood for His sake.’
Thus she died, holding firmly the piece of her dress stained with her own blood. The testimony of that dear child was the means of leading both father and mother to Christ.”
041 — QUEEN ELIZABETH’S LAST WORDS — “ALL MY POSSESSIONS FOR A MOMENT OF TIME”
Queen Elizabeth ascended the English throne at the age of twenty-five, and remained in power for forty-five years. She was a Protestant, but was far from being a true Christian in her life. She persecuted the Puritans for many years and her cruelty was manifested all through her public life. She died in 1603, seventy years old. Her last words were, “All my possessions for a moment of time.”
We take the following from Schaff’s Encyclopedia: With Elizabeth, Protestantism was restored, and — in spite of occasional resistance from within, the Spanish Armada and papal deposition from without (1570) — became the permanent religion of the large majority in the land. Two periods stand out in the history of the church under Elizabeth. In the early part of the reign the divorce of the National Church from the Roman Catholic see was consummated; in the latter part its position was clearly stated in regard to Puritanism, which demanded recognition, if not supremacy, within its pale.
The queen was no zealous reformer, but directed the affairs of the church with the keen sagacity of a statesmanship which placed national unity and the peace of the realm above every other consideration. In the first year of her reign the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were passed. By the former, all allegiance to foreign prince or prelate was forbidden; by the latter, the use of the liturgy enforced. The royal title of “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Head of the Church” was retained, with the slight alteration of “Head” to “Governor.” But the passage was struck out of the Litany which read, “From the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, good Lord deliver us.”
The queen retained, against the protest of bishops, an altar, crucifix, and lighted candles in her own chapel, disapproved of the marriage of the clergy, interrupted the preacher who spoke disparagingly of the sign of the cross, and imperiously forced her wishes upon unwilling prelates.
042 — DYING TESTIMONY AND VISION OF MISS LILA HOMER
We are indebted to her pastor, Rev. B. C. Matthews, for this sketch:
Miss Lila Homer, a member of the Methodist Church at Dardanelle, Arkansas, died in the Lord at her home, October 3rd, 1895. She had just entered her twenty-fifth year March 19th, 1895.
She was converted at the early age of ten years. Just before her death she had a glimpse of the invisible world. Knowing that she was the Lord’s handmaiden, and that her disease would allow her to be rational to the end, I thought she might be able to see the angels and tell us something of what she saw, so I said, “Lila, when the angels come for you, let us know.”
In a short while she whispered to her sister, “Tell Bro. Matthews to come closer,” and then said, “Bro. Matthews, I saw some angels but they were so far away that I could not recognize anyone.” I asked her if they had wings, to which she replied, “They had no wings, but were all arrayed in white and looked just like people.”
After a while she said, “I saw a great host of angels, but there were more babies than any others. I saw grandpa and ma Homer and Aunt Joe.” In a short while she turned to her sister, Miss Jodie, and said, “O, Joe, tell Emma Lawrence that Daisy Conger is the sweetest angel.”
Miss Joe then asked her if Daisy looked bright and happy, to which she replied, “O, yes, so bright and happy. Tell the Conger girls to be good and meet Daisy.”
On Thursday morning, just before she fell asleep, she said to her mother, “I won’t get to go to the Sulphur Springs, mamma, but I will go to an everlasting spring, where flowers never wither.”
In reply to this her mother said, “Lila, I can’t go with you.”
“No, mamma,” she said, “but you can come, and I will be waiting for you all.” She talked to each member of the family separately and sent a message by them to her absent brother. After thanking her friends for their kindness, she quietly breathed her last.
043 — DREADFUL MARTYRDOM OF ROMANUS
Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of Caesarea, at the time of the commencement of Diocletian’s persecution, in the fourth century. He was at Antioch when the imperial order came for sacrificing to idols, and was much grieved to see many Christians, through fear, submit to the idolatrous command, and deny their faith in order to preserve their lives.
While reproving some of them for their weakness, Romanus was informed against, and soon after arrested. Being brought to the tribunal, he confessed himself a Christian, and said he was willing to suffer anything they could inflict upon him for his confession. When condemned, he was scourged, put to the rack, and his body torn with hooks. While thus cruelly mangled, he turned to the governor and thanked him for having opened for him so many mouths with which to preach Christianity; “for,” he said, “every wound, is a mouth to sing the praises of the Lord.” He was soon after slain by being strangled. — Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
044 — JOHN CASSIDY AND THE PRIEST
Any one who has sailed past the new Mole into Gibraltar Bay will have noticed the long, yellow-washed building standing high upon the south front, and has been told it is the military naval hospital. In one of the wards of this hospital, about a year before the commencement of the Crimean War, there lay private of the Thirty-third Regiment, John Cassidy by name, who had been seized by a fatal attack of dysentery. He felt that death was near; and calling to him the hospital sergeant, he said, “Morris, I shan’t be long, and I want to make my peace before I go. Will you send for the priest?”
“There is no need to send for him,” replied Morris, who was an earnest Christian; “haven’t I told you that Jesus, the blessed Savior, is ready to receive you just now, and make you fit for heaven, if you’ll only ask Him?”
“But I’m so weak, I haven’t got any strength to pray,” said the poor fellow, “it’s far easier to let the priest do it; and he’ll only charge five shillings. You must go to the pay-master, Morris, to get the money, and give it to him as soon as he comes. And don’t be long about it; for I feel that I haven’t many hours before me. I’d like to die in my own religion; and you’ll see how comfortable I’ll be when the priest has performed the offices.”
