Testimonies 121 to 236
121 — THE LAST HOURS OF JOHN THORNTON, THE NOTED ENGLISH SAINT AND PHILANTHROPIST
This man of God went to heaven in the month of November, 1790.
Mr. Thornton was noted both for his piety and his liberality. We are told that he gave away in acts of love and mercy more than one-half million dollars. At his death he was not worth much more than this amount.
Rev. Henry Venn, his life long friend, says: “I have very sensibly felt the loss of my old affectionate friend, John Thornton, after an intimacy of thirty-six years, from his first receiving Christ till he took his departure with a convoy of angels to see Him who so long had been all his salvation and all his desire. Few of the followers of the Lamb, it may be very truly said, have ever done more to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help all that suffer adversity and to spread the savor of the knowledge of Christ crucified!”
On visiting the children of Mr. Thornton, he says: “I rejoice I am come to see the children of my dear departed friend, John Thornton, and to hear of his life, acts of love, and death; many particulars of which I could not have heard at home. Some of these I send you now, which I received from the nurse who attended him. She said, ‘To see the sons, the day before he died, weeping tears of grief and love, and to hear the dying saint affectionately exhort and press each to hold fast the faith and to lead. the life of a Christian, was to the last degree affecting. They asked him whether he was now happy. “Yes,” said he, “happy in Jesus; all things are as well as they can be!” And the last words he was able to articulate were, “Precious, precious — ” Jesus would have been added, but his breath failed.'”
122 — “O GLORY! O GLORY!! O GLORY!!!”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!”
Mrs. Susan C. Kirtland, my mother’s sister, first saw the light of this world in Gilbert’s Mills, Oswego Co., New York, May 18,1822. She gave her heart to God at an early age, during a revival held in the Free Will Baptist Church near her home, and though her life was one of much privation and disappointment, in the midst of its trials she lived a cheerful, devoted Christian, well described by the motto she so often expressed in words, “It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.”
She was translated “from glory to glory,” April 3, 1864, while visiting at our home in Burr Oak, Michigan, after a very painful illness of only one week.
Even upon that sick-bed she found opportunities to work and speak for Jesus. Though at that time I was less than four years old, I distinctly remember how, while lying upon that bed of suffering, she taught me that beautiful verse, “I love them that love Me; and they that seek Me early shall find Me,” carefully explaining the meaning of the words and lovingly pressing home the lesson to my heart.
And we have often heard mother speak of her heavenly conversation during those days when neither of them knew that her death was near.
As soon as it was known that she was dangerously ill, her brother, an able physician, was summoned from a distance, but too late for human power to save. A few hours before her death she knew from mother’s manner that something troubled her and asked what was the matter. With much feeling mother said to her, “Susan, we fear your stay with us is very short.”
Calmly she replied, “Well, if it be so, I don’t know when I could have had a better time to leave this stage of action!”
Two of her four children were with her. While they stood weeping by her bedside, she tenderly and earnestly exhorted them to live for God and meet her in heaven, and by them sent loving messages to the absent ones. Then she bade good-bye to all the friends who were present. No other preparation was needed. She was ready to go. Nor was she left to journey alone. There was to her no dark valley — no gloom. As the circle of those who loved her so dearly watched around her bed, her face suddenly lighted up with indescribable joy. She had evidently caught sight of things hidden from their eyes. Still looking upward and eagerly raising both hands, she exclaimed in a voice of holy triumph which no words can describe., “O glory: O glory!! O glory!!!” and was gone, having entered upon the “inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away!” — Mrs. Etta E. Sadler Shaw.
123 — CARDINAL BORGIA — “I AM TO DIE, ALTHOUGH ENTIRELY UNPREPARED.”
Czsar Borgia, a natural son of Pope Alexander VI, was a man of such conduct and character that Machiavel has thought fit to propose him, in his famous book called The Prince, as an original and pattern to all princes who would act the part of wise and politic tyrants. He was made a cardinal, but as this office imposed some restraints upon him, he soon determined to resign it that he might have the greater scope for practicing the excesses to which his natural ambition and cruelty prompted him, for cruel, as well as ambitious, he was in the highest degree.
After this he was made Duke of Valentinois by Louis XII of France. He experienced a variety of fortune, but displayed on every occasion the most consummate dexterity and finesse and seemed prepared for all events. The reflections he made a short time before his death (which happened in the year 1507) show, however, that his policy was confined to the concerns of this life and that he had not acted upon that wise and enlarged view of things which becomes a being destined for immortality. “I had provided,” said he, “in the course of my life, for every thing except death, and now, alas! I am to die, although entirely unprepared.” — Power of Religion.
124 — LAST WORDS OF REV. WILLIAM WATTS — “ALL IS WELL; ALL IS WELL.”
Rev. E. Ray, of Fredericktown, Missouri, writes as follows:
I was called last Sunday to preach the funeral services of this brother and received this testimony from his wife.
Bro. Watts had preached the gospel for forty-five years as a Methodist preacher in good standing in his church, and died in the faith, April 30, 1898. He was reared in Bollinger county, and at the time of his death was nearly seventy years old, and therefore one of the pioneers in preaching the gospel here in our great state.
I have proclaimed the gospel for nearly thirty years, and during that time have preached many a funeral sermon, but remember none where I have seen such joy as on this occasion. There were many of his friends present to hear the sermon to his memory. As on the Day of Pentecost, the power fell on all of the people present, melting all hearts.
Bro. Watts suffered greatly during the first of his illness, but during his last days on earth, while the outward man grew weaker and perished, the inward man grew stronger day by day. The last day seemed a golden sunset indeed, or rather the Son of Righteousness arose with healing in His wings, and he passed away in a flood of glory, with peace on earth and good will toward men.
He said to his wife frequently, “I am in a revival of religion.”
Sister Watts told me that the last day he lived on earth he sang, alone,
“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord!
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word.”
He died at three o’clock in the morning, and shortly before he passed away he said, “All is well, all is well.”
As Sister Watts felt very keenly her loss, she said to him, “I want to go with you.”
“No,” he replied, you must wait.” And thus sweetly passed the life away, calm as a May morning, his feet placed firmly on the Rock of Ages. “How firm a foundation.”
125 — “O, I CAN SEE THE ANGELS ALL IN THE ROOM; CAN’T YOU SEE THEM?”
We are thankful for this glorious experience sent us by Mrs. Anna Crowson, of China Spring, Texas. She says:
My sainted mother’s death was one of triumph and great victory. She was a great worker in the vineyard of the Lord. She was a woman of great faith and made the Bible her constant study. Some years before her death she found that she could be established in the faith, and went to God in earnest prayer, making an entire consecration, and by faith was enabled to take Christ as a complete Savior. She knew the blood of Jesus cleansed her from all sin. From that time she lived in an ocean of God’s love and was kept from all sin by the power of God through faith.
