Testimonies 61 to 120
061 — LAST WORDS OF JOHN HOOPER, BISHOP AND MARTYR
This great preacher and reformer was born in Somersetshire, in 1495, and died at the stake Feb. 9, 1555, in Gloucester. He was a great scholar and writer, and a diligent study of the scriptures and the works of Zwingli and Bullinger on the Pauline epistles convinced him of the errors of the papal church and made him an ardent advocate of the reformation.
Foxe says of him, “In his sermons he corrected sin and sharply inveighed against the iniquity of the world and the corrupt abuses of the church. The people in great flocks and companies came daily to hear him, insomuch that the church would oftentimes be so full that none could enter further than the doors.”..
Hooper and Rogers were the first to be cited under Mary. On Aug. 29, 1553, the former was thrown into prison, where he received harsh treatment, and contracted sciatica. In January, 1555, he was condemned on three charges — for maintaining the lawfulness of clerical marriage, for defending divorce and for denying transubstantiation. He called the mass “the iniquity of the devil.” He was sentenced to die at the stake in Gloucester, whither he was conveyed. He met his death firmly and cheerfully. To a friend bewailing his lot, the martyr replied in the oft-quoted words, “Death is bitter and life is sweet, but alas! consider that death to come is more bitter, and life to come is more sweet.”
In another conversation he said, “I am well, thank God; and death to me for Christ’s sake is welcome.”
His martyrdom was witnessed by a large throng of people. The martyr was forbidden to address the crowd. A real or pretended pardon being promised if he would recant, he spurned it away, saying, “If you love my soul, away with it.”
His agony was greatly prolonged and increased by the slow progress of the fire on account of the green fagots, which had to be rekindled three times before they did their work. — Religious Encyclopedia.
062 — LAST WORDS OF THE GREAT COMMENTATOR, MATTHEW HENRY
Matthew Henry, a distinguished non-conformist divine and biblical commentator, born Oct. 28, 1662, at Broad Oak, Flintshire, England; died June 22, 1714, at Nantwich, England. He received his education under his father’s (Rev. Philip Henry) roof, and in an academy at Islington.
On the return journey from a visit to Chester he was seized with apoplexy and died. His old intimate friend, Mr. Illidge, was present, who had been desired by Sir Thomas Delves and his lady to invite him to their house, at Doddington, whither their steward was sent to conduct him. But he was not able to proceed any further, and went to bed at Mr. Mottershed’s house, where he felt himself so ill that he said to his friends, “Pray for me, for now I cannot pray for myself.”
While they were putting him to bed, he spoke of the excellence of spiritual comforts in a time of affliction, and blessed God that he enjoyed them. To his friend, Mr. Illidge, he addressed himself in these memorable words: “You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men — this is mine: That a life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that one can live in the present world.”
He had a restless night, and about five o’clock on Tuesday morning he was seized with a fit, which his medical attendants agreed to be an apoplexy. He lay speechless, with his eyes fixed, till about eight o’clock, June 22, 1714, and then expired. — Memoirs of the Rev. Matthew Henry.
063 — “I CAN’T DIE! I WON’T DIE!”
Mrs. Phoebe Palmer, the noted and devoted holiness evangelist, is the authority for the following:
E____ had a friend who did not believe that the injunctions, “Come out from among them and be ye separate,” “Be not conformed to the world,” and kindred passages, have anything to do with the external appearance of the Christian. She was united in church fellowship with a denomination which does not recognize these things as important, and she had been heard to speak contemptuously of those contracted views that would induce one, in coming out in a religious profession, to make such a change in external appearance as to excite observation.
We should be far from favoring an intimation that E____’s friend was hypocritical; she was only what would be termed a liberal-minded professor, and was no more insincere than thousands who stand on what would be termed an ordinary eminence in religious profession. The wasting consumption gradually preyed upon the vitals of this friend, and E____, who lives in a distant city, went to see her. E____, though not at the time as fully devoted as she might have been, was concerned to find her friend as much engaged with the vanities of the world and as much interested about conforming to its customs as ever, and she ventured to say, “I did not suppose you would think so much about these things now.”
Her friend felt somewhat indignant at the remark, and observed, “I do not know that I am more conformed to the world than yourself, and the denomination to which you belong regards these things as wrong, but our people do not think that religion has anything to do with these little matters.”
The hand of withering disease continued relentlessly laid on E____’s friend, and as she drew nearer eternity her blissful hopes of immortality and eternal life seemed to gather yet greater brightness. Her friends felt that her piety was more elevated than that of ordinary attainment. Again and yet again her friends gathered around her dying couch to hear her last glowing expressions and to witness her peaceful departure. Such was her composure that she desired her shroud might be in readiness so that she might, before the mirror, behold her body arrayed for its peaceful resting place.
Her friend E____ was forced to leave the city a day or two before her dissolution, and called to take her final farewell. “We shall not meet again on earth,” said the dying one, “but doubtless we shall meet in heaven. On my own part I have no more doubt than if I were already there, and I cannot but hope that you will be faithful unto death. We shall then meet.” They then bade each other a last adieu.
The moment at last came when death was permitted to do his fearful work. The devoted friends had again gathered around the bed of the dying fair one to witness her peaceful exit. Respiration grew shorter and shorter and at last ceased, and they deemed the spirit already in the embrace of blissful messengers who were winging it to paradise.
A fearful shriek! and in a moment they beheld her that they had looked upon as the departed sitting upright before them with every feature distorted.
Horror and disappointment had transformed that placid countenance so that it exhibited an expression indescribably fiendish. “I can’t die!” vociferated the terrified, disappointed one.
“I won’t die!” At that moment the door opened and her minister entered. “Out of the door, thou deceiver of men!” she again vociferated, fell back and was no more.
“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat. 7:21.)
064 — “VICTORY! ETERNAL VICTORY!” WERE THE LAST WORDS OF MOTHER COBB
The sainted Eunice Cobb, better known as “Mother Cobb,” was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, Feb. 13, 1793.
Mother Cobb was converted in the twenty-fourth year of her earthly life. After walking with God on earth for sixty years, He took her to Himself, to reign with Him forever in the courts above, on the 3rd of January, 1877, in the eighty-fourth year of her age.
We select the following from an account of her life and death published in the “Marengo Republican”:
“Died, at the residence of Mrs. M. T. Johnson, Jan. 3, 1877, Mrs. Eunice Cobb.
“During a pilgrimage of forty years with this people she ever exhibited an earnest zeal in the service of her Lord and Master. To her, religion was more than a name — a profession; it was a reality, a power revealed in the heart, that led, controlled and adorned her whole life and being. She stopped at the Fountain, not only to drink, but to wash and be made whiter than snow. She avoided everything that had the appearance of conformity to the world, and deemed it an honor to be called ‘singular’ for Christ’s sake.
“Filled with a holy enthusiasm for the salvation of souls, she devoted a large portion of her time to this work, visiting from house to house, and talking and praying with all with whom she came in contact — instant in season and out of season. No work was so pressing but what there was time for prayer, and no public worship so imposing but that at its close she would earnestly, and with the most tender and thrilling appeals, exhort the unconverted to accept Christ, the believer to a higher, holier life.
“She was truly a godly woman, abundant in labors and in fruits.
“Mother Cobb, as she was known, was loved and respected by everybody, for she loved everybody, regardless of name or sect. Though fallen asleep, she yet lives in the hearts of those who have been saved by her instrumentality or blessed by her counsel. We have no words that can do full justice to the eminently devoted Christian life and character of this mother in Israel. It has been fittingly said of her, that her life is a grand commentary on the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and this, to those who knew her, will be the most appropriate testimony of her Christian worth — the best epitaph that can be inscribed to her memory.
“Many friends called to see her, and to all she testified to her perfect faith in Christ, and of His grace, not only to sustain but to cheer in a dying hour. Heaven itself seemed open to her, and a holy ecstasy filled her soul. Her last words were ‘Victory! Victory! Eternal victory? — Sixty Years Walk With God.
065 — “THERE IS LIGHT ALL AROUND ME.”
The noted evangelist, Mrs. Grace Weiser Davis, writes of her mother’s translation, to The Christian Standard, for July 10, 1898, as follows:
For five months past I have canceled all engagements and been a witness of the triumphs of the power of God to save amid suffering and to cast out all fear that hath torment. My mother left us July 20, aged fifty-nine years and seven months. She was born in York, Pa. She was converted at the same time as my father, just previous to my birth, in a revival that continued almost one year. Our home was always hospitably thrown open to ministers of the gospel. Mother would give them the best she could get and then apologize because it was no better. Hundreds can testify to the ministrations of this combination of Mary and Martha.