The sergeant thought it best for John to prove for himself what a broken reed he was leaning on, and accordingly sent at once for the priest. He came, received the money, and directed four candles to be brought, which he lighted, and placed two at the head and two at the foot of the bed. He then took some “sacred oil” and put it on the brow and cheeks and lips of the dying man, and on various parts of his body. Afterwards he sprinkled him freely with “holy water” and then, waving a censor over the bed until the air was heavy with the perfume, he pronounced absolution and solemnly declared that John Cassidy was ready for death.
“But I don’t feel ready, sir,” said John, looking up piteously into his face. “I don’t feel a bit different after all you have done.”
“But you ought to feel different,” replied the priest angrily. “You must trust the church; and I tell you, in her name, that you are now a saved man.”
“Well, sir,” persisted John, “yet men that are saved, and are ready for heaven, feel happy, and I don’t. There was a man that Sergeant Morris talked to in this ward. He died the other day, and he was so happy! He said he saw angels coming to take him away, and he wasn’t afraid to die; and I thought you’d make me feel like that; but I’m quite frightened.”
Strange language for a priest to hear, and most unwelcome. Straightening himself to his fullest height, he stood over the bed, and extending his hand in a threatening manner toward the dying man, he exclaimed, “I give you this warning, John Cassidy, that if you listen to that heretic sergeant you will be damned.”
John quailed for a moment before the fearful words; and then as the weight of unforgiven sin pressed upon his heart, and he felt that the priest had no power — as he once believed — to cleanse it away, he cried out in the bitterness of his soul, “I can not be worse than I am, sir; that’s certain; so please go away, and let me take my chance!” And as the priest seemed still inclined to linger, and to remonstrate, he raised himself partly on his pillow, and with strange energy persisted, “Don’t stay any longer, sir! I haven’t many minutes left, and I can’t afford to lose any of them in arguing; so have pity on a dying man and go at once.”
The priest merely said on leaving the room, “John Cassidy, I warn you! You are forsaking your own mercy.”
John was almost exhausted by the agitation and disappointment of the interview; but as he lay quite still, too weak for words, the sergeant came and sat by his bedside, and read to him such passages as the following:
“There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!”
“By Him all that believe are freely justified from all things.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
“The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
The sergeant added no words of his own, but sat by the dying man, silently praying that the utterance of this Divine Word might give light to lighten the darkness of that departing soul. In a little while, a low murmur caused him to bead his ear close to the lips of his dying comrade; and he caught the words as they came in faint, gasping utterance, “No other name! It was a mistake — to think any priest could get me to heaven — but Jesus Christ can — and I think he will — I’m happy — I am not frightened now — good-bye, Morris — tell all the poor fellows — about — the blood — cleanseth.”
No more words, only a shiver and sigh, and then a look of calm on the tired, worn face; and Sergeant Morris gently closed the eyes of the dead soldier, murmuring as he did so, “Thanks be unto God, Who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” — Christian Family Almanac For 1874.
045 — “I AM IN THE FLAMES — PULL ME OUT, PULL ME OUT!”
Mr. W____, the subject of this narrative, died in J____, New York, about the year 1883, at the age of seventy-four. He was an avowed infidel. He was a good neighbor in some respects, yet he was very wicked and made a scoff of Christianity. About seven years previous to his death he passed through a revival. The Spirit strove with him, but he resisted to the last.
One Sabbath after this, Mr. N -, who relates this sketch, was on his way to church and passed Mr. W____’s house, who was standing by the gate. He said, “Come with me to church, Mr. W____.”
The infidel, holding out his hand, replied, “Show me a hair on the palm of my hand and I will show you a Christian.”
During his last sickness, Mr. N called on him often and sat up with him several nights, and was with him when he died. The infidel was conscious of his near approaching end and of the terrors of his lost condition. He said once to Mr. N____, who, as a local worker, held meetings in school houses around, “Warn the world not to live as I have lived, and escape my woe.”
At another time when visited by a doctor, he was groaning and making demonstrations of great agony. The doctor said, “Why do you groan, your disease is not painful?”
“O, doctor,” said he, “it is not the body but the soul that troubles me.”
On the evening of his death, Mr. N -came at ten o’clock. A friend of his was there also. As he entered the room he felt that it was filled with an awful presence as if he were near the region of the damned. The dying man cried out, “O God, deliver me from that awful pit!” It was not a penitential prayer, but the wail of a lost soul.
About fifteen minutes before his death, which was at twelve, he exclaimed, “I am in the flames — pull me out, pull me out!” He kept repeating this until the breath left his body. As the bodily strength failed his words became more faint. At last Mr. N___ put his ear down close to catch his departing whispers, and the last words he could hear were, “Pull me out, pull me out!”
“It was an awful scene,” said he. “It made an impression on me that I can never forget. I never want to witness such a scene again.”
I was talking with my friend years after, and he said those words, “I am in the flames — pull me out, pull me out!” were still ringing in his ears. — Written for this book by Rev. C. A. Balch, Cloverville, N. Y.
046 — THE TRIUMPHANT TRANSLATION OF BISHOP PHILIP WILLIAM OTTERBEIN
Bishop Otterbein, founder of the United Brethren Church, ended a ministry of sixty-two years in great peace. Rev. Dr. Kurtz, of the Lutheran Church, for many years a devoted personal friend of the distinguished preacher, offered at his bedside the last audible prayer, at the close of which the bishop responded, “Amen, amen! it is finished.”