It was mother’s custom to always attend church, and one Sabbath morning while preparing for the same she took a chill and was obliged to go to bed. She said from that time on until her death that she knew she was going to die. She remarked to her eldest daughter, “I have been looking for something to happen for a long time to bring father back to Jesus, but thought He was going to take Samuel” (their eldest boy). It seemed that the Lord had revealed to her that she must die, as it was the only means that would cause father to come back to the fold.
Among others, she exhorted my father to give his heart to God and said, “I am going to heaven, meet me there.”
He had great faith in her prayers, and he begged her to pray for God to spare her life, saying, “I cannot live without you and raise the children alone!” But with a heavenly smile upon her face and with faith unwavering she said, “God will take care of you and my children; weep not for me, I am going to glory! Husband, never touch liquor any more!” He promised her he would not.
She exhorted us all to meet her in heaven. Then she shouted aloud and praised God and said, “Oh, I can see the angels all in the room. Can’t you see them?” Then, at her request, we sang, “I saw a wayworn traveler,” and, “Oh come, angel band,” and she joined with us, and while singing the last song her spirit went home to God.
From the time of mother’s death our father kept his vow. He erected a family altar and taught, us six children, by example and precept, to trust in our mother’s God and meet her in heaven. He was a devoted Christian from that time on. Every night and morning he would take us to God in prayer around the family altar, and five years after mother’s death he too died in the triumphs of faith and went to heaven.
126 — THE ATHEIST, HOBBES — I AM ABOUT TO TAKE A LEAP IN THE DARK.”
Thomas Hobbes was born at Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, England, April 5, 1588; died at Hardwick. Hall, in Devonshire, December 4, 1679. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and spent the first part of his life, up to 1637, as tutor in various noble families, often traveling on the Continent with his pupils, and the last, after 1637, in a comprehensive and vigorous literary activity, first in Paris (1641-52), then in London, or in the country with the Hardwick family. . . .
The philosophical standpoint of Hobbes may be described as an application to the study of man of the method and principles of the study of nature; and the results of this process were a psychology and a morals utterly antagonistic, not only to Christianity, but to religion in general. On account of the merely preliminary stage which the science of nature had reached in the time of Hobbes, his conception is premature; but he carried it out with great vigor; and it happens, not infrequently, that the materialistic psychology and utilitarian morals of to-day return to his writings and adopt some modification of his paradoxes. — Encyclopedia Britannica.
We take the following from Guide to the Oracles: When the atheist, Hobbes, drew near to death, he declared, “I am about to take a leap in the dark,” and the last sensible words that he uttered were, “I shall be glad to find a hole to creep out of the world at.”
127 — “OH! SEEK TO SERVE GOD AND TO FIND THE GATE OF HEAVEN.”
A mother who denied Christ and sneered at religion came to her dying bed. Looking up from her restless pillow on the group of weeping sons and daughters gathered at her bedside, she said, “My children, I have been leading you on the wrong road all of your lives. I now find the broad road leads on to destruction; I did not believe it before. Oh! seek to serve God and to find the gate of heaven, though you may never meet your mother there.” So, in clouds and darkness, set her sun of life. — Sent us by Dr. L. B. Balliett, of Allentown, Penn.
128 — “WHY, HEAVEN HAS COME DOWN TO EARTH. SEE THE ANGELS. THEY ARE FLYING THROUGH THE HOUSE.”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Co-worker with Dr. Redfield and the glorious little band of early Free Methodists, was the Rev. William Kendall. The closing scenes of his life were so blessed that we give them a place here:
He revived on Sabbath, and was very happy, his face radiant with glory. He said, “This is the most blessed Sabbath I ever knew.”
The next day he had a severe conflict with Satan, but gained a glorious victory. He said, “Jesus, the mighty Conqueror, reigns!”
The next day he exclaimed, “Why, heaven has come down to earth. I see the angels. They are flying through the house!”
After a little sleep, on waking, he exclaimed, “I have seen the King in his beauty — King of glory; have slept in His palace! I was intimate with the angels — O so intimate with the angels!” For a while he was delirious.
Again he had a conflict with the powers of darkness, but quickly triumphed, and exclaimed with a smile, “I can grapple with the grim monster, death.”
On the Sabbath he was thought to be dying. His wife had her ear to his lips, as he lay gazing upward and waving his arms, as though fluttering to be gone, and heard him breathe, “Hail! hail! all hail!”
“What do you see?”
He replied, “I see light! light! light! I see — ” and, pausing in silence a while, he suddenly broke out in a clear, though somewhat faltering tone:
“Hallelujah to the Lamb who hath purchased our pardon! We’ll praise Him again when we pass over Jordan.”
One asked, “Is all well?” He replied, with ineffable sweetness, three times, “All is Well!”
The chill of death came on soon, and pointed to his speedy relief. Once more he revived and sang very sweetly:
“O how happy are they, who their Savior obey.”
“My soul’s full of glory,
Inspiring my tongue;
Could I meet with the angels,
I’d sing them a song,” etc.
A few more struggles of nature, and the silver cord loosened, and the warrior fell to rise immortal, February 1, 1858. — Wayside Sketches.
129 — “I AM GOING TO HELL!”
A preacher in the west sends us the sad account of his grandfather’s death. He says:
“The last words of my grandfather, Mr. S____. He had been sick for a long time and had always been an unsaved man. He spent three years on the plains with the noted Indian scout, Kit Karson.
“During the last three months of his life, he would often send for me to talk with him on the subject of religion, but when pressed to seek the Lord at once, he would say, ‘I have got along so long, I think I will wait a while longer.’
“He died July 3, 1883. Almost (if not) the last words he uttered were these: ‘I am going to hell.’
Awfully sad. Fearfully true.”
How sad that many put off the most important duty of this life until it is too late, forever too late.
130 — HUGH LATIMER’S LAST WORDS WERE: “O FATHER OF HEAVEN, RECEIVE MY SOUL.”
Hugh Latimer, one of the most influential preachers, heroic martyrs and foremost leaders of the English reformation, was born at Thurcaston, Leicestershire, in 1490 or 1491, died at the stake in Oxford, October 16, 1555. We take the following from Life Stories of Remarkable Preachers:
Under the reign of Mary, Latimer, was committed to the Tower as a “seditious fellow.” To the Tower Ridley and Cranmer were also sent; and in March of that year all three were brought before the Queen’s commissioners at Oxford, condemned for heresy, and sent back into confinement. Eighteen months later Latimer and Ridley were brought down to Oxford to be burned. When stripped for execution Latimer had on a new long shroud. They embraced each other at the stake and knelt and prayed and kissed the stake.