After father’s death, mother retained her homestead in York, Pa., but spent her time largely between my sister and myself, at least eight months of the year being in my home.
We brought mother to Bradley Beach, hoping for a prolongation of the precious life. She was cheerful and planning for a continued life here. We shrank from telling her the truth, but God Himself gloriously revealed it to her. The doctor and ministers bore testimony to my own that it was the most glorious death bed we ever witnessed.
One day my mother prayed, “Dear Lord, prepare me for the country to which I am going.” Before the close of the day she was shouting the praises of God. From that time on she talked of her coming translation and her faith so gloriously triumphant.
On Sabbath, June 27, she had a day of wonderful exaltation. She said, “I have always hoped and trusted in God, but now I have a fuller realization than ever before.”
As we all wept, she said, “I don’t realize that this is death. It is His will, and is all right.”
To the doctor she said, “Just think, doctor, to be forever with the Lord.”
No one could come into my mother’s room thereafter without being spoken to by her upon this glory that was filling her soul. To me she said, “Grace, God has given you gifts that few others possess; let us pray that God will make you a weight of glory in the world. God has blest you, and will still more.”
One afternoon she said, “I am homesick for heaven.” To the doctor, “Sometimes my way has seemed dark’, but it was like the Ferris wheel — it always came round to a point of light.”
Again she said, “I believe I will get awake sometime and find myself in a strange country, to which I shall be translated!”
“Mother, it will not be so strange. Your father and mother and husband and little boy are there, and we are on the way,” I answered.
To one lately married she said, “You are just beginning life; it pays to begin right. Everything you do for God is on compound interest — compound interest. It will be doubly repaid you. I commenced to serve Him in early life, and consecrated my children to Him in infancy, and they are all Christians, and I am so happy.”
As I kissed her one day she said, “We will rejoice together in Jesus in heaven.” Her favorite words were, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,” etc.; her favorite hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” The night previous to her death she said, “There is light all around me.”
Until the last she gave evidence of hearing, seeing and understanding. I knelt within fifteen minutes of her translation and said, “Mother, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you need fear no evil, for God is with you. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you, and you are going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There came a responsive smile. In a few minutes she drew a gentle breath and was translated.
066 — “YOU CANNOT RUN AWAY FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD.”
Several years ago, a gentleman, apparently in great haste, entered a certain city in one of the southern states on horseback, rode up to the hotel, alighted, and introduced himself as follows:
“I have been trying to run away from the Spirit of God, but it has followed me all of these many miles that I have traveled, and it is with me now. I had Christian training, and as I heard the gospel proclaimed from time to time I became deeply convicted of sin; but I was very rebellious and determined not to yield. The Spirit said, ‘You must be born again,’ but I said, ‘I will not be born again.’
“‘I purchased this horse, a good, strong beast at the time, and I have worn it down poor, as you see; but I have not succeeded in outrunning the Spirit of God. I feel that I am about to die, and I have a request to make. I want you to sell this horse and bury me here in the street by this sign post, and put up a slab by my grave bearing this inscription, ‘You cannot run away from the Spirit of God.’ ”
The man soon died. Physicians examined him and said there was no disease about him, but that he died of mental agony.
His strange request was granted, and the slab bearing this silent warning preached many a sermon to passers-by, and resulted in a revival of religion in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. — Written for this book by Mary E. Jenks, McBain, Mich.
067 — JOHN WESLEY’S LAST WORDS — “THE BEST OF ALL IS, GOD IS WITH US.”
This holy man of God went to heaven March 2, 1791, in the eighty-eighth year of his life. He had preached the gospel sixty-five years. Shortly before his death, Mr. Wesley said, “I will get up”; and whilst they arranged his clothes, he broke out singing in a manner which astonished all about him,
“I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.
Happy the man whose hopes rely on Israel’s God;
He made the sky,
And earth and seas, with all their train;
His truth forever stands secure,
He saves the oppressed.
He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promise vain.”
Once more seated in his chair, he said in a weak voice, “Lord, Thou givest strength to those who can speak and to those who cannot. Speak, Lord, to all our hearts, and let them know that Thou loosest tongues.” And then he sang,
“To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Who sweetly all agree.”
Here his voice failed.
After gasping for breath he said, “Now, we have done all.”
He was then laid on the bed from whence he rose no more. After resting a little, he called to those who were with him to “Pray and praise.”
Soon after this he said, “Let me be buried in nothing but what is woolen, and let my corpse be carried in my coffin into the chapel.”
Again calling upon them to pray and praise, he took each by the hand, and, affectionately saluting them, bade them farewell.
After attempting to say something which they could not understand, he paused a little, and then, with all the remaining strength he had, said, “The best of all is, God is with us.”
And again, lifting his hand, he repeated the same words in holy triumph, “The best of all is, God is with us.”
Being told that his brother’s widow had come, he said, “He giveth His servants rest,” thanked her as she pressed his hand, and affectionately tried to kiss her.
After they had moistened his lips he repeated his usual grace after a meal — “We thank Thee, O Lord, for these and all Thy mercies; bless the church and king, grant us truth and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
And, after a little pause, “The clouds drop fatness. The Lord is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” He then called to them to pray, and seemed to join fervently in their petitions.
Most of the following night he repeatedly tried to repeat the hymn he had sung, but could only say, “I’ll praise, I’ll praise.”
On Wednesday morning his end was near. Joseph Bradford prayed with him about ten o’clock in the morning, whilst eleven friends knelt round the bed.
“Farewell,” said the dying man, and it was the last word he spoke.
Immediately after, without a groan or a sigh, he passed away. His friends stood round his bed and sang:
“Waiting to receive thy spirit,
Lo! the Savior stands above!
Shows the purchase of His merit,
Reaches out the crown of love.”
— Kenyon’s Life of John Wesley
068 — LITTLE WILLIE LEONARD’S TRANSLATION TO HEAVEN
The following account of the death of Willie Leonard, aged only six years, will be of added interest to many who have read the little book One Year With Jesus, written a few years ago by Mrs. Anna Leonard, of Manton, Michigan, and in which she speaks of Willie. It is taken from a letter written by his mother at the time, seventeen years ago, to a friend who is glad to share it with others.
One day, about two weeks before Willie died, he came in from his play and said, “Mamma, seems to me I wouldn’t want to die.” When asked why, he said, “O, I wouldn’t want to leave you folks here; but then I suppose I would be very happy in heaven, and, mamma, I would watch over you.”
His mamma clasped him in her arms; she loved him, oh! so much. She felt that the angels were beckoning to him while she talked with him of the joys that awaited him in heaven and that they would meet him there.
He then said, “Mamma, I don’t want any little lamb on my tomb stone, but I want a little boy lying on the grass as you have seen me lie in the summer time when I was tired out with play.” (He never saw nor heard of anything of the kind; but such a stone now marks his grave.)
He was taken sick with scarlet fever, of a diphtherial form, and lived but two days. He was such a patient little sufferer through it all! When asked if he was not a pretty sick little boy, he replied, “No, not very sick; but I think Jesus is going to take me to heaven to live,” and an angelic look of holy rapture came over his face, with such a radiant smile.
His papa was called and as he talked with him about it, that same glorious smile again illuminated his face. He then talked about the disposal of his toys, books, Sabbath school cards and papers (even remembering the writer, so many miles away, “For,” said he, “I love her,” and the memory is precious as she writes of him today).
He then spoke of anew hat, which he said he would not need now, and his mamma talked with him of the beautiful crown awaiting him in heaven, although her heart seemed bursting with grief.
“Willie,” said she, “no one can see Jesus when He comes except the one He comes after, so when you see Him will you tell me?”
“Yes,” he replied, “if I can talk, and if not I will point to Him.” He then said be wanted them all to come to heaven.
When his little brother told him that his papa had gone after the doctor he said, “O, I would rather that Jesus would take me to heaven than for Dr. Taplin to make me well!” In a few hours he was quite restless and delirious.