Like good old Simeon, who was spared to take the babe of Bethlehem in his arms, he could say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
His grief-stricken friends, thinking he was dying, had gathered about him to take the last look ere he smote with his sandals the waters of death’s river, but, rallying again for a moment, as if to finish his testimony, and to give still greater assurance of victory, he said, “Jesus, Jesus, I die, but Thou livest, and soon I shall live with Thee.” Then, turning to his friends, he continued, “The conflict is over and past. I begin to feel an unspeakable fullness of love and peace divine. Lay my head upon my pillow and be still.”
All was quiet. He awaited the approach of heaven’s chariot; nor did he wait in vain. “A smile, a fresh glow, lighted up his countenance, and, behold, it was death. ” — From Life to Life.
047 — “THERE’S MAGGIE AT THE GATE!”
“I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Sam. 12: 23.)
An aged Christian woman — a ripe old saint-recently “fell asleep in Jesus.” She had some few years before parted with her favorite daughter, whose name was Maggie. Just before she breathed her last, Maggie had said to her mother, “Mother, when you come to heaven, I shall be at the gate waiting for you. I shall be the first to bid you welcome” And her spirit soared to the realms of bliss.
And now the dear old woman was passing away She looked forward with joy to welcome her loved ones; for faith in Jesus Christ takes all the sting from death. And she could not help thinking of her dear Maggie, and of her parting words, “I shall be at the gate of heaven waiting for you.”
Her eldest daughter was nursing her in her last moments. The end was fast approaching, but she was quite conscious.
“Mother,” said her daughter, “shall I sing your favorite hymn?”
“Yes,” said the dying saint, “‘Waiting and Watching for Me.'”
And she sang the first stanza of Marianne Farningham’s popular hymn —
“When my final farewell to the world I have said,
And gladly lie down to my rest
When softly the watchers shall say, ‘She is dead,’
And fold my pale hands o’er my breast:
And when with my glorified vision at last,
The walls of that City I see,
Will any one then at the beautiful gate
Be waiting and watching for me?”
Just as the singer was repeating the words,
“Will any one then at the beautiful gate — ”
Her mother sprang up as if she saw her beloved daughter close at hand, and exclaimed: “There’s Maggie at the gate!”
These were her last words. Her spirit departed “to be with Christ, which is far better.”
Reader, have you any loved ones in heaven? Are you on the road that leads to that beautiful and holy place? Are you sure that you are fitted for the holy society of heaven? Have you made vows to those beyond the vale that you would surrender all to Christ and so constantly keep all of His holy commandments that they will meet you at the gate and rejoice to welcome you to the endless bliss of heaven? Or have you forgotten to pay those vows so solemnly made to your loved ones and God? If so, hasten to pay them. Do it now, or you may forever lose heaven and the society of those loved on earth. Will you do it? Will you do it — now? — Rev. A. Smith, Utica, N. Y.
048 — “IT WAS THE CURSED DRINK THAT RUINED ME.”
To one of the Bellevue cells there came one morning a woman bearing the usual permit to visit a patient. She was a slender little woman with a look of delicate refinement that sorrow had only intensified, and she looked at the physician, who was just leaving the patient, with clear eyes which had wept often, but kept their steady, straight-forward gaze.
“I am not certain,” she said. “I have searched for my boy for a long while, and I think he must be here. I want to see him.”
The doctor looked at her pityingly as she went up to the narrow bed where the patient lay, a lad of hardly twenty, with his face buried in the pillow. His fair hair, waving’ crisply against the skin, browned by exposure, had not been cut, for the hospital barber who stood there had found it so far impossible to make him turn his head.
“He’s lain that way ever since they brought him in yesterday,” said the barber, and then moved by something in the agitated face before him, turned his own way. The mother, for it was quite plain who this must be, stooped over the prostrate figure. She knew it as mothers know their own, and laid her hand on his burning brow.
“Charley,” she said softly, as if she had come into his room to rouse him from some boyish sleep, “mother is here.”
A wild cry rang out that startled even the experienced physician:
“For God’s sake take her away! She doesn’t know where I am. Take her away!”
The patient had started up and wrung his hands in piteous entreaty.
“Take her away!” he still cried, but his mother gently folded her arms about him and drew his head to her breast.
“Oh, Charley, I have found you,” she said through her sobs, “and I will never lose you again.”
The lad looked at her a moment. His eyes were like hers, large and clear, but with the experience of a thousand years in their depths; a beautiful, reckless face, with lines graven by passion and crime. Then he burst into weeping like a child.
“It’s too late! It’s too late!” he said in tones almost inaudible.
“I’m doing you the only good turn I’ve done you, mother. I’m dying and you won’t have to break your heart over me any more. It wasn’t your fault. It was the cursed drink that ruined me, blighted my life and brought me here. It’s murder now, but the hangman won’t have me, and save that much disgrace for our name.”
As he spoke he fell back upon his pillow; his face changed and the unmistakable hue of death suddenly spread over his handsome features. The doctor came forward quickly, a look of anxious surprise on his face.
“I didn’t know he was that bad,” the barber muttered under his breath, as he gazed at the lad still holding his mother’s hand. The doctor lifted the patient’s head and then laid it back softly. Life had fled.