There stood this withered old man, quite erect and perfectly happy, with a bag of powder tied around his neck. Just as the fire to consume them was lighted, Latimer addressed his fellow-sufferer in the memorable words, “Be of good comfort, Brother Ridley, and play the man; we shall light such a candle in England to-day as will never go out!”
As the flames leaped up he cried vehemently, “O Father of heaven, receive my soul!” He seemed to embrace the flames. Having stroked his face, he bathed his hands in the fire and quickly died.
The amount paid by Queen Mary for lighting that fire was 1 pound 5s. 2d. To popery that fire was the costliest ever kindled. To England, thank God, it was the light of religious liberty, the candle of the reformation, which popes, priests and devils have never been able to blow out, and never will.
131 — “I AM LOST. I HAVE SOLD MY SOUL TO THE DEVIL FOR DRESS.”
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M, D., of Allentown, Penn., we furnish our readers with this sad experience:
A missionary of New York City relates the sad experience of a dying woman, the wife of a wealthy man, who, when told by her physician that she could not live an hour longer, exclaimed with great consternation, “If I cannot live an hour longer I am lost. I have sold my soul to the devil for dress! Pray for me, oh pray for me! All who can pray, do pray!” Uttering these words the damp of death came over her and her voice was silenced forever.
“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2.)
132 — “COME ON, I AM READY TO GO.”
In the year 1847, during a powerful revival, my sister, Filura Clark, then nineteen years of age, and myself, two years younger, were saved and found great peace with God. What happy times we had together, living for the Lord, while other young people went after the things of the world! Her loving instruction and devotion to God were not fully comprehended until after she was gone.
My dear sister was taken very ill and only lived a few days. O, how hard it was to part with her! It seemed as though my heart would break, the blow was so great; but; oh! what a blessed, happy death was hers. It was not death to her; she did not think of death, but heaven and eternal life with Jesus was all her theme as the moments sped along.
She called us one by one to her bedside, took our hands and bade us good-bye, and begged us all to meet her in heaven.
After she had bidden her relatives farewell, she said to her physician, “Now, doctor, you come.” And she bade him good-bye and requested him to meet her in heaven. He was overcome by the affecting scene.
As we stood by her bedside weeping she said to us, “Don’t weep for me. Jesus is with me, I will not have to go alone!” After she had finished speaking, she looked up as though she saw someone waiting for her, and said, “Come on, I am ready to go.” She wanted to go; her work on earth was done.
Her death had a wonderful influence in the community, especially upon the young people. Many turned to the Lord and said, “Let me die such a death as hers.” And what a blessing her death has been to me in my past life! How it has strengthened me and helped me to live according to the blessed truths of the Bible! When trials and temptations have arisen, her dying testimony has been the means of bringing my soul nearer to the Lord than it ever had been before. Praise the Lord! — Written for this book by Mrs. Wealthy L. Harter, Fort Wayne, Ind.
133 — “O, IT IS TOO LATE NOW; THERE IS NO HOPE FOR ME!”
Some years ago I was laboring as an evangelist in the town of M____, and during the meetings there was much conviction by the power of the Holy Ghost. Among others that were wrought upon was a young girl of about seventeen years. All through the meetings the Holy Ghost strove with her, and I talked with her at different times, but she resisted.
The last evening of the services I went to her side. Again she stood weeping and trembling. I urged her to seek God. She said, “O, I cannot, I cannot!”
I replied, “Yes, leave your young friends and come.”
She still said, “O, I cannot, I cannot!” Afterward she said that the young people would have laughed at her had she gone. She left the house in this condition, went to her boarding place (she was boarding and attending school) and made the remark that she did not come to get religion, she came to get an education. She could attend to religion afterward at any time.
She retired for the night, but was taken violently ill and continued to grow worse for one week, and then passed into eternity. She said to those of her young associates who came to see her, “Oh! I ought to have sought the Lord in that meeting.”
I was with her the last day and before she died I tried to point her to the Lamb of God, but her agonizing reply again and again was (calling me by name), “It is too late now. O, it is too late now! There is no help for me!” and so passed into eternity. — Written for this book by Julia E. Strait, Portlandville, N. Y.
134 — CARDINAL MAZARINE — OH! MY POOR SOUL! WHAT WILL BECOME OF THEE? WHITHER WILT THOU GO?”
Julius Mazarine, a famous cardinal, and prime minister of France, was born in the kingdom of Naples in the year 1602. The greatness of his abilities was conspicuous, even in his early years; and he had the advantage of being instructed by a very able tutor. He studied the interests of the various states in Italy, and of the kingdoms of France and Spain, and became profoundly skilled in politics. It was through the influence of Cardinal Richelieu that he was introduced into the French cabinet. That cardinal made him one of the executors of his will, and during the minority of Louis XIV he had the charge of public affairs.
His high station and great abilities excited the envy of the nobility of France, and this occasioned a civil war that continued several years. Mazarine was at last forced to retire; a price was set on his head, and even his fine library was sold. But this disgrace did not long continue. Mazarine returned to the court with more honor than he had ever enjoyed, and conducted the affairs of the kingdom with so much ability and success that he obtained the French king’s most unreserved confidence. He possessed, in an eminent degree, the power of discovering the dispositions and views of men, and of assuming a character adapted to circumstances.
He was a man of great ambition, and pursued with ardor the chase of worldly honors. But, a short time before his death, he perceived the vanity of his pursuit, and lamented the misapplication of his time and talents. He was greatly affected with the prospect of his dissolution and the uncertainty of his future condition. This made him cry out, “Oh, my poor soul! what will become of thee? Whither wilt thou go?”
To the queen dowager of France, who came to visit him in his illness, and who had been his friend at court, he expressed himself in these terms: “Madam, your favors have undone me. Were I to live again I would be a capuchin rather than a courtier.” — Power of Religion
135 — “WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER, I’LL BE THERE; YES, AND BROTHER, TOO.”
While Mrs. Anna Rounds lay on her death-bed (as was supposed) in Indianapolis, Indiana, she was greatly burdened for the conversion of her brother, John W. Jenkins, who lived at Gano, Illinois. He had been the subject of her prayers for many years, and she could not die without seeing him saved. The doctor gave her no hope of her recovery, but she prayed fervently to God to spare her life, so that she might go and see her brother and deliver her last message before she died.