I now quote from the letter verbatim: “As we laid him back on his pillow, his eyes remained wide-open and fixed. We felt his feet and found them cold. I hastened and warmed flannels and wrapped them. We chafed his hands, although his finger-nails were blue. How could we believe that our Willie was dying-Willie our hope, our pride, the joy of our home, yes, our very idol! But so it was, and as we gathered round his bed we wept as only parents can weep at such times, and talked loving words to his inanimate form. He was lying very still, when all at once one little hand was raised and he pointed upward for a moment as his dear lips moved in an effort to speak.
‘Willie,’ I cried aloud, ‘do you see Jesus?’ His hand was laid again by his side, he breathed shorter and less frequently a few times and then ceased forever. In his last moments he remembered the signal agreed upon between him and me, and pointed me to Jesus.
“When the body that was so beautiful and dear to us was lowered into the silent grave and the earth fell with a hollow sound upon the box below, it seemed as if I could not rise above the shock, when I felt as it were a light breath fan my cheek and a sweet voice seemed to say, ‘Mamma, I am not there; don’t cry. I am happy.’ My tears dried in an instant, and I cannot now think of him as anywhere but in that beautiful heaven where he longed to go. ” — Furnished for this work by Mrs. Eva Simkins, Lester, Mich.
069 — LAST WORDS OF REV. H. Y. HUMELBAUGH
This hero of faith met and vanquished the last foe early on the morning of October 13, 1868. He was a member of Pennsylvania Conference, and spent thirteen years in itinerant work.
When his physician visited him the last time he inquired, “Doctor, what do you think of me?”
“You are very ill, sir,” was the reply.
“Well, I did not expect that,” said Mr. Humelbaugh, “but it is all right. I have tried to live a religious life, and now I can say, ‘Saved by grace; saved by the grace of God.'”
When asked if the gospel he had preached to others comforted his own heart, he quickly answered, “Oh, yes; oh, yes. I was afraid if I did get well I would have to give up preaching, but the Lord has arranged all that now.”
As the shadows thickened his faith seemed to lay hold of the Redeemer with an all-conquering grasp, and he exclaimed, “O Jesus, receive my spirit. Glory to God for a religion that saves in the dying hour.”
A friend, approaching his bedside, said, “Well, Brother Humelbaugh, you are going home.”
“Home! yes; blessed be God, I’m in the old ship sailing for — glory to God! Glory to God for experimental religion.” Lifting both hands, he continued, “Let people say what they choose against experimental religion, thank God it saves in a dying hour.”
Then, turning to his grief-stricken wife, he sought most tenderly to console her. “Oh, Fanny, weep not for me; I will soon rest, forever rest, from all my troubles. Oh, lead a holy life; train up our children in the fear of the Lord — in experimental religion — and tell them to be humble.”
Addressing his physician again, he said, “Oh, doctor, what a beautiful land lies just before my eyes.”
Then in holy ecstasy he cried out: “O King of terrors! end of time! Oh, all is bright! I’ll soon be at home. Farewell, pulpit; this is the end of my preaching.”
Kissing his little son, he said, “God bless you, my boy.”
With the confidence of Israel’s sweet singer, he repeated to himself, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” So nearly exhausted was he that he omitted the last sentence, but when some one finished it he replied, “They comfort me; yes, bless God, they comfort me.”
A few minutes later his pulse was still. He had passed from life to life. — From Life to Life.
070 — LAST WORDS OF CHARLES IX., KING OF FRANCE — “I AM LOST; I SEE IT WELL.”
This wicked king died May 30, 1574. His character was a compound of passion, acuteness, heartlessness and cunning. (He was, of course, a Roman Catholic.) The massacre of St. Bartholomew, August 24, 1572, was the culmination of a series of treacheries towards the Huguenots which greatly disgraced his reign. He died a young man. During his last hours he said, “Oh, my nurse, my nurse! What blood, what murders, what evil counsels have I followed! Oh, my God, pardon me and have mercy on me if Thou canst. I know not what I am! What shall I do? I am lost; I see it well.”
071 — “THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL.”
Sister Sarah A. Cook, known to many of our readers by her writings and evangelistic work, gives an account of the last days of her sister, who died in England during the spring of 1864. She says in her book, Wayside Sketches:
I was called to the sick bed of my eldest sister, Eliza, living in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. I found her suffering from intermittent fever and general prostration. Always delicate, with a mind too active for the frail tenement in which it dwelt, during the first stage of the sickness there seemed a strong clinging to life.
Very happy in her marriage relationship — with many interests — a circle of loving friends, and an earnest worker in the cause of the Redeemer, life was full of attraction. Then the thought would come of her husband’s loneliness without her, and she said, “I would be quite willing to go, but Harry would miss me so much”; but faith triumphed over nature and a little later she said, “The Lord could make Harry a happy home if He should take me.”
Day by day the attraction heavenward became stronger. Once, when all was fixed for the night, and I was about leaving the room, she called me to her, and looking earnestly into my face she said, “Sarah, don’t you pray for my recovery.”
Reminding her how much we all loved her and how glad we should be to keep her with us, she answered, “And I love you all very much; but it is so much better to depart and be with Jesus.”
While with her through the day, and listening to the doctor’s cheery and hopeful words, I would think she might recover; but in prayer I could never take hold for her health — could only breathe out, “Thy will, O Lord, not mine, be done.”
The prayer of faith, in which at times our Father enables His children to take hold for the healing of the body, was never given. In His infinite love and wisdom He was calling her home, “Where no storms ever beat on that beautiful strand, While the years of eternity roll.”
Every afternoon she liked for about an hour to be left entirely alone. The fever would then be off, and she chose it as the best time for secret communion with the Lord. Opening the door one day, after the hour had passed, she sat upright in bed, her face radiant with joy as she exclaimed, “O, I have had such a view of God’s love!” Stretching out her hands, she said. “It seems to me like a boundless ocean, and as though I were lost in that boundless ocean of love!”
When suffering from extreme prostration, her favorite lines would be:
“Christ leads us through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that would to His kingdom come.
Must enter by that door.”
“Do you,” said a dear friend to her one day, “have any fear of death?”
“Oh, no,” she answered, “I don’t know that I have ever thought of it.”
The word death was never on her lips. The “valley of the shadow” was all bridged over. She did not see it, for the eye of faith swept over it, and was on Him who is the resurrection and the life. “To be with Jesus” was her oft-repeated expression; repeating on Friday, with tenderest, deepest joy, the whole of that beautiful hymn:
“Forever with the Lord,
Amen, so let it be;
Life from the dead is in that word,
“Here in the body pent,
Absent from Him I roam;
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
A day’s march nearer home.”
The Sabbath dawned, her last day on earth. Seeing the end was very near, I hesitated about leaving her to meet her Bible-Class at the chapel, a large class of young women. I had been teaching them every Sabbath afternoon. “Would you like me, dear, to take your class this afternoon?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered with some surprise in her voice, “why not? And tell them all I have loved and prayed for them very much.” It was a melting time as we all together realized how near the parting was.
Our lesson that day was the words of comfort our Savior had spoken to His disciples, recorded in the 14th of John. Returning from the school with the class, they all passed by the open door to take a last look at their loved teacher. Wonderfully all through the day these words were applied to my heart, “If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I go unto my father”; until the thought of her exceeding blessedness in being so near the presence of Jesus swallowed up all thoughts of sorrow at losing her. Hour after hour passed as the “silver cord was loosening.”
An aunt, Mrs. Tuxford, remarked, “You have had seven weeks of peace.”
“I have had seven weeks of perfect peace,” she answered. Her peace flowed like a river all through the day; at times she spoke words of fullest trust.
With her head leaning on the bosom of her husband, the last words that our listening ears caught were, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” — Wayside Sketches.
072 — “I AM READY, FOR THIS (MY HEART) HAS BEEN HIS KINGDOM.”
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
A boy dying of his wounds in one of our hospitals during the rebellion was asked by the lady nurse, “Are you ready to meet your God, my dear boy?”
The large dark eyes opened slowly, and a smile passed over the young soldier’s face as he answered, “I am ready, dear lady, for this has been His kingdom,” and as he spoke he placed his hand upon his heart.
“Do you mean,” questioned the lady gently, “that God rules and reigns in your heart?”
“Yes,” he whispered, then passed away. His hand still lay over his heart after it had ceased to beat.
073 — “I CANNOT BE PARDONED; IT IS TOO LATE! TOO LATE!”