“It’s better to have it so.” he said in a low voice to himself, and then stood silently and reverently, ready to offer consolation to the bereaved mother, whose face was still hidden on her boy’s breast. She did not stir. Something in the motionless attitude aroused vague suspicion in the mind of the doctor, and moved him to bend forward and gently take her hand. With an involuntary start he hastily lifted the prostrate form and quickly felt the pulse and heart, only to find them stilled forever.
“She has gone, too,” he softly whispered, and the tears stood in his eyes. “Poor soul! It is the best for both of them.”
This is one story of the prison ward of Bellevue, and there are hundreds that might be told, though never one sadder or holding deeper tragedy than the one recorded here. New York Press.
049 — THE TRANSLATION OF WILLIE DOWNER
This saint of God went to heaven from Greenville, Michigan, in the spring of 1883, in the eighteenth year of his age. We had the privilege of meeting him many times, and at his request often sang and prayed with him.
During our stay in his town, God was pleased to fill him with the Spirit and from that time he lived a devoted saint of God, walking in all the commandments of God blamelessly. Much of his time was spent in earnest prayer for souls. He was often greatly burdened for the desolation of Zion.
For about five years he was a helpless cripple. He was one of the greatest sufferers we ever saw, yet in the midst of his pain he rejoiced in the privilege of suffering for his Savior. He never murmured nor complained. He was one of the most useful Christians in that community, although entirely confined to his home. Everybody realized the power and presence of God when in his company.
Like most of the saints of God, he was poor in this world’s goods, yet rich in faith, an heir to an inheritance that fadeth not away. He lived in a very humble little home on earth, but now dwells in a mansion with the heavenly host. The dear Lord was pleased to give him a glimpse of his heavenly home before his departure from the shores of time. To comfort him in the midst of his indescribable suffering the Lord gave him a vision of himself, and he saw his crippled and helpless form lifeless sometime before he passed over.
He often had glimpses of heaven and frequently spoke of seeing his Savior and the angels of God. Willie lived in the land of Beulah in sight of the New Jerusalem. He was the only child of a widowed mother and of course was her constant care. May the dear Lord help all who read this to live a holy life and like our brother Willie walk in all the light that shines on their pathway and thus please God. May we all like him take to heart the worth of immortal souls that throng the broad way to eternal death, is our earnest prayer. Amen. — Editor.
050 — THE DYING EXPERIENCE OF A WEALTHY MAN
He had spent his life amassing a fortune of $75,000, but had never given any special attention to his soul’s salvation.
When he came to die his wealth was no satisfaction to him, but, on the contrary, it cost him great anguish to fully realize that he had spent his life in amassing wealth to the neglect of his soul.
In this dying condition he called in his brother-in-law to pray for him, who said he called so loudly for mercy that he could scarcely hear himself pray or fix his thoughts on anything. After the prayer was over, he took his hand in both of his, and said as he shook it,
“Good-bye, John. Pray for me. I shall never see your face again.” And he never did.
After he had gone away, a neighbor came in and saw the condition he was in, and said something must be done. “I would suggest that we do something to quiet his mind and fears,” and so he recommended a game of cards.
He replied, “Cards for a dying man! How contemptible; going into eternity. These are not what I want. I want mercy!”
A little later his son came into his room and said, “Father, what arrangements, if any, do you wish to make in regard to the property?”
He said, “I have given all my life to gain property; I cannot take a dollar with me. The law and the family will have to take care of that! I want to take care of my soul. Property avails nothing; I want mercy!”
And so he died, calling upon God for mercy; but he left no evidence that he found it. An illustration of giving a life for the gain of property to the loss of the soul. — The Word.
051 — LAST WORDS OF JOHN HUS, THE MARTYR
The great Bohemian reformer and martyr, John Hus, was born in 1369. He was burned at the stake as a heretic in Constance, Germany, July 6, 1415. When arriving at the place of execution, he prayed, “Into Thy hands, O Lord, do I commit my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O most good and faithful God. Lord Jesus Christ, assist and help me, that, with a firm and present mind, by Thy most powerful graces I may undergo this most cruel and ignominious death, to which I am condemned for preaching the truth of Thy most holy gospel.”
When the wood was piled up to his very neck, the Duke of Bavaria asked him to recant.
“No,” said Hus, “I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency, and what I taught with my lips, I now seal with my blood.”
The fagots were then lighted and the martyr sung a hymn so loud as to be heard through the crackling of the flames.
052 — LAST TESTIMONY OF AUGUSTUS M. TOPLADY
Augustus M. Toplady died in London, August 11th, 1778, at the age of thirty-eight. He was the author of that good old hymn,
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure —
Save from wrath and make me pure.”
He had everything before him to make life desirable, yet when death drew near, his soul exulted in gladness. He said, “It is my dying avowal that these great and glorious truths which the Lord in rich mercy has given me to believe and enabled me to preach, are now brought into practical and heartfelt experience. They are the very joy and support of my soul. The consolations flowing from them carry me far above the things of time and sense. So far as I know my own heart, I have no desire but to be entirely passive.”
Frequently he called himself a dying man, and yet the happiest man in the world; adding, “Sickness is no affliction, pain no curse, death itself no dissolution; and yet how this soul of mine longs to be gone; like a bird imprisoned in its cage, it longs to take its flight. Had I wings like a doves then would I fly away to the bosom of God, and be at rest forever.”