She began at once to improve, and was soon on her way to her brother’s house. As soon as she reached the place she sent for us, as pastor of the Methodist Church, to call at her room. We hurried to the place and found her on her dying bed. She told us of her desire to see her brother converted, and how God had answered her prayer in enabling her to come to him. After prayer with her we went into the next room and spoke a few words to her brother, and urged him to take the advice of his dying sister and meet her in heaven.
He was overcome with emotion, and got down on his knees and plead with God for mercy. He soon found deliverance. He was made a new creature in Christ. With a joyful heart he went to the room where his sister was dying, and said, “God bless you, sister Anna, your prayers have been answered. I am a child of God. You are now going away from me and I will meet you in heaven.”
Then kneeling by the side of his sister, he thanked God for all of His mercies, and prayed for the departing loved one. Death had laid his cold hand upon her, and she was rapidly passing away. Her face was lit up with a heavenly brightness, and she joined with her brother and friends and sang:
“When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”
Adding, as they sang, “Yes, and brother, too will be there.” The burden of her heart had rolled away — she felt that her work was done, and, looking into the face of God a few moments after, she was translated to heaven. — Written for this book by Rev. Clifton P. Pledger, Chicago, Ill.
A few weeks ago we preached for Bro. Pledger at Kensington M. E. Church, where Bro. Jenkins has been an active member for some time. We referred to the above touching incident, and mentioned how Bro. Jenkins had been saved through the influence of his dying sister. His heart was melted, and when we gave the invitation to come to the altar for the fullness of God, he, among others, came forward, and wrestled with God until he was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and shouted for joy. — Editor.
136 — “JESUS, HAVE MERCY ON FATHER,” WAS LITTLE MARY’S DYING PRAYER.
In a shanty on First Avenue, New York City, little Mary B____ lay dying. Suddenly she turned toward her mother and said, “Mother, I am dying, but I am not afraid.”
“Not afraid to die?” said her unchristian mother. “Oh, it is awful to die!”
Little Mary replied, “Not when you have Jesus with you, mother. O mother, you must love my Savior!” pleaded this little angel.
At the bedside, on bended knees, was the drunken father. On his head rested the hand of his little daughter, as she repeated three times, at intervals, “Jesus, have mercy on father.”
Shortly afterwards she was numbered with the angel choir in heaven, and three months after her death both of her parents were converted, and from that time led Christian lives. — Written for this book by Rev. L. B. Balliett, M.D., of Allentown, Penn.
137 — “MY GOD, MY GOD, MY DOOM IS SEALED! I AM LOST, LOST, LOST!
Through the kindness of Rev. N. L. Stambaugh, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, we furnish our readers with the following sad experience:
In the year 1886, while the writer was at Crawfordsville, Indiana, working in revival meetings, there was a certain young man present at the meetings who was under deep conviction. He would sit in his seat and tremble, while tears would roll down his cheeks. I plead with him night after night, but he would not yield.
One evening (the last night that he was there) I plead with him more earnestly than on previous occasions, for somehow I was impressed with the feeling that some thing would happen to this young man if he did not repent that evening; but still he would not yield to my entreaties. I went home with the solemnity of death resting upon me.
Next morning at about three o’clock there was a loud rap at my door. I went to the door, and there stood a young man before me, who requested me to go over to such a street and such a number as quickly as possible, as there was a young man there dying who wanted to see me.
I hastened as quickly as possible to the address given, and there I found the same young man that I had plead with the evening before, dying.
He looked at me, and said, “Oh, if I had just settled it last evening. Oh, if I would only have yielded — if only I would have got saved.”
I said to him, “There may be hope for you yet.”
He began to shake his head and say, “No, no; I am suffering too much pain now to pray.”
I tried to point him to the Savior, but it was of no avail. In a few minutes he began to cry out, “My God, my God, my doom is sealed! I am lost, lost, lost!! I am going to hell!!!” and then drew his last breath. That awful scene I can never forget.
138 — JOHN OXTOBY’S WONDERFUL REVELATION AND UNSPEAKABLE JOY AT DEATH.
This holy and powerful man of God was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1762. He was soundly converted to God in 1804 after having spent many years of his life in sin. He soon commenced to preach the gospel as a Methodist preacher and wherever he went the revival flame was kindled, and thousands of precious souls were converted to God.
His biographer, Harvey Leigh, thus depicts the character of this holy man:
“His most usual theme in the pulpit was faith. He had such a faculty of accommodating and reducing his expressions, relative to this important grace, to the apprehension of the lowest capacity, that every one was enabled to profit considerably under him if at all attentive to him.
“But that which gave lasting effect to all his labors in the Lord’s vineyard was the uncommon power of the Spirit which attended his word. Seldom or never did he open his mouth either in preaching, praying or personal conversation, but such an unction attended his words that those addressed by him usually felt its force. Not infrequently have numbers fallen under his preaching and prayers, and apparently under the most striking apprehensions of their sin and danger, they have cried out for mercy. Others who have with great difficulty escaped home have been obliged to send for him or others to pray for them before they dared attempt to sleep; and, strange as it may seem, some have fallen down on their way home, and others at their work, from the effects of his preaching and prayers.
“Thus, while he had no superior mental capabilities for the pulpit, he was attended with the most powerful influences of the Holy Spirit; and this made him, in the absence of other qualifications, an able minister of the New Testament. But, while he did not shine in the things to which we have referred, he did excel in the strength and constancy of his faith, which was singularly strong. Perhaps in this he was second to none. He was a genuine son of Abraham; for he did not stagger at the promises, but credited them with a confidence unshaken, and which gave glory to God.
“John Oxtoby is now regarded as one of the great men of Methodism. During the whole of the affliction which hastened his death he had the most glorious displays of the divine favor; he received such a baptism of the Holy Ghost that his soul was filled with peace and joy unutterable. Amidst the sinking of mortality, the sorrowing of his friends and his near approach to eternity, he possessed the most steady and serene confidence, and approached the vale of death as if
“Prayer was all his business.
And all his pleasure, praise.”
A little while before his departure he mentioned the names of several persons with whom he had been familiarly acquainted and said, “Tell them that strong as my faith has been, and great as have been my comforts while among them during the years of my life, yet all the former manifestations which I have had are nothing compared with those which I now feel.”
To his sister he said, “O, what have I beheld! Such a sight as I cannot possibly describe. There were three shining forms stood beside me, whose garments were so bright, and whose countenances were so glorious, that I never saw anything to compare with them before.”
His dying prayer was, “Lord, save souls; do not let them perish.” Shortly after, he shouted in holy triumph, “Glory, glory, glory!” and immediately soared on high, November 29, 1829. — Shining Lights.