Miss — was the name of an amiable young lady of my acquaintance who died at the age of sixteen. She was the daughter of respectable and pious parents in one of the New England States. On the cultivation of her mind considerable attention had been bestowed. . . . To what extent her mind had been imbued with religious truth in childhood, I have not been able fully to learn. It is certain that, from her earliest years, she had regarded religion with respect and had entertained the expectation of becoming a Christian before she died . . .
One morning, especially, the first impression she had when she awoke was that she must embrace religion then; and that her soul was in imminent danger of being lost if she delayed. . . . She deliberated, she reasoned, she prayed, and finally made up her mind to the deliberate resolution that she would repent and accept the offer of salvation before the close of that day. She did not actually repent then, but resolved that she would do it that day. . . . But the day had its cares and pleasures; business and company filled up its hours, and the night found her as thoughtless, almost, as she had been for months.
The next morning her religious impressions were renewed and deepened. . . . The violated vows of the previous morning gave her some uneasiness; she felt not quite the same confidence in herself that she did before; but she had now formed her resolution so firmly, she was so fixed in her purpose, that she considered the issue could hardly be any longer doubtful; and the agony of her soul gave way to the soothing reflection that she should soon be a Christian.
She had now taken, as she imagined, “one step” — had formed a solemn purpose and had given a pledge to repent that day. She felt, as she expressed it, committed, and hardly had a doubt as to the accomplishment of her purpose. This day also passed as before. She did, indeed, several times during the day think of her resolution, but not with that overwhelming interest she had felt in the morning, and nothing decisive was done.
The next morning her impressions were again renewed, and she again renewed her resolution, and it was dissipated as before; and thus she went on resolving and breaking her resolutions, until at length her anxiety entirely subsided and she entirely relapsed into her former state of unconcern. She was not, however, absolutely indifferent; she still expected and resolved to be a Christian; but her resolutions now looked to a more distant period for their accomplishment, and she returned to the cares and pleasures of the world with the same interest as before.
About this time she went to reside in a neighboring village, and I did not see her again for about three months, when I was called at an early hour one morning to visit her on the bed of death. . . . About daybreak, on the morning of the day she died, she was informed that her symptoms had become alarming, and that her sickness would probably be fatal. The intelligence was awfully surprising. . . .
At one time her distress became so intense and her energies so exhausted that she was forced to conclude her soul lost — that nothing could now be done for it; and for a moment she seemed as if in a horrid struggle to adjust her mind to her anticipated doom. But oh that word Lost. Her whole frame shuddered at the thought.
It was now nearly noon. Most of the morning had been employed either in prayer at her bedside or in attempting to guide her to the Savior; but all seemed ineffectual; her strength was now nearly gone; vital action was no longer perceptible at the extremities, the cold death-sweat was gathering on her brow, and dread despair seemed ready to possess her soul. She saw, and we all saw, that the fatal moment was at hand, and her future prospect one of unmingled horror. She shrank from it. She turned her eyes to me, and called on all who stood around her to beseech once more the God of mercy in her behalf.
We all knelt again at her bedside, and having once more commended her to God, I tried again to direct her to the Savior, and was beginning to repeat some promises which I thought appropriate, when she interrupted me, saying with emphasis, “I can not be pardoned; it is too late, too late!”
And again alluding to that fatal resolution, she begged of me to charge all the youth of my congregation not to neglect religion as she had done; not to stifle their conviction by a mere resolution to repent. “Warn them, warn them,” she said, “by my case” — and again she attempted to pray, and swooned again.
She continued thus alternately to struggle and faint, every succeeding effort becoming feebler, until the last convulsive struggle closed the scene, and her spirit took its everlasting flight. — Rev. E. Phelps, D. D.
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” (Isa. 55:6.)
074 — “HERE SHE IS, WITH TWO ANGELS WITH HER.”
We quote the following experience from A Woman’s Life Work, written by the sainted Laura S. Haviland, whose life was full of good works. She says:
I met on the street a sister White, who was much distressed about her son, who was almost gone with consumption, and yet was unwilling to see any minister or religious person, to say anything to him about a preparation for the change. “Do, please, go with me now to see my dying son Harvey. May be he’ll listen to you.”
I went to her house and found him too weak to talk much. The mother introduced me as her friend who had called on her. I took his emaciated hand and said, “I see you are very low and weak, and I do not wish to worry you with talking, but you have but little hope of being restored to health I should judge from your appearance.”
He turned his head on his pillow as he said, “I can never be any better — I can’t live.”
“Then your mind has been turned toward the future, and may the enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit lead you to the Great Physician of souls, who knows every desire of the heart, and is able to save to the uttermost, even at the eleventh hour.”
I saw the starting tear as he looked earnestly at me, while I was still holding his feverish hand in mine. “Will it be too much for you, in your weak condition, if I should read to you a few of the words of our Lord and Savior?”
“O no, I’d like to hear you.”
I opened to the fourteenth of John, and upon reading a few verses I saw that the impression made was deepening, and asked if it would worry him too much if I should spend a few moments in prayer. “O no, I’d like to hear you pray.”
Placing my hand on his forehead, I implored divine aid in leading this precious soul to the cleansing fountain, and that his faith might increase, and in its exercise be enabled to secure the pearl of great price.
As I arose from his bedside, he reached out both hands for mine and said, “I want you to come tomorrow.” He wept freely; and I left with the burden of that precious soul upon my heart.
The mother and sister, who were both professors of religion, stood near the door weeping for joy over the consent of the dear son and brother to listen to the few words of reading and prayer.
The day following I met the sick man again, and as soon as I entered his mother’s room she said, “Oh, how thankful to God we are for this visit to my poor boy! He seems in almost constant prayer for mercy. Early this morning he spoke of your coming today.”
As I entered his room he threw up both hands, saying, “God will have mercy on poor me, won’t He?”
“Most certainly,” I responded; “His word is nigh thee, even in thy heart, and in thy mouth.”
“Do pray for me,” he requested.
I read a few words from the Bible, and followed with prayer, in which he joined with a few exclamations. I left him much more hopeful than on the previous day.
The next morning his sister came for me in great haste, saying, “Brother Harvey wants to see you, quick.”
It was not yet sunrise; but I hastened to obey the message, as I supposed he was dying. Not a word passed between us until we reached her brother’s room. Upon opening his door he exclaimed, “Glory, glory to God, Mrs. Haviland! Come to me quick, I want to kiss you; for God brought me out of darkness this morning about the break of day. O hallelujah! Glory to Jesus! He shed His blood for poor me; and I shouted louder than I could talk for a good many days. O, how I wish I had strength to tell everybody that I am happier in one minute than I ever was in all my life put together!”
He became quite exhausted in shouting and talking and I advised him to rest now in the arms of the beloved Savior.
“Yes, I am in His arms. Glory to His name for what He has done for me! I want you to see my cousin George; he is sick and not able to come to see me today.”
I told him I would within a few days, and left him, with his cup of salvation overflowing.
About two hours before he died he looked at his mother, smiling, and said, “There’s Mary; don’t you see her, standing at the foot of my bed?”
“No, my son, mother can’t see her.”
“O, how beautiful she looks! It seems as if you must see her,” and he looked very earnestly at the object. “There, she’s gone now.”
Fifteen minutes before he breathed his last, he said, “Here she is again, and so beautiful! Mother, can’t you see her?”
“No, son, I can’t see her.”
“Beautiful, beautiful she is. There, she’s gone again.”
Just as the soul took its flight, he upraised both hands, with a smile, and said, “Here she is, with two angels with her. They’ve come for me”; and the hands dropped as the breath left him, with the smile retained on his countenance.
The sister Mary, that died a number of years previously, was about four years old; and his mother told me she had not heard her name mentioned in the family for months before Harvey’s death.
075 — O MA, THE LORD IS HERE AND I HAVE THE VICTORY.”
Beulah Blackman was a girl of unusual loveliness of person and character. As a school teacher, she held up the light of a pure and holy life, often bringing persecution upon herself by her unyielding adherence to the principles of Christianity and righteousness. The writer has seen her while under the pressure of severe criticism with tears streaming down her face as with a smile she said, “This is good for me!”
Her aim in living was to do good, to “rescue the perishing” and uplift the downcast.
She was married in the summer of 1897 to Lewis Leonard, but on the following Easter Sunday — the resurrection day — her pure spirit took its flight to be forever with the Lord.
For months before she died, she was unable to get to the house of God, but she had her “Dethel”; her little red Bible was always near her, and the young girls who aided her in her housework received advice and admonitions which they will remember while life lasts.