Within an hour before he expired he seemed to awake from a gentle slumber, when he exclaimed, “O, what delights! Who can fathom the joys of the third heaven? What a bright sunshine has been spread around me! I have not words to express it. I know it cannot be long now till my Savior will come for me, for surely no mortal man can live,” bursting as he said it into a flood of tears, “after glories that God has manifested to my soul. All is light, light, light — the brightness of His own glory. O come, Lord Jesus, come; come quickly.”
Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep, to be awakened with others of like precious faith on that great day “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, to be glorified with His saints and admired in all them that believe.” — The Contrast Between Infidelity and Christianity.
053 — “BE GOOD AND MEET ME IN HEAVEN.”
The subject of this sketch, Mary J. Whitaker Wiggins, was born in VanBuren Co., Iowa, February 5th, 1853, and died at Weaubleau, Mo., September 4th, 1897.
She united with the Christian Church when a little girl of thirteen summers. She was ever noted for her continuous piety and faithful attendance at all of her church services and duties, though she was of a quiet, retiring disposition. If Mary was ever absent from her church-meeting, the inquiry went around, “Is she sick?” or else, “Who in the neighborhood is sick?”
When she lay dying, her family, husband and eight children, besides her brothers and other sympathizing friends, stood by her bedside. She had ever taught them by her exemplary, godly life how Christians should live; and now she showed them how triumphantly a Christian may die. All that evening as her life was fading away her faith in Christ showed forth so vividly that it seemed to those standing around to be more like an entering into life than a departing from it. She conversed freely and rationally of her final change. She was so ready and so confident that she would soon be with a sainted mother and child and others, that the weeping ones were consoled in their grief by her prospective joy. She assured us all that no cloud of doubt existed.
She said to her pastor and brother, “I will be absent from our next church meeting on earth, but I will be in heaven.”
Her parting words to her husband and weeping children were, “Be good and meet me in heaven.”
After she could speak no more, while those around her, at her request, were singing the words, “I am going home, to die no more,” she raised her feeble hands and clapped them two or three times.
Thus she died! Her triumphant death was a fitting close to the devoted Christian life which this loving sister and wife and godly mother had lived. Let me too die the death of the righteous. — J. Whitaker, D. D.
The attending physician, G. B. Viles, deposes that he was present at her death and that she was not delirious but remarkably rational up to her death.
054 — THE AWFUL DEATH OF A PROFLIGATE
The following account of an affecting, mournful exit, and the reflections that accompany it, are solemn and impressive. We shall present them to the reader in the words of Doctor Young, who was present at the melancholy scene:
Is not the death-bed of a profligate a prime school of wisdom? Are we not obliged, when we are invited to it? for what else should reclaim us? The pulpit? We are prejudiced against it. Besides, an agonizing profligate, though silent, out-preaches the most celebrated the pulpit ever knew. But, if he speaks, his words might instruct the best instructors of mankind. Mixed in the warm converse of life, we think with men; on a death-bed, with God.
There are two lessons of this school written, as it were, in capitals, which they who run may read. First, he that, in this his minority, this field of discipline and conflict, instead of grasping the weapons of his warfare, is forever gathering flowers, and catching at butterflies, with his unarmed hand, ever making idle pleasure his pursuit; must pay for it his last reversion: and on opening his final account (of which a death-bed breaks the seal), shall find himself a beggar, a beggar past beggary; and shall passionately wish that his very being were added to the rest of his loss. Secondly, he shall find that truth, divine truth, however, through life, injured, wounded, suppressed, is victorious, immortal: that, though with mountains overwhelmed, it will, one day, burst out like the fires of Etna; visible, bright and tormenting, as the most raging flame. This now (oh, my friend!) I shall too plainly prove.
The sad evening before the death of the noble youth, whose last hours suggested these thoughts, I was with him. No one was present but his physician and an intimate friend whom he loved and whom he had ruined. At my coming in he said, “You and the physician are come too late. I have neither life nor hope. You both aim at miracles. You would raise the dead!”
“Heaven,” I said, “was merciful — ”
“Or,” exclaimed he, “I could not have been thus guilty. What has it not done to bless and to save me! I have been too strong for omnipotence! I have plucked down ruin!”
I said, “The blessed Redeemer — ”
“Hold! hold! you wound me! That is the rock on which I split — I denied His name!”
Refusing to hear anything from me or take anything from the physician he lay silent, as far as sudden darts of pain would permit, till the clock struck, then with vehemence he exclaimed, “Oh! time! time! it is fit thou shouldst thus strike thy murderer to the heart! How art thou fled forever! A month! Oh, for a single week — I do not ask for years; though an age were too little for the much I have to do.”
On my saying we could not do too much, that heaven was a blessed place — “So much the worse. ‘Tis lost! ‘Tis lost! Heaven is to me the severest place of hell!”
Soon after, I proposed prayer — “Pray, you that can. I never prayed. I cannot pray — nor need I. Is not heaven on my side already? It closes with my conscience. Its severest strokes but second my own.”
Observing that his friend was much touched at this, even to tears (who could forbear? I could not), with a most affectionate look he said, “Keep those tears for thyself. I have undone thee — dost thou weep for me? That is cruel. What can pain me more?”
Here his friend, too much affected, would have left him. “No, stay — that thou mayst hope; therefore hear me. How madly I have talked! How madly hast thou listened and believed. But look on my present state, as a full answer to thee, and to myself. This body is all weakness and pain; but my soul, as if stung up by torment to greater strength and spirit, is full powerful to reason; full mighty to suffer. And that which thus triumphs within the jaws of immortality, is, doubtless, immortal. And as for a Deity, nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel.”