139 — NO HAPPINESS IN THE MOHAMMEDAN RELIGION; CALIPH ABD-ER-RHAMAN IS WITNESS
This great caliph, the third of his name, who was distinguished for his patronage of learning and the arts, and who raised the Moslem empire in Spain to its highest point, was born in 888 and died in 961.
The testimony of this ungodly successor of Mohammed at the end of his career shows how neither the possessions of earth nor the teachings of the Mohammedan religion had power to satisfy a human soul. His words were: “Fifty years have passed since first I was caliph. Riches, honors, pleasures, I have enjoyed all. In this long period of seeming happiness I have numbered the days on which I have been happy. They amount to fourteen.”
140 — “OH, HE IS COMING, HE IS COMING! JESUS, COME AND TAKE ME NOW!”
Sister Nannie Belle Gilkey was born in Pennsylvania, Sept. 21, 1877. and died at Harvey, Illinois, July 18, 1897. She was one of God’s own afflicted children, who suffered for some time with that dread disease, consumption. During the intense suffering which she passed through toward the close of her life she manifested a sweet spirit of patience. Her circumstances being so adverse, much grace was needed, and she proved the truthfulness of the promise, “As the day, so shalt thy strength be.”
When Jesus came for Nannie he found her waiting and willing to go with Him. For three days before her death she knew that her time in this world was short. During the day that she died she was very happy, singing several times in the afternoon,
“Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.”
“I am so happy in Jesus,
From sin and from sorrow so free.”
Once she said, “Jesus is so near. Do you not feel that He is near, mamma?”
At times her suffering was intense. She said, “O, what shall I do!” and when told to look to Jesus, He was the only one who could help her, she looked up and said, “Yes, Lord!” And Jesus came so near that she exclaimed, “O, He is coming, He is coming! O, Jesus, come and take me now — I am ready.” A few minutes before she left us she waved her hand and said, “Good-bye all,” and she went to be forever with the Lord. — Written for this work by Sadie A. Cryer, of Rockford, Ill.
141 — LAST WORDS OF THE VENERABLE BEDE
This eminent saint of God was born in 674. He was noted as a theologian and historian. He furnished an early political and ecclesiastical history of England, of great value. In St. Paul’s Church is to be seen, chair which belonged to him. He was buried there in the year of our Lord 735, in the sixty-first year of his age.
The evening of his death he spent in finishing the translation into the Saxon from the Latin, of the Gospel of St. John.
The last words he uttered before he expired were, “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.”
142 — “I AM AS MUCH LOST AS THOUGH I WERE IN HELL.”
Through the kindness of Mrs. H. A. Coon, we publish the following”
Mother Hart and I were sent for to visit this neighbor. We found him in terrible distress of soul, pacing the floor and groaning. I said to him, “Mr. C____, we have come to help you, if that is your desire.”
He replied, “I know it; you are all right, but it is too late. I attended your meetings two years ago. The Spirit said to me, ‘Hurry! Go to the altar! Plead with God for mercy!’ I could scarcely sit on the seat. I had been a class leader in the east. I came to Marengo — have been under deep conviction, but would not yield. The Spirit left me, and I am as much lost as though I were in hell already. I feel the fire is kindled here (striking upon his breast). It is too late; I am going to hell, and my sons with me.” He lived two weeks.
It was a place of darkness and devils until he died.
143 — POINTING ABOVE, JERRY MCAULEY SAID, “IT IS ALL RIGHT!”
Many of our readers have no doubt heard of Jerry McAuley and his rescue mission work in the great city of New York. He was a brand plucked from the burning.
He was born in Ireland, and came to New York when thirteen years old, where for a number of years he was by profession a “river thief,” stealing goods from vessels by night; and plunging into sin of every form without restraint. He grew up to be a prize fighter and highway robber.
In the midst of his crimes he was arrested, convicted, and sent to states prison, where after a few years he was powerfully converted to God, and commenced to preach Christianity to the other prisoners. Through his instrumentality many were converted. After serving out half of his time he was pardoned out of prison, and continued his work for God in the slums of New York. Thousands of criminals have been saved through his influence, and some have become evangelistic workers.
We are personally acquainted with his successor, Col. C. H. Haddley, now in charge of the great McAuley Mission in New York, where a successful work is being accomplished. Bro. Haddley was as low down in sin as McAuley, and is one of his converts.
McAuley died in New York, Sept. 18, 1884. Just before being transferred to heaven, arousing himself, he pointed above and said, “It is all right,” then sank back and died.
144 — “I HEAR THE ANGELS SINGING AROUND MY BED!”
Through the kindness of Julia E. Strait, of Portlandville, N. Y., we furnish our readers with the following:
In the spring of 1895, in the town of Worcester, N. Y., an aged lady left the shores of time. She had suffered much during a long illness, but she proved the grace of God sufficient, and was kept by the power of God from complaining.
During the last three days of her life, while suffering untold distress and pain, she exhorted those of her children and neighbors who came to her bedside to prepare to meet their God. When they wept, she said to them, “O do not weep, this suffering wilt soon be over! I hear the angels singing around my bed! This poor body will soon be at rest!” and so she passed into the rest that remains for the people of God.
145 — BISHOP BEDELL’S LAST WORDS WERE — “I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH.”
History tells us that Bishop William Bedell was one of the best Prelates that ever adorned the English Church.
He was born at Black, Notley, Essex, in 1570. In 1604 he accompanied Sir Henry Walton as his chaplain to Venice. While residing here he translated the English book of Common Prayer into Italian.
In 1627 he was elected Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and at the end of two years he was promoted to the united Bishoprics of Killmore and Ardagh. The translation of the old testament into Irish was accomplished under his direction. (The new had already been translated.)
When he came to die in 1642 he said, “I have finished my ministry and life together; I have kept the faith, ‘and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.'”
146 — “GO ON, ANGELS, I AM COMING. GO ON, ANGELS, I AM COMING.”
Through the kindness of Rev. N. L. Stambaugh, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, we furnish our readers with this triumphant translation:
In the year 1895, while I was traveling a circuit at Elkhart, Ind., in September, Anthony Foster Herman, one of my members, also class leader, aged eighteen years, was taken ill with typhoid fever. His illness was of short duration, but his suffering during that time was untold. He was never heard to murmur nor complain. After one of his paroxysms of pain he exclaimed. “O God, Thou hast suffered more than this for me, I’ll gladly suffer all for Thee.”
The writer had the privilege of standing by his side the last night, and until his death. I said to him, “Bro. Foster, how is it with your soul?”
He answered, “Bro. Stambaugh, there isn’t a cloud or trial to mar my peace with God. All is well.”
As the end was drawing near he called for a glass of spring water, and after drinking it he said, “That is good, but I have better water than that — the water of everlasting life is springing up in my soul.”