We were called to her home on Saturday evening, and as we entered the room she held up her hands for loving greeting as she said, “O, ma, the Lord is here and I have the victory.” As the Spirit came upon her, she laughed and cried as we praised God together.
Upon the arrival of the doctor, she told him that a greater Physician than he had been there and encouraged her so much. As he was not a Christian, she said to him, “You don’t understand it.”
All through the long night she manifested such patient endurance, with now and then a word for Jesus, in Whom we all knew she trusted. As her strength failed, she said again, “I am so glad I have the Lord.”
As morning broke bright and beautiful, she welcomed her infant son into the world, “with only time for one long kiss and then to leave him motherless.”
Her heart, naturally weak, failed, and she appeared to be paralyzed. An effort was made to arouse her so that she could look again at her babe, but she could neither move nor speak. Her husband begged of her to speak once more, and failing to do that, he asked her to smile if she still knew him, which she did, and as he kissed the dear pale lips they parted in an effort to return the demonstration of love. Then, like a weary child going to sleep in its mother’s arms, she leaned her head on Jesus’ breast and breathed her life out sweetly there.
While we wept she lifted her eyes upward and gazed an instant as if surprised, then smile after smile illuminated her face, showing plainly that fullness of joy was certain. A holy influence filled the room. There was no terror there. There seemed to be angelic visitors waiting to conduct her home. Tears were dried. It seemed as if the gates of heaven were ajar and a glimpse of the glory which awaits the faithful was given to mortals. A moment more and all was over. A look of peaceful victory rested on the lovely features. Truly God is our Father. He is love. — Written For this work by Mrs. Anna M. Leonard, Manton, Mich..
076 — “MURDER! MURDER! MURDER!”
When Mr. R____, from Baltimore, was seized with cholera, he sent for me to come and see him, and said to me when I entered his room, “My wife, who is a Christian woman, has been writing me ever since I came here to make your acquaintance and attend your church, but I have not done it; and what is worse, I am about to leave the world without a preparation to meet God.”
He was as noble-looking a man as could be found in a thousand, and knowing many of his friends in Baltimore I felt the greatest possible sympathy for him; my soul loved him, and I determined, if possible, to contest the devil’s claim on him to the last moment of his life. But he was in despair, and after laboring with him about an hour, in urging him to try to fix his mind on some precious promise of the Bible, he said:
“There is but one passage in the Bible that I can call to mind, and that haunts me. I can think of nothing else, for it exactly suits my case: ‘He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his heart; shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.’ Mr. Taylor,” continued he, “it’s no use to talk to me, or to try to do anything further; I am that man, and my doom is fixed.”
The next day when I entered his room he said to a couple of young men present, “Go out, boys, I want to talk to Mr. Taylor.”
Then he said, “I have no hope, my doom is fixed; but, for the warning of others, I want to tell you something that occurred a few months ago. I was then in health, and doing a good business, and a man said to me, ‘Dick, how would you like to have a clerkship?’ and I replied, ‘I wouldn’t have a clerkship under Jesus Christ.’ Now, sir, that is the way I treated Christ when I thought I did not need Him; and now when I’m dying, and can do no better for this life, it’s presumption to offer myself to Him. It is no use; He won’t have me.”
Nothing that I could say seemed to have any effect toward changing his mind. A few hours afterward, when he felt the icy grasp of death upon his heart, he cried, “Boys, help me out of this place!”
“O no, Dick, you’re too sick; we cannot help you up.”
“O do help me up; I can’t lie here.”
“O Dick, don’t exert yourself so; you’ll hasten your death.”
“Boys,” said the poor fellow, “if you don’t help me up, I’ll cry Murder!” and with that he cried at the top of his voice, which was yet strong and clear, “Murder! murder! murder!” till life’s tide ebbed out, and his voice was hushed in death.
How dreadful the hazard of postponing the business of life, the great object for which life is given, to the hour when heart and flesh are failing! — California Life Illustrated.
077 — “MY HEAVEN! HEAVEN — GLORY!”
Mrs. Dorcas Eskridge, of Blue Grove, Texas, writes us as follows:
My father, Willison Foster, who was a licensed exhorter in the M. E. Church South, died near Chico, Texas, April 2, 1887, aged seventy-one years. He was one of the purest Christians I ever knew, was often made happy in a Savior’s love and died shouting. His last words were, “My heaven! Heaven! Glory!”
I had often heard him remark that he did not believe that the dying saints ever saw departed spirits, while dying. I believed they did. To satisfy myself on this subject, I made the request during his sickness that if he came to die and should see spirits near him, that he would raise his hand in token that he saw them, if he was unable to speak. Sure enough, just before consciousness left him, he raised his right hand and pointed upward. I do praise the Lord for the dying testimony of one in whom I had so much confidence. Dear, precious one! My mother also went home shouting.
078 — FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL — “THERE NOW, IT IS ALL OVER! BLESSED REST.”
This holy woman of God was born at Astley, England, Dec. 14, 1836. She was the youngest daughter of Rev. Wm. II. and Jane Havergal. Her father was a distinguished minister of the Episcopal Church. She was baptized in Astley Church by Rev. John Cawood, Jan. 25, 1837. She bore the name of Ridley in memory of the godly and learned Bishop Ridley, who was one of the noble army of martyrs. Many have been greatly helped by her writings in prose and verse.
She was translated to heaven from Caswell Bay, England, June 3, 1879. A short time before her death she spoke to her sister Ellen and said, “I should have liked my death to be like Samson’s, doing more for God’s glory than by my life; but He wills it otherwise.”
Ellen replied, “St. Paul said, ‘The will of the Lord be done,’ and, ‘Let Christ be magnified, whether by my life or by my death.'”
I think it was then my beloved sister whispered, “Let my own text, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin,’ be on my tomb; all the verse if there is room.”
She said to her sister, “I do not know what God means by it, but no new thoughts for poems or books come to me now.”
At another time she said, “Spite the breakers, Marie, I am so happy; God’s promises are so true. Not a fear.”
When the doctor bid her good-bye and told her that he really thought she was going, she said, “Beautiful, too good to be true! Splendid to be so near the gate of heaven! So beautiful to go!”
The Vicar of Swansea said to her, “You have talked and written a good deal about the King, and you will soon see Him in His beauty. Is Jesus with you now?”
“Of course,” she replied, “it is splendid! I thought He would have left me here a long while; but He is so good to take me now.”
At another time she said, “Oh, I want all of you to speak bright, bright words about Jesus, Oh, do, do! It is all perfect peace, I am only waiting for Jesus to take me in.”
Afterward she sang the following stanza:
“Jesus, I will trust Thee,
Trust Thee with my soul”
Guilty, lost and helpless,
Thou hast made me whole —
There is none in heaven,
Or on earth like Thee,
Thou hast died for sinners,
Thou hast died for me,”
The parting scene is graphically described as follows:
“There came a terrible rush of convulsive sickness; it ceased, the nurse gently assisting her. She nestled down in the pillows, folded her hands on her breast, saying, ‘There, now it’s all over. Blessed rest!’
“And now she looked up steadfastly as if she saw the Lord; and, surely, nothing less heavenly could have reflected such a glorious radiance upon her face. For ten minutes we watched that almost visible meeting with her King, and her countenance was so glad, as if she were already talking to Him. Then she tried to sing; but after one sweet, high note, ‘He–,” her voice failed; and, as her brother commended her soul into her Redeemer’s hand, she passed away. Our precious sister was gone — satisfied — glorified — within the palace of her King! — Life of Frances R. Havergal.
079 — AN INFIDEL’S LIFE SPARED A FEW DAYS
“During the summer of 1862, I became acquainted with a Mr. A____, who professed infidelity, and who was, I think, as near an atheist as any I ever met. I held several conversations with him on the subject of religion, but could not seem to make any impression on his mind, and when a point was pressed strongly he would become angry.
“In the fall he was taken ill and seemed to go into a rapid decline. I, with others, sought kindly and prayerfully to turn his mind to his need of a Savior, but only met with rebuffs. As I saw that his end was drawing near, one day I pressed the importance of preparing to meet God, when he became angry and said I need not trouble myself any more about his soul, as there was no God, the Bible was a fable, and when we die that is the last of us, and was unwilling that I should pray with him. I left him, feeling very sad.