I was about to congratulate this passive, involuntary confessor, on his asserting the two prime articles of his creed, extorted by the rack of nature, when he thus very passionately exclaimed, “No, no! let me speak on. I have not long to speak. My much injured friend, my soul, as my body, lies in ruins; in scattered fragments of broken thought. Remorse for the past throws my thought on the future. Worse dread of the future strikes it back on the past. I turn and turn and find no ray. Didst thou feel half the mountain that is on me thou wouldst struggle with the martyr for his stake, and bless heaven for the flames; that is not an everlasting flame; that is not an unquenchable fire.”
How were we struck! Yet, soon after, still more. With what an eye of distraction, what a face of despair, he cried out, “My principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagance has beggared my boy; my unkindness has murdered my wife! And is there another hell? Oh! thou blasphemed, yet indulgent, Lord God, hell itself is a refuge, if it hide me from Thy frown!”
Soon after his understanding failed. His terrified imagination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotten. And ere the sun (which, I hope, has seen few like him) arose, the gay, young, noble, ingenious, accomplished and most wretched Altamont expired.
If this is a man of pleasure, what is a man of pain? How quick, how total, is the transit of such persons! In what a dismal gloom they set forever! How short, alas, the day of their rejoicing. For a moment they glitter, they dazzle. In a moment, where are they? Oblivion covers their memories. Ah, would it did! Infamy snatches them from oblivion. In the long-living annals of infamy their triumphs are recorded. Thy sufferings, poor Altamont, still bleed in the bosom of the heart-stricken friend — for Altamont had a friend. He might have had many. His transient morning might have been the dawn of an immortal day. His name might have been gloriously enrolled in the records of eternity. His memory might have left a sweet fragrance behind it, grateful to the surviving friend, salutary to the succeeding generation. With what capacity was he endowed, with what advantages for being greatly good. But with the talents of an angel a man may be a fool. If he judges amiss in the supreme point, judging right in all else but aggravates his folly; as it shows him wrong, though blessed with the best capacity of being right. — Power of Religion.
055 — “YOU’LL BE A DUKE, BUT I SHALL BE A KING.”
A consumptive disease seized the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Hamilton, which ended in his death. A little before his departure from the world, he lay ill at the family seat near Glasgow. Two ministers came to see him, one of them at his request prayed with him. After the minister had prayed, the dying youth put his hand back and took his Bible from under his pillow and opened it at the passage, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” “This, sirs,” said he, “is all my comfort.”
As he was lying one day on the sofa, his tutor was conversing with him on some astronomical subject, and about the nature of the fixed stars. “Ah,” said he, “in a little while I shall know more of this than all of you together.”
When his death approached, he called his brother to his bedside, and addressing him with the greatest affection and seriousness, he closed with these remarkable words, “And now, Douglas, in a little time you’ll be a duke, but I shall be a king.” — Cheever.
056 — “I DIE IN PEACE; I SHALL SOON BE WITH THE ANGELS.”
Miss Maggie Shaw, of Ida, Ill., sends us a clipping from the Earnest Christian giving a brief sketch of the life and death of Rev. J. M. Morris, from which we take the following:
Father Morris was born in Campbell Co., Virginia, Feb. 15, 1807, died at Mores Creek, Cal., Feb. 4, 1891. He was eighty-four years old, lacking eleven days.
When twelve years old his father died. He was left the main support of his mother. He got only thirty days schooling all told. By the aid of shell bark hickory as a substitute when out of candles, he devoted his evenings to study. He went through English grammar, arithmetic and part way through an advanced algebra without a teacher. When a man he was rarely surpassed in sound biblical learning and doctrine.
In early life he was deprived of attending church and Sunday school, but he was impressed with the necessity of a change of heart. We give in his own words his experience:
“When a lone boy, having hardly ever heard any one pray or preach, while all alone in the cotton field with my hoe in hand, I became powerfully convicted that I was a sinner. I tried to pray as best I could, when the Lord came down in mighty power and blessed my soul. I did not know what to do or say, but God put it into my mind to praise His name, and there, with hoe in hand, both arms outstretched, I shouted ‘Glory to God!’ All looked beautiful; the sun and sky never looked so bright as when I was alone in that cotton patch with no one near but God.”
As he would get shouting happy in relating this experience in meetings the holy fire would spread, and all would go home saying, “We had a good meeting; Morris was in the cotton patch today.”
He crossed the plains in 1857 with ox teams to Trinity County, California. Going into a hotel in the mines, he demolished the bar where the grog was sold and preached in the bar room, as it was called, for two years, where a class of twenty-five or thirty was formed.
Leaving the Trinity mines, he, with the family, removed to Napa County, California, where he ever after made, to a great extent, his home, being absent from time to time a few years east, on account of ill health of some of the family. He preached and labored as colporteur in California, more or less, for thirty years.
He crossed the plains three times with ox teams and four times by rail. He preached in Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, at intervals after coming to California. In the winter of 1867, on the Delaware reserve in Kansas, he preached through a month’s revival for the Missionary Baptists when they were not able to obtain a minister of their own, and there were thirty or forty gloriously converted to God. The greater part of those converted under his ministry had gone on to glory to welcome him to the immortal shores, and how oft have we heard him say, “My company has gone on before.”