A few minutes later his face lit up with glory; then he looked at me and said, “Bro. Stambaugh, do you know what I was thinking about? ….”
“No. What is it, Bro. Foster?”
He replied, “This house that I live in (at the same time raising up his hands and pointing to his body) is almost gone; it is just about ready to fail to pieces,” then added, “but Glory to God, (with a voice with the ring of heaven in it) I see the new house, the mansion, and oh, how beautiful! Just see what a glorious mansion! Oh, I am so anxious to go. Yes, they are getting ready to come to me — I am going shortly.”
A little later he threw up his hand, waved it, and said, “Go on angels, I am coming! Go on angels, I am coming!” and took the wings of the morning and flew away to be with Jesus.
147 — JOHN DONNE, A FAMOUS BRITISH POET AND PREACHER
John Donne, D. D., a famous British poet and preacher, was born in 1573.
For several years he was secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, and in later years he was ordained as a preacher of the Gospel. Immediately after ordination he was appointed royal chaplain, and in 1620 Dean of St. Paul’s. In 1630 he preached his last sermon, which was afterwards published under the title of Death’s Duel.
He died March 31, 1631. Although he was the author of many books, and a great theologian, and noted for his piety, yet when he came to die he said, “I repent of all my life except that part of it which I have spent in communion with God, and in doing good.”
148 — CARDINAL BEAUFORT — “WILL NOT MY RICHES SAVE ME?”
Henry Beaufort, Cardinal and Bishop of Winchester, was born about 1370. He was a half-brother to King Henry IV. He was educated in England and Germany, and in 1404 became Bishop of Winchester. He was present at the Council of Constance, and voted for the election of Pope Martin V., by whom he was subsequently made a cardinal. In 1431 Beaufort conducted the young king, Henry VI., to France, to be crowned in Paris as King of France and England. Here he also endeavored, but vainly, to reconcile the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, with the offended Duke of Burgundy.
He died at Winchester in 1447. His memory is stained by his suspected participation in the murder of the Earl of Gloucester and of the Maid of Orleans.
His last words were: “And must I then die? Will not my riches save me? I could purchase the kingdom, if that would prolong my life. Alas! there is no bribing death!”
149 — THE EARL OF ROCHESTER — “I SHALL NOW DIE”
The Earl of Rochester (John Wilmot), a noted courtier and versifier, was born in 1647. His wit and love of pleasure made him the favorite of a dissolute court, but his nature before he died was greatly changed; he was born again, and made a new creature in Christ.
He died in 1680, only thirty-three years of age. As he neared the shores of eternity he said, “I shall now die, but O, what unspeakable glories do I see; what joy beyond thought or expression am I sensible of; I am assured of God’s mercy to me through Jesus Christ. O, how I long to die and be with my Savior!”
150 — AWFUL CALAMITY THAT BEFELL A YOUNG LADY WHO OFFERED A MOCK PRAYER.
Rev. Thomas Graham, the noted revivalist preacher of the Erie Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, relates the following sad experience:
When stationed in Fredonia, a girl who lived about three miles from that place, toward Sheridan, and had been awakened at a meeting held in the village by me, but who refused to seek religion, went to a ball on Wednesday, being the evening following, and, being bantered about her religious feelings, to prove to the contrary, took a cloak, and throwing it down in the middle of the floor called it her “mourner’s bench,” then, taking the hand of a young man, kneeled down by it and offered a mock prayer. That very moment she was struck crazy. Her friends got her into a sleigh and hurried home with her. A physician was sent for immediately, but it was of no use. She died, crazy, on Friday evening, about the same hour of the day. She had not one lucid moment until she died. It was emphatically her “mourner’s bench.” Her lifeless remains were carried to the grave the following Sunday in Fredonia, followed by her friends, who would not be comforted.
151 — JEREMIAH EVERTS — “O, WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! GLORY! JESUS REIGNETH!”
This American author and editor was corresponding secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions.
He was born in Vermont in 1781, and died in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1831, at the age of fifty years. In his last moments he exclaimed, “O, wonderful! wonderful! wonderful! Glory that cannot be comprehended! Wonderful glory! I will praise Him! I will praise Him! Wonderful glory! Jesus reigneth!”
152 — “IF THIS IS DEATH, LET ME ALWAYS BE DYING.”
Mrs. H. A. Coon, of Marengo, IlL, sends us the following:
Mrs. Eliza Lamphare, my eldest sister, died thirty-one years ago, leaving her baby girl to me. She suffered twenty-five years with rheumatic consumption. She was converted in our home fifteen years before her death. On the day of her death, before she passed away, she said to her family, “I am going to heaven!” She sent for her pastor and neighbors and told them of her joy at the thought of so soon seeing Jesus. She said, “If this is death, let me always be dying.” And, although she had not had her voice for six weeks, sweetly sang,
“‘What’s this that steals, that steals upon my frame.
Is it death — is it death?”
And, coming to the verse,
“Bright angels are from glory come,
They’re round my bed, they’re in my room;
They wait to waft my spirit home,
All is well!”
She exhorted all to be faithful and meet her in heaven. She sent messages of love to me, committing her little one to my trust. With her face lighted up with a heavenly radiance, she waved her hands and shouted, “Victory, and glory,” until her spirit had departed.
153 — “JESUS HEARS ME! WHY, THE ANGELS ARE AROUND ME!”
A great many readers have but very little conception of true prayer. They excuse themselves when invited to pray in public by saying, “I am not gifted in that way; I am not educated.” They regard the opinions of men and the face of clay more than they do the will of God. They fail to realize that true prayer is the desire of the heart, uttered or unexpressed.
We have a beautiful example in a dying young man: He was so concerned about his relation to God that he lost sight of his surroundings and the people who stood by him. “I cannot make a very smooth prayer,” he said, “but Jesus hears me. Why, the angels are around me; if you could see them as I do you would be glad, too. Jesus hears me.”
When God lends a listening ear and regards our cry, every voice should be hushed and every excuse banished. Nothing should interrupt or hinder our communion with God; and if we abandon ourselves to His will, He will see that our fellowship and prayer is unhindered, for “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
154 — REV. DAVID NELSON — “MY MASTER CALLS, I AM GOING HOME; IT IS WELL.”
This noted Presbyterian clergyman was born near Jonesborough, Tennessee, Sept. 24, 1793.
In 1810 he graduated at Washington College, Virginia, and for some years practiced medicine, and was surgeon in the United States army, during which time he became an infidel; but in the providence of God he was brought under conviction and saved from a refuge of lies. He was made a new creature in Christ, and licensed to preach in the spring of 1825.