“Some four weeks after, on New Year’s morning, I awoke with the impression that I should go and see Mr. A____, and I could not get rid of that impression; so, about nine o’clock, I went to see him, and as I approached the house I saw the two doctors, who had been holding a consultation, leaving. When I rang the bell, his sister-in-law opened the door for me, and exclaimed, ‘Oh! I am so glad you have come; John is dying. The doctors say he cannot possibly live above two hours, and probably not one.’
When I went up to his room, he sat bolstered up in a chair, and appeared to have fallen into a doze. I sat down about five feet from him, and when in about two minutes he opened his eyes and saw me, he started up, with agony pictured on his face and in the tones of his voice, and exclaimed, ‘O! Mr. P____, I am not prepared to die; there is a God; the Bible is true! O, pray for me! pray God to spare me a few days till I shall know I am saved!’
“These words were uttered with the intensest emotion, while his whole physical frame quivered through the intense agony of his soul. I replied in effect that Jesus was a great Savior, able and willing to save all who would come unto Him, even at the eleventh hour, as He did the thief on the cross.
“When I was about to pray with him, he again entreated me to pray especially that God would spare him a few days, till he might have the evidences of his salvation. In prayer I seemed to have great assurance of his salvation and asked God to give us the evidence of his salvation by granting him a few more days in this world. Several others joined in praying God to spare him a few days, till he should give evidence of being saved.
“I called again in the evening; he seemed even stronger than in the morning, and his mind was seeking the truth.
The next day as I entered, his face expressed the fact that peace and joy had taken the place of fear and anxiety. He was spared some five days, giving very clear evidence that he had passed from death to life. His ease was a great mystery to the doctors. They could not understand how he lived so long; but his friends, who had been praying for him, all believed it was in direct answer to prayer.” — Wonders of Prayer.
080 — “YOU WILL LET ME DIE AND GO TO HELL BEFORE YOU WILL SUFFER A NEGRO TO PRAY FOR ME.”
A Mr. H____, a wealthy planter in South Carolina about forty years since, came to the dying hour. He had made this world his god, and used his influence and money against the religion of the Bible. When the last hour came, he felt that he was a ruined man and requested his wife, who was as sinful as he, to pray for him. Her reply was, “I can’t do it. I don’t know how. I never prayed in my life.”
“Well,” said he, “send for one who is a Christian to pray for me.”
She replied, “For whom shall I send?”
“Send at once,” said he, “for Harry, the coachman; he is a man of God.”
“No,” she replied, “I’ll never do that. It would be an everlasting disgrace to have a Negro pray for you in your house.”
“Then you will let me die and go to hell before you will suffer a Negro to pray for me!” And she did. — Written for this book by Rev. E. G. Murrah.
What a multitude are kept from coming to God by their pride and by the pride of other friends! “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16: 18.)
081 — “MOTHER, I’M GOING TO JESUS, AND HE’S HERE IN THIS ROOM, ALL AROUND ME.”
The noted evangelist, Rev. E. P. Hammond, sends us this touching experience:
A lady from Brooklyn, New York, has just sent me a most touching story about a little cousin of hers, only nine years old. I could scarcely keep the tears from my eyes while reading it.
This little boy’s praying mother had been called to part with five of her children. This, her youngest, she dearly loved, and when he showed signs of having learned to trust and love the dear Jesus, she loved him all the more.
I will let you read a part of this kind lady’s letter, just as it was read to me:
“One Sunday evening, last spring, he was left alone with his sister, whose husband had died a few weeks before. After endeavoring to comfort her in various ways, he suddenly said, ‘Sister, have you heard me tell a lie for a long time? I used to tell a great many, but I don’t think I have now for six months, and I don’t think God will let me tell any more; I don’t want ever to do another wrong thing.’ When he went to bed that night, she heard him pray that God would soon make him fit for those mansions that eye had not seen, nor ear heard about.
“On Thursday of that week he went with two little boys to get some fireworks, that he might ‘amuse sister’ on the fourth of July. The railway train was going very slowly up a long hill, and for amusement the boys stepped off the back platform and on to the front one, when Charley slipped, and the wheel of the carriage passed directly over his hip, crushing the bone to powder. He uttered one scream, and then never complained again; but when a policeman was lifting him from his dreadful position, he opened his eyes and said, ‘Don’t blame anybody; it was my fault. But tell my mother I’m going right to my Savior.’
“The rough policeman in telling of this said, ‘We all felt that there must be some reality in that boy’s religion.’
He gave his name and residence while they were carrying him to the hospital. The sad news was told to his mother by two little street children, who expressed it in these terms: ‘Does Charley H____ live here? Well, he’s smashed.’
She followed the children and literally tracked her child by his blood to the hospital. When she entered the room where he lay, he opened his eyes and said, ‘Mother, I’m going to Jesus, and He’s here in this room, all around me. Oh, I love Him so much! Don’t let them cut off my leg; but, if they do, never mind — it won’t hurt me as much as Jesus was hurt.’
When his father arrived, he looked up and said, ‘Papa, I am going to my Savior; tell my brother Eddy if he feels lonely now, because he has no brother, to learn to love Jesus, and He will be his brother, and love him so much.’ These were the last words he said, for in about two hours he bled to death. The hospital nurse said, as she closed his eyes, ‘He has gone to that Savior he talked so much about, and I will try to love Him too.’
When his mother returned to her home, her only words were, ‘The Lord has taken my Charley though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.'”
Little Charley was very fond of the sweet hymns he had learned. Though he was but nine years old, he loved the Sunday school, where he heard so much about how Jesus died on the cross that our sins might all be washed away, and we be taken home to heaven to live with Him for ever.
082 — “I AM READY! I AM COMING!”
The noted evangelist, Rev. E. P. Hammond, sends us this touching experience:
At a time when a great many little children were seeking the precious Savior, the following lines were handed to me. I am sure they will interest every little reader.
I must tell you the story about this dear “child angel.” She lived near Barnet, where I think she learned to love the Savior. She used to learn little hymns about Jesus. Before she was five years old, she grew very sick. But though she could hardly speak, she was often heard lisping sweet hymns about Jesus.
Only an hour before she died, she rose up and asked for her best clothes; “for,” she said, “I am going a long journey.” She then walked up and down the floor of her room repeating the hymn, “Gentle Jesus.” She soon grew very weak and had to be put into bed. After lying there awhile, she raised herself a little and turning to the wall lifted up her hands, as if she saw some one in the distance, and repeated, again and again, “I am ready! I am coming!” till her sweet voice was hushed in the silence of death, and she was led by Him who carries the lambs in His bosom, to the mansions above.
083 — “I HAVE GIVEN MY IMMORTALITY FOR GOLD.”
About fifty years since, there died in Middle, Georgia, a Mr. F____. He began in his early manhood to lay up riches upon earth, and having labored to this end for forty years, came to the dying hour.
Just before his final departure he called his wife to his bedside and said, “I would rather lie on that bed of coals (pointing to the grate) and broil for one million years than go into eternity with the eternal horrors that hang over my soul! I have given my immortality for gold! I have enough of the sordid stuff to make you a horse block upon which to mount your horse, and its weight sinks me into an endless, hopeless, helpless hell!”
In those days horse-back riding was very common and to enable people to mount with ease they had what was called horse-blocks, made of the body of a forest tree, about two feet high, with a step on one side midway between the bottom and top. To this the dying man alluded. — Written for this work by Rev. E. G. Murrah.
“And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12: 15-21.)
084 — BISHOP HAVEN’S LAST WORDS — “THERE IS NO RIVER HERE. IT IS ALL BEAUTIFUL!”
This sainted bishop of the Methodist Church entered his episcopal office in 1872. One of his biographers says, “He was the most intense man of his generation.” He could not rest night or day unless he saw the work of God prospering. His rest was in the Lord’s work. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
He was a very affectionate man. We read “that he mourned the death of his wife so intensely that he would spend whole nights at her grave in tears and groans.”
“I will lay my head in her lap for a thousand years in heaven and rest it,” said he in a time of longing and accusation. In the end of 1879 a medical man of Cincinnati pronounced him suddenly worn out, and he hastened to his family home at Melden, Mass., to die. Crowds of friends came and his last days were a continual levee. He died in glorious peace, Jan. 3, 1880. In his last moments he said to his physician, “Good night, doctor: When we meet again it will be good morning!”
His last words were, “There is no river here! All is beautiful.”
085 — AN INFIDELS LAST WORDS — “HELL AND DAMNATION.”