Disposing of all his little earthly effects in his last sickness; and giving the most minute orders about his burial, he said, “I die in peace with all men, I shall soon be with the angels. All I want is to be a little twinkling star.”
On calling Mother Morris, he said, “The other day you came to my bed and said, ‘I want you to get well and pray as you used to once.’ I have not been able to pray since, and I shall never be any better, but I want you to write to all the grandchildren and tell them I’d rather leave this request of their grandmother as a legacy to them than all the gold of Ophir.”
He made us promise him that we would bury him on the farm he had lived on for twelve years, in a plain coffin, no flowers or parade.
For thirty days we had watched day and night, taking four persons each night. All agreed that they did not know that anyone was capable of suffering so much as he did, but his patience and resignation were so great, he would say, “I am in the hands of the great God of the universe, He knows best.” Then he would say, “Oh, help me to be patient. The will of the Lord be done.”
After suffering thus for thirty days from asthma, lung trouble and something like la grippe he drew his last breath like he was going to sleep, in his right mind, without a struggle or a groan.
057 — DEATH-BED SCENE OF DAVID HUME, THE DEIST
David Hume, the deistical philosopher and historian, was born at Edinburgh in 1711. In 1762 he published his work, Natural Religion. Much of his time was spent in France, where he found many kindred spirits, as vile and depraved as himself. He died in Edinburgh in 1776, aged sixty-five years. Rev. E. P. Goodwin, in his work on Christianity and Infidelity, shows Hume to be dishonest, indecent and a teacher of immorality. Rev. Robert Hall, in his Modern Infidelity, says:
“Infidelity is the joint offspring of an irreligious temper and unholy speculation, employed, not in examining the evidences of Christianity, but in detecting the vices and imperfections of confessing Christians. It has passed through various stages, each distinguished by higher gradations of impiety; for when men arrogantly abandon their guide, and willfully shut their eyes on the light of heaven, it is wisely ordained that their errors shall multiply at every step, until their extravagance confutes itself, and the mischief of their principles works its own antidote.
“Hume, the most subtle, if not the most philosophical, of the deists; who, by perplexing the relations of cause and effect, boldly aimed to introduce a universal skepticism and to pour a more than Egyptian darkness into the whole region of morals.”
Again in McIlvaine’s Evidences:
“The nature and majesty of God are denied by Hume’s argument against the miracles. It is Atheism. There is no stopping place for consistency between the first principle of the essay of Hume, and the last step in the denial of God with the abyss of darkness forever. Hume, accordingly, had no belief in the being of God. If he did not positively deny it, he could not assert that he believed it. He was a poor, blind, groping compound of contradictions. He was literally ‘without God and without hope,’ ‘doting about questions and strifes of words,’ and rejecting life and immortality out of deference to a paltry quibble, of which common-sense is ashamed.
“There is reason to believe that however unconcerned Hume may have seemed in the presence of his infidel friends, there were times when, being diverted neither by companions, nor cards, nor his works, nor books of amusements, but left to himself, and the contemplation of eternity, he was anything but composed and satisfied.
“The following account was published many years ago in Edinburgh, where he died. It is not known to have been ever contradicted. About the end of 1776, a few months after the historian’s death, a respectable-looking woman, dressed in black, came into the Haddington stage-coach while passing through Edinburgh. The conversation among the passengers, which had been interrupted for a few minutes, was speedily resumed, which the lady soon found to be regarding the state of mind persons were in at the prospect of death. An appeal was made, in defense of infidelity, to the death of Hume as not only happy and tranquil, but mingled even with gaiety and humor. To this the lady said, ‘Sir, you know nothing about it; I could tell you another tale.’
“‘Madam,’ replied the gentleman, ‘I presume I have as good information as you can have on this subject, and I believe what I have asserted regarding Mr. Hume has never been called in question.’
“The lady continued, ‘Sir, I was Mr. Hume’s housekeeper for many years, I was with him in his last moments; and the mourning I now wear is a present from his relatives for my attention to him on his death bed; and happy would I have been if I could have borne my testimony to the mistaken opinion that has gone abroad of his peaceful and composed end. I have, sir, never till this hour opened my mouth on this subject, but I think it a pity the world should be kept in the dark on so interesting a topic.
“‘It is true, sir, that when Mr. Hume’s friends were with him he was cheerful and seemed quite unconcerned about his approaching fate; nay, frequently spoke of it to them in a jocular and playful way; but when he was alone, the scene was very different; he was anything but composed, his mental agitation was so great at times as to occasion his whole bed to shake. And he would not allow the candles to be put out during the night, nor would he be left alone for a minute, as I had always to ring the bell for one of the servants to be in the room before he would allow me to leave it. He struggled hard to appear composed, even before me.
“‘But to one who attended his bedside for so many days and nights and witnessed his disturbed sleeps and still more disturbed wakings — who frequently heard his involuntary breathings of remorse and frightful startings, it was no difficult matter to determine that all was not right within. This continued and increased until he became insensible.
“‘I hope to God I shall never witness a similar scene.'”
058 — TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF JOHN CALVIN
Calvin’s unremitting labors favored the inroads of a variety of distressing diseases, which he suffered from for many years, but bravely battled against or disregarded, hating nothing so much as idleness. On February 6, 1564, he preached, with difficulty, his last sermon. After that he left his house but a few times, when he was carried on a litter to the council-hall and the church. Once a deputation from the council visited him on his sick-bed and received his exhortation to use their authority to the glory of God. And several times the clergy of the city and neighborhood gathered around him. In the midst of intense sufferings his spirit was calm and peaceful, and he occupied himself with the Bible and in prayer.