After working for the Lord for five years in Tennessee and Kentucky, he went to Missouri and established Marion College, and was its first president, filling that position for six years.
In 1836 he opened a training school for missionaries, and wrote that widely circulated book, Cause and Cure of Infidelity.
He died in 1844. His last words were, “My Master calls, I am going home. It is well.”
155 — “MY PEACE IS MADE WITH GOD! I AM FILLED WITH LOVE!”
My dear father, William H. Whitford, was taken with a severe hemorrhage of the lungs on April 9, 1898, from which he gradually failed in strength, and died a few days after. He was a devoted Christian, and as long as he was able to speak he would say, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
Father suffered from a complication of diseases which often caused him severe pain, and when suffering he would often go to God in prayer and secure relief and get richly blessed in his soul. One morning his face was lit up with a holy light as he shouted, “Hallelujah! Glory to God!”
Sister Palmer, who was in the next room, said that she, too, felt the power of the Holy Spirit and shouted. Oh, how the Spirit would come upon us. Indeed it was a heavenly place. The gloom was all taken away. It did not seem like dying.
Although father was in his eighty-second year when he died, his mind was very clear all the time, and he would think of everything needful to be done. His only desire to live was to help me, as we lived alone. He gave that to the Lord. He talked about his funeral very calmly, and selected the text, Psalms 87:37, and desired that the old hymns be sung, mentioning this one, “And must this body die.” I asked him if he wanted flowers, to which he replied, “Oh, no. I want it very plain, clothed in righteousness.” He sang with us a short time before he died, and oh, how his face lit up with joy while singing.
“Hallelujah! Glory to God!” he shouted, and then clapped his hands and said, “If I could only get up, I feel I could leap and shout for joy. Peace, peace; my peace is made with God. I am filled with His love. Jesus alone heaves in sight.”
It seemed as though he had a view of heaven. His last words were, “O, bless the Lord! Praise the Lord!” and thus he went sweetly to sleep, safe in the arms of Jesus. — Written for this book by his daughter, Mrs. A. Slade, of Portland, New York.
156 — “OH GOD, IF THERE BE A GOD, SAVE MY SOUL, IF I HAVE A SOUL.”
Bro. R. Thomas, of Orleans, Nebraska, sends us the following for our book:
When father moved to Iowa in 1863, it was our privilege to settle near a well-to-do family, the father of which was an infidel. There were several sons in the family, and all save one were irreligious. The one who professed religion was a Universalist preacher. In fact the family were surrounded by every influence that would make infidel belief satisfactory, if it could be so, but such was not the case. No doubt many reminiscences of interest could be given, but suffice it to say that the day-star of this intelligent, well-to-do farmer set in the dark, and his last words were this short prayer, “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.”
157 — THOMAS HALYBURTON — “MY PEACE HATH BEEN LIKE A RIVER!”
This noted Scotch Presbyterian minister was born in 1674. He studied at Rotterdam, then at Perth and Edinburgh, and in 1692 entered the University of St. Andrews. In 1700 he was ordained in the parish of Ceres, and in 1710 he was appointed to a Professorship of Theology in St. Andrews.
He was author of several works, including Natural Religion Insufficient and Revelation Necessary to Man’s Happiness, The Great Concern of Salvation, and others. These works, especially the autobiographic memoir of the Holy Halyburton, were formerly very popular in Scotland, and still are greatly relished by persons of serious disposition.
He died in 1712. His last words were, “My peace hath been like a river.” He had promised some friends that when he was so far gone that he could speak no more, he would give a sign of triumph, and accordingly, when the powers of speech were gone, he lifted and clapped his hands, then expired.
158 — “MADGE IS DEAD AND DAVID IS CRAZY.”
In the spring of 1891, while Rev. C. B. Ebey was holding a meeting at Colgrove, California, two young ladies and their brother, who had been regular attendants at the meeting, were brought under deep conviction, but would not yield to the Spirit. The youngest was a bright, healthy young girl of fourteen years, named Madge.
One day Bro. Ebey said to her, “Madge, I believe this meeting is being held for you.” She felt that she ought to give her heart to God, and decided to do so, but was persuaded by her brother David not to for awhile longer. Her brother dearly loved her, and knew if she got saved that it would end their worldly pleasures together, so he persuaded her to wait a few years, and then they would both get saved. The meeting closed, and they had both said to the Spirit, “Wait until a more convenient season.”
A few weeks afterwards Bro. Ebey received word that Madge was dead, and was asked to come to her home immediately. He went as quickly as he could. The mother met him at the door, and said, “Bro. Ebey, you have come to a sad home. Madge is dead, and David is crazy.”
When the doctor had said that Madge could not live, David went in by her bedside, knelt down, and commenced to pray as only a sinner could pray, for God to save his sister. He urged Madge to pray, but she was too sick to make any effort, and she died without leaving any evidence of salvation. The strain was so much for the young man when he realized that his sister was dying unsaved, and that he was the cause of it, that his reason gave way. — Written for this work by Rev. F. A. Ames.
159 — “I AM GOING HOME AS FAST AS I CAN.”
An aged Christian, Mr. Mead, when crossing over to heaven, was asked how he did? He answered, “I am going home as fast as I can, as every honest man should do when his day’s work is over, and I bless God that I have a home to go to.”
160 — HULDA A. REES — “ALL BRIGHT AND GLORIOUS AHEAD.”
This holy woman of God was a successful evangelist of the Society of Friends. She was born Oct. 15, 1855. She went to heaven June 3, 1898. Her devoted husband, Seth C. Rees, is also a successful minister in the same church, and author of that excellent book, The Ideal Pentecostal Church.
We take the following from her published biography, entitled Hulda, the Pentecostal Prophetess, written by her son. He says:
“We saw from a distance the end approaching, but we could not fully realize the truth. It did not seem like ‘the valley of the shadow.’ We had read of the triumph of the saints when approaching the River, but surely this excelled anything of which we had ever heard. Such sweet resignation to all God’s will, such divine unction in prayer, such holy tenderness in exhortation and admonition, such victory and gladness in the furnace of pain and agony! — these luminous beacons did much to dispel the gloom and lighten the shades of the nearing evening.
“Many visitors came to see her — some from considerable distance — and whenever her strength permitted it she always had them admitted to her room. Her words were ever full of cheer and eternal hope. On one occasion, when a minister called whom she had known for years, she said to him with the greatest exultation, “The glory holds!” Yes, thank God, it did hold. The gospel she had preached to so many thousands with emphasis and assurance was found true and unshakable in this time of earnest testing. One day her husband said to her:
“‘My dear, is it all true that we have preached?’