An aged and rebellious infidel died in Freedom, a few years ago. Whilst he lay sick he refused any Christian the privilege of talking with him on religious subjects. Shortly before he died he started suddenly up in his bed, screaming, “The devils are come, the devils are come, keep them off me!” and then fell into a swoon.
Just before he died he seemed to summon all his strength, rose up in his bed, shouted “Hell and damnation, hell and damnation!” fell back, choked, strangled and died. — Rev. Thos. Graham.
086 — LAST WORDS OF DR. WAKELEY — “I SHALL NOT BE A STRANGER IN HEAVEN.”
The death-scene was in harmony with his life experience. Taken suddenly and violently ill, he was composed amid his acute sufferings, and without alarm as to the issue. When his physicians informed him they had no hope of his recovery, he received the information without agitation and continued tranquil and happy. I have seen many Christians die happily, but I never witnessed such perfect naturalness. He conversed and acted in the same manner, with the same tone of voice, the same pleasant countenance, and the same cheerful spirit which characterized him in health. In his sickness, from first to last, everything he said and did was perfectly Wakeleyan. It really did not seem like a death-scene. It appeared more like the breaking of morning and the advancing of day than the approach of evening and the gathering of the night shadows.
At my first interview with him he said, “The doctors tell me there is no hope of my recovery; but I can say with Paul, ‘I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought good fight; I have (almost) finished my course; I have kept the faith.’ I see my crown and mansion and inheritance.”
I said to him, “Yes, but you must die to possess them.”
He instantly responded:
“By death I shall escape from death,
And life eternal gain.”
At another time he said, “I have fought long, fought honorably, fought heroically, fought successfully, fought for God, fought for Jesus, fought for Methodism, fought for Christianity. I have not gained all I wished; but, through Christ, I have taken great spoils.”
He quoted, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” Looking at me very earnestly, he said, “Believest thou this?”
I said, “With all my heart.”
He responded, with much emotion, “So do I.” Lifting up his hand, he said,
“The Head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now;
A royal diadem adorns
The mighty Conqueror’s brow.”
“The spiritual kingdom of Christ in the earth is a mighty one. It must be set up in all the earth. It will over all prevail.”
A few hours before his exit I said to him, “What shall I say to your brethren in the ministry from you?”
“Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine”; repeating the words “with all long-suffering” three times. After a few moment’s rest, he added, “Tell them what Peter says, ‘If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.'”
After a moment’s rest, while panting for breath, he added, “Tell them to preach the old gospel; we want no new one. The old gospel is to save the world; it can’t be improved. One might as well attempt to improve a ray of sunshine while vivifying a flower. The grand old gospel forever!” After a short pause, to take breath, he said, “Tell them to go where they are sent.”
Speaking of his whole case, all the interests involved in his demise, he said, “I leave all with God. I want it distinctly understood, I do so without any fear, without any cowardice, without any alarm; I do it with the boldness of an old soldier, and with the calmness of a saint.”
He said, “They will inquire in the morning, ‘Is Brother Wakeley dead?’ Dead? No! Tell them he is better, and alive for evermore.”
I said, “Yes, and a higher and nobler life.”
He replied, “Wonderfully enlarged! Oh, wonderfully enlarged!”
“Let me have a little plot in the quiet cemetery, and let me sleep there until the great rising day.”
“I know the old ship. The Pilot knows me well. He will take me safe into port. Heavenly breezes already fan my cheeks.”
“I shall not be a stranger in heaven. I am well known up there.”
“Like Bunyan, I see a great multitude with white robes, and I long to be with them. To depart and be with Christ is far better.”
“When you go to the grave, don’t go weeping. Death hath no sting. The grave hath no terror. Eternity hath no darkness. Sing at my funeral, ‘Rejoice for a brother deceased. Our loss is his gain.’ For many years neither death nor the grave had any terrors for me.”
“Hark! hark! hear ye not the song? Victory is ours. There is great rejoicing in heaven. Roll open, ye golden gates, and let my car go through! I must wait until the death-angel descends” Soon the death-angel came. The silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was broken, and his freed spirit ascended to glory and to God. — Bishop Janes.
087 — HE CLINCHED HIS TEETH WHILE HE CRIED “HELL, HELL, HELL!”
Near L____ lived P____ K____, talented and wealthy, but a hater of God, of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Bible. He talked, lectured and published books and tracts against the Savior and the sacred scriptures, circulating them freely wherever he could. His influence for evil had been very great in all that country for years.
From a near neighbor and from members of his household the following facts are learned concerning his death:
His death-bed beggared description. He clinched his teeth, and blood spurted from his nostrils while he cried “Hell! Hell!! Hell!!!” with a terror that no pen can describe. A neighbor declared that he heard him a quarter of a mile away. His family could not endure the agony of that death-bed scene. They fled to an adjoining wood across the road, and there remained among the trees until all became quiet at home. One by one they ventured back, to find the husband and father cold in death. He literally had been left to die alone, abandoned of God and of man. — Written for this work by Milburn Merrill, Denver, Colorado.
088 — THE LAST WORDS OF A MOTHER AND CHILD
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., of Allentown, Penn., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
Little Mary was an attendant of an industrial school in New York City. In her last moments she sang, “Come to Jesus,” when the angels carried her to heaven.
Two years after the mother died. As death drew near she exclaimed, “Don’t you hear my child singing? She is singing the same sweet song, ‘Come to Jesus,’ that she learned at school.”
089 — DYING TESTIMONY OF CARDINAL WOLSEY
Thomas Wolsey, a distinguished person in the reign of Henry VIII., was born in the year 1471; and it is said he was the son of a butcher at Ipswich. Being made chaplain to the king, he had great opportunities of gaining his favor; to obtain which he practiced all the arts of obsequiousness. Having gradually acquired an entire ascendency over the mind of Henry, he successively obtained several bishoprics, and at length was made archbishop of York, lord high chancellor of England and prime minister, and was for several years the arbiter of Europe. The emperor, Charles the fifth, and the French king, Francis the first, courted his interest and loaded him with favors. As his revenues were immense and his influence unbounded, his pride and ostentation were carried to the greatest height. He had eight hundred servants, amongst whom were nine or ten lords, fifteen knights and forty esquires.
From this great height of power and splendor he was suddenly precipitated into ruin. His ambition to be pope, his pride, his exactions and his opposition to Henry’s divorce occasioned his disgrace. This sad reverse so affected his mind as to bring on a severe illness, which soon put a period to his days. A short time before he left the world, the review of his life and a consciousness of the misapplication of his time and talents drew from him this sorrowful declaration: “Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my incessant pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my prince.” — Power of Religion.
090 — “THE ANGELS SAY THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM UP THERE.”
Sister Kate H. Booth, of Buffalo, N. Y., sends us the account of her sister’s happy death. She says:
My sister was a devoted Christian. To show the depth of her piety, we quote from her diary:
“Friday, Aug. 22, 1879 — I consecrated myself anew to follow God. The fire came down and consumed the sacrifice. All was put on the altar and remains there.
Tuesday, Aug. 26 — I received such a baptism as I never received before, and today I say,
‘Anyway, Jesus, only glorify Thyself.’
Give Joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again.
In that eternal day.’
Sudden death would be sudden glory.”
She was constantly praising the Lord for His mercy and grace. She was thankful for every kindness shown. Some of her expressions were: “It’s all right, it is all clear, death has lost its sting, almost there.”
One evening while the sun was setting and the autumn leaves were tinged with a golden hue, she said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
She had a vision of the unseen world. While her face was radiant with a divine halo, and it seemed as though she was about to leave us, I called, “Oh, Jennie, what are your last words?”
She revived and said, “Be true; but what made you call me back?”
I said, “What did you see?”
She replied, “It’s all right there,” and waved her hand in token of victory.
During her illness she would express the desire that she might retain her consciousness to the last, and she requested the members of her family to pray that her wish might be fulfilled. She did not want them to give up praying till the answer came.
Her desire was granted. In full possession of her faculties she came to the river brink. She would say.
“Labor is rest, and pain is sweet,
If Thou, my God, art here.”
She asked me to read the hymn commencing, “How blest the righteous when he dies.”
She thought it was so beautiful that she requested it to be sung at her funeral. On Tuesday night she said, “It is a hard struggle tonight, but a glorious victory tomorrow.”