When Farel, in his eightieth year, heard of his sickness, he wrote from Neufchatel that he would visit him, to which Calvin replied, in a letter dated May 2, “Farewell, my best and most right-hearted brother, and since God is pleased that you should survive me in this world, live mindful of our friendship, of which, as it was useful to the church of God, the fruit still awaits us in heaven. I would not have you fatigue yourself on my account. I draw my breath with difficulty, and am daily waiting till I altogether cease to breathe. It is enough that to Christ I live and die; to His people He is gain in life and death. Farewell again, not forgetting the brethren.”
Such words show that love as well as zeal had a place in Calvin’s heart.
On the 27th of May, as the sun was setting, he fell asleep in Jesus. He was buried on the banks of the Rhone, outside of the city where he had so long labored in behalf of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. He asked that no monument might be placed upon his grave; and the spot where, some thirty years ago, the black stone was erected, is only conjectured to be his burial-place.
Prof. Tulloch well says of Calvin, “He was a great, intense and energetic character, who more than any other even of that great age has left his impress on the history of Protestantism.”
His clear intellect and his logical acumen, together with his concise and crisp diction, make his works, even in the present day, a power in the church of God. He was needed in the church just as truly as Luther, Knox or Wesley, and we thank God for the gift of such a man. — Heroes and Heroines.
059 — “I WANT STRENGTH TO PRAISE HIM ABUNDANTLY! HALLELUJAH! JOHN HUNT
We turn now to the remarkable story of the conversion of Fiji. This name is given to a group of islands, some two hundred and twenty-five in number, scattered over an area of two hundred and fifty by three hundred and seventy miles, of which about one hundred and forty are inhabited. The population in 1893 was 125,442. The largest of these islands, Vitu Levu, is about the same size as Jamaica. The story of this fair and fertile group, long the habitation of cruelty, is one of intense interest. That a Lincolnshire plowboy, who grew up to manhood with no educational advantages, should, before his thirty-sixth year, be the chief instrument in the conversion to Christianity and civilization of one of the most barbarous races of cannibals on the face of the earth is one of the most remarkable events in the annals of Christian missions. . . .
Such devotion, however, could not fail of its glorious reward. A great religious awakening took place. Among the converts was the Queen of Vitu. “Her heart,” says Mr. Hunt, “seemed literally to be broken, and, though a very strong woman, she fainted twice under the weight of a wounded spirit. She revived only to renew her strong cries and tears, so that it was all that we could do to proceed with the service. The effect soon became more general. Several of the women and some of the men literally roared for the disquietude of their hearts. As many as could chanted the Te Deum. It was very affecting to see upward of a hundred Fijians, many of whom were a few years ago some of the worst cannibals in the group, and even in the world, chanting, ‘We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord,’ while their voices were almost drowned by the cries of broken-hearted penitents.”
Mr. Hunt’s continuous toil at length told seriously upon his health. The man of iron strength, who had come up to London from the fields of Lincolnshire only twelve years before, was evidently dying. Of him, too, might it be truly said, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”
The converts from heathenism, with sad faces, flocked to the chapel and prayed earnestly for the missionary. “O Lord,” Elijah Verant cried aloud, “we know we are very bad, but spare Thy servant. If one must die, take me! take ten of us! but spare Thy servant to preach Christ to the people!”
As he neared his end the missionary confidently committed his wife and babes to Gods but was sorely distressed for Fiji. Sobbing as though in acute distress, he cried out, “Lord, bless Fiji! save Fiji! Thou knowest my soul has loved Fiji; my heart has travailed for Fiji!”
Then, grasping his friend Calvert by the hand, he exclaimed again, “O, let me pray once more for Fiji! Lord, for Christ’s sake, bless Fiji! save Fiji!”
Turning to his mourning wife, he said, “If this be dying, praise the Lord!”
Presently, as his eyes looked up with a bright joy that defied death, he exclaimed, “I want strength to praise Him abundantly!” and with the note of triumph, “Hallelujah!” on his lips, he joined the worship of the skies. — The Picket Line of Missions.
060 — THE GREAT DANGER IN NOT SEEKING THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND
At one time during a prayer-meeting in about the year 1890, my attention was directed towards an unsaved lady who was present, who appeared to be trifling. The pastor in charge of the meeting made the remark that as a watchman upon the walls of Zion, he felt that there was danger for someone there; he could not understand why he was impressed with this thought, and repeated that he felt drawn out to say that there was danger and someone there ought to get saved, then and there.
This irreligious lady appeared unconcerned and oblivious to his remarks, and laughed when the minister shook hands with her at the close of the meeting. Just as she was preparing to leave the church she was taken very ill, so ill that she could not go home, neither could she be taken home by friends. Everything that could be done for her relief was done, but in less than one short hour she passed into eternity. Before she died, she tore her hair, cast aside the trashy gew-gaws that adorned her person and of which heretofore she had been very fond, and throwing up her hands she cried aloud for mercy, exclaiming “Oh, Lord, have mercy on me! Oh, Lord, help me!”
In this distress of body and soul she passed into the great eternity without leaving any hope to those that stood round her dying bed. This sad experience shows the danger of putting off the day and hour of salvation. “For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. ” — Written for this book by Julia E. Strait, Portlandville, N. Y.