“‘Yes, yes; we have not put it strong enough! It is all true, and more!’
At another time she said: ‘If the Lord takes me, it will be from the evil to come. Perhaps he sees something coming to me from which He wishes to protect me by taking me to Himself.’
“In one of her prayers she said: ‘Thou hast put, O Lord, a great laugh in my heart. Glory! Glory be to Thy Name forever! No evil can come to me! All is turned to blessing!’…
“One afternoon the family were all gathered about her, when her face suddenly lighted up as if a candle were burning beneath the transparent skin. With the brightest, sweetest smile, and a far-away look as if she were gazing off in the distance, she said in a soft, reflective tone, ‘I didn’t know it was so beautiful.’ After a moment or so she exclaimed rapturously, ‘Can it be that the glory of the Lord is risen upon me?’
“Thus this daughter of the Most High drew near to her exit from this world. It was indeed to her, as she said, ‘all bright and glorious ahead.’
“The night before she ascended she attempted to sing:
‘Fear not, I am with thee:
Oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God,
I will still give thee aid.”
But she could only whisper the words. Her husband read the entire hymn to her.
“In the evening of Friday, June 3, as the darkness was deepening about us, we watched her slip quietly away. There was no struggle. She passed away from us as calmly as a child falling asleep. We knew that she was with the Lord, both hers and ours.”
161 — JOSEPH ALLEIN, D. D. — “O, HOW SWEET WILL HEAVEN BE.”
This famous English divine, author of Alarm to the Unconverted, was born in 1633, died in 1668. Although he died at the age of thirty-five, his influence for good was great. He lived a devoted life, and as the sun was setting, and he came to the end of life’s journey, he exclaimed, “O, how sweet will heaven be! O, what a blessed day will the day of resurrection be! Methinks I see it by faith!”
162 — “LORD, HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL!”
While laboring in Canada on my first charge, two young men attended the meeting. They were bent on breaking up the service. I was visiting a family where one of them boarded. He was sullen and morose. He did not kneel when we prayed, nor pay any attention to our questions in regard to his soul.
It was not long after this when both the young men were engaged in the brick-yard. It was the first day with one. The brick-yard caved in, and the friend whom we had warned was instantly killed. His companion lived long enough to groan out, “Lord, have mercy upon my soul! Lord, have mercy upon my soul!” Without leaving any evidence behind of having obtained his request, he was called to stand before his Maker.
I attended the double funeral; a sad occasion it was. One of the mothers, who had opposed her son joining the Salvation Army, thinking it would be a disgrace to her, threw herself upon the casket and said, “Lord, have mercy on his soul!” But her interest in his soul came too late. It is a warning to all mothers who oppose their children in obeying their convictions of duty. — Written for this work by Kate H. Booth, of Buffalo, N. Y.
163 — “NOTHING REMAINS BUT THE BRIDGE OF THE SAVIOR.”
Byron Bunson, one of the most distinguished statesmen and scholars of Germany, was born in 1791 at Korbach, in the principality of Wualdeck.
In 1841 he was sent on a special mission to London to negotiate for the (creation) of an Anglo-Prussian Bishopric in Jerusalem, and was shortly afterward appointed ambassador at the English court. He is known in literature by his Constitution of the Church of the Future, Christianity and Mankind, God in History, and many other works. He was a great statesman and philosopher.
He died at Bonn, in Germany, in 1860. On his deathbed he cried out, “All bridges that one builds through life fail at such a time as this, and nothing remains but the bridge of the Savior!”
164 — “IT IS BRIGHT OVER THE RIVER, OH, SO BRIGHT OVER THERE.”
Some years ago I was called to the bedside of an aged lady, familiarly known as Grandma Shears, to witness her departure from this life. We watched at her bedside all night, and sang many cheering songs to her, as
“O, think of the home over there,”
and others. As her mental powers gradually gave way, her children greatly feared that she would not be able to tell us of the rapture in passing over the River of Jordan, washed in the blood of the Lamb; but I said to them that God would clear her mental skies and let her tell us all about it; and He did. For an hour she lay calmly, saying “It is bright over the river; oh, so bright over there,” and she passed sweetly to the land of flowers. — Written for this work by Rev. E. Ray, of Fredericktown, Mo.
165 — THE SAD DEATH OF ALL INFIDEL
Mary E. Jenks, of McBain, Michigan, sends us the following:
The people of the village of M____ have been greatly shocked of late by the terrible death of one of its residents, a Mr. T____, an infidel.
This man had lived an ungodly life, making no preparation for the great beyond to which he was hastening. He did not attend the house of God, and cared for none of these things that could in any way lead him to a better life. But disease fastened upon him, and death’s cold hand reached for him. Although near the valley of the shadow of death, he still continued to make calculations for the future, and once, when asked how he was, sneeringly said that God wouldn’t let him die; he was too good to die. But as he grew worse he was made to feel that the end was drawing near. He could not lie down, but sat in his chair day and night, while his limbs were badly swollen.
He belonged to two secret orders, and one day sent for one of the brotherhood. He came, and Mr. T said to him, “Well, I am here yet, but I am going to die, and I want you to see to it that I am buried according to the ceremonies of the orders.”
The man responded, “That will be all right, but you had better be thinking about something else now.” Mr. T went on with his directions, saying something about flowers, etc. How can anything in this world be more sad than to see a strong man dying without God, and with no heart to repent, but trying to comfort himself with how the last few rites will be performed over his lifeless remains.
Poor, wretched man; even this request was denied him. He would curse God while in the agonies of death.
Finally the end came, but instead of flowers, pomp and show over his body, he was gathered up in the blankets in which he sat, hurried into a box and carried to a Christless grave, while his soul went to meet the God he had so insulted. Who would not choose to die the death of the righteous?
166 — “I AM LOST, LOST, LOST, LOST, LOST!”
Rev. J. B. Davis, of Davis Station, W. Va., sends us this sad experience, which we pray may be used of God as a warning to the living. He says:
Mrs. B____, of C____, W.Va., who had attended a revival meeting at Davis Creek Church (near my father’s home), was besought by Christian friends to give her life to the Lord, but she refused. Shortly after this she was seized with a disease which soon brought her to death’s door. Rev. J. D. Garrett, who had conducted the revival meeting at which she was present, was sent for, and, as he entered the home, the dying woman exclaimed, “I am lost, lost, lost, lost, lost!”
The minister said to her, “My sister, Jesus loves you, and if you will trust Him He will save you.” He then quoted some of God’s promises to her.
“Oh, Bro. Garrett,” she exclaimed, “if I had given Him my life when you were holding that meeting here, it would have been all right. He wanted to save me then, but it