Wednesday was her last day on earth; a bright and glorious one, for she felt she was soon to enter into the presence of her Lord. It was the first of October and her father’s birthday. In the evening, an hour or two before her departure, the doctor came in and she looked up at him with a smile and said, “Doctor, how am I?”
The tears were coursing down his cheeks, when she said, “The angels say there is plenty of room up there.” Thus she neared the crossing.
091 — THOMAS PAINE’S DYING WORDS — “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Thomas Paine was born at Thedford, England, in 1737. He is widely known by his connection with the American and French revolutions and by his infidel writings.
In 1791 he published his work, entitled, The Rights of Man. In 1793, while in a French prison, he wrote his famous work, The Age of Reason, against atheism and against Christianity and in favor of deism. In 1802 he returned to the United States, where he died in 1809. We take the following from Farrar’s Critical History of Free Thought:
“In Paine, who wrote in France in the midst of the French convention, we meet a reproduction of the spirit of early English deism, animated by the political exasperation which had characterized the French. His doctrines come from English deism; his bitterness from Voltaire; his politics from Rousseau. To Paine are due the socialistic schemes of Owen, which in some respects seem to be derived by direct lineage from him, also the expression of unbelief in the poetry of Byron and Shelley. . . . During the session of the French Convention, Paine composed his infidel work, Age of Reason, by which his name has gained an unenviable notoriety; and after the alteration of political circumstances in France he returned to America and there dragged out a miserable existence, indebted in his last illness for acts of charity to disciples of the very religion that he had opposed.”
Again we quote from McIllvaine’s Evidences:
“Paine’s first wife is said to have died by ill usage. His second was rendered so miserable by neglect and unkindness that they separated by mutual agreement. His third companion, not his wife, was the victim of his seduction while he lived upon the hospitality of her husband. Holding a place in the excise of England, Paine was dismissed for irregularity; restored and dismissed again for fraud without recovery. Unable to get employment where he was known, he came to this country, commenced as a politician, and pretended to some faith in Christianity. Congress gave him an office, from which, being soon found guilty of a breach of trust, he resigned in disgrace. The French revolution allured him to France. Habits of intoxication made him a disagreeable inmate in the American minister’s house, where out of compassion he had been received as a guest. During all this time, his life was a compound of ingratitude and perfidy of hypocrisy and avarice, of lewdness and adultery. In June, 1809, the poor creature died in this country.”
The Roman Catholic bishop Fenwick says: “A short time before Paine died I was sent for by him. He was prompted to do this by a poor Catholic woman who went to see him in his sickness and who told him if anybody could do him any good it was a Catholic priest. I was accompanied by F. Kohlmann, an intimate friend. We found him at a house in Greenwich (now Greenwich street, New York), where he lodged. A decent-looking elderly woman came to the door and inquired whether we were the Catholic priests, ‘for,’ said she, ‘Mr. Paine has been so much annoyed of late by other denominations calling upon him that he has left express orders to admit no one but the clergymen of the Catholic Church.’
Upon informing her who we were, she opened the door and showed us into the parlor… ‘Gentlemen,’ said the lady, ‘I really wish you may succeed with Mr. Paine, for he is laboring under great distress of mind ever since he was told by his physician that he cannot possibly live and must die shortly. He is truly to be pitied. His cries when left alone are heart rending. “O Lord, help me!” he will exclaim during his paroxysms of distress; “God, help me! Jesus Christ, help me!” — repeating these expressions in a tone of voice that would alarm the house.
Sometimes he will say, “O God! what have I done to suffer so much?” Then shortly after, “But there is no God”; and then again, “Yet if there should be, what would become of me hereafter?” Thus he will continue for some time, when, on a sudden, he will scream as if in terror and agony, and call for me by my name. On one occasion I inquired what he wanted. “Stay with me,” he replied, “for God’s sake! for I cannot bear to be left alone.”
I told him I could not always be in the room. “Then,” said he, “send even a child to stay with me, for it is a hell to be alone.” ‘I never saw,’ she continued, ‘a more unhappy, a more forsaken man. It seems he cannot reconcile himself to die.’ Such was the conversation of the woman, who was a Protestant, and who seemed very desirous that we should afford him some relief in a state bordering on complete despair. Having remained some time in the parlor, we at length heard a noise in the adjoining room. We proposed to enter, which was assented to by the woman, who opened the door for us.
A more wretched being in appearance I never beheld. He was lying in a bed sufficiently decent in itself, but at present besmeared with filth; his look was that of a man greatly tortured in mind, his eyes haggard, his countenance forbidding, and his whole appearance that of one whose better days had been but one continued scene of debauch. His only nourishment was milk punch, in which he indulged to the full extent of his weak state. He had partaken very recently of it, as the sides and corners of his mouth exhibited very unequivocal traces of it, as well as of blood which had also followed in the track and left its mark on the pillow.
Upon their making known the object of their visit, Paine interrupted the speaker by saying, ‘That’s enough, sir, that’s enough. I see what you would be about. I wish to hear no more from you, sir; my mind is made up on that subject. I look upon the whole of the Christian scheme to be a tissue of lies, and Jesus Christ to be nothing more than a cunning knave and impostor. Away with you, and your God, tool leave the room instantly! All that you have uttered are lies, filthy lies, and if I had a little more time I would prove it, as I did about your impostor, Jesus Christ.’ Among the last utterances that fell upon the ears of the attendants of this dying infidel, and which have been recorded in history, were the words, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'”
092 — “LOOK AT THE LITTLE CHILDREN; O MA, I MUST GO!”
Through the kindness of Mrs. T. W. Roberts, of East Nashville, Tenn., we furnish our readers with the following:
My little sister, Minnie Chatham, was born in 1861 and died in the spring of 1873, aged twelve years.
During her sickness, which lasted for two weeks, she was a great sufferer. Our father and mother were with her constantly night and day during her illness.
Minnie was always of a sweet, gentle and religious nature. She dearly loved her Sabbath school and teachers and was always present when her health would permit. Her constant prayer was, “O God, give me a new heart.” Sometimes her older friends would say to her, “Why, Minnie, you are a good little girl, you don’t need to pray for a new heart”; and she would reply, “Yes I do, there is none good, we are all sinners.”
One day during her illness, with the consent of her parents, she managed to get out of her little bed and kneel down at the foot-board on the floor. With her hands clasped and eyes lifted toward heaven, she prayed the most earnest prayer that I have ever heard. Her petitions were, “O Lord, give me a new heart,” after which she repeated the Lord’s Prayer through. She then arose, clapped her hands and said, “Oh, I am so happy!”
Returning to her bed, she lay down and was as peaceful and quiet as though she had never experienced any pain. Her mother had told her that Jesus could ease her pain, so often when she was suffering you might have seen her little hands clasped in prayer. Sometimes she would sing a verse or two of her Sunday school songs that she loved so well. She called for her Testament and Sunday school papers, which she placed under her pillow and kept there until she died.
Shortly before she breathed her last she sat up in her bed and said, “The angels have come for me, I must go! They are at the door waiting for me. Do, ma, let me go! Why do you want to keep me here in this wicked world? I would not want to stay here for anything.” And then she looked up toward heaven and continued, “Look at the little children! O ma, I must go! I would not want to do anything to displease my dear Savior.” After this she called her father to her bedside, requested him to be good and meet her in heaven and then added, “I want you all to be good.”
The next morning she said to her mother, “Now, ma, if you had let me go, I would have been with the angels this morning.”
The day before she died, she sang her favorite Sunday school song:
“There is no name so sweet on earth,
No name so sweet in heaven,
The name, before His wondrous birth,
To Christ, the Savior, given.
We love to sing around our King.
And hail Him blessed Jesus,
For there’s no word ear ever heard
So dear, so sweet as Jesus.”
Not long after this she closed her eyes and breathed her last as peacefully as though she had just fallen asleep. Her public school teacher came to see her the day after she died and as she gazed at the little silent face in the coffin she wept as though her heart would break. She said Minnie was the brightest and sweetest child she had ever met and was a perfect example for all her classes.
093 — “THEN I AM DAMNED TO ALL ETERNITY.”
Rev. Thomas Graham, the well-known evangelist, is authority for the following:
When I was holding a protracted meeting in Middlesex, Mercer county, Pa., December, 1843, a man named Edwards died under the following circumstances: He had killed his hog and was preparing the sausages. He took of the ground pepper and introduced it into the nostrils of several persons to make them sneeze. One of the company succeeded in doing so to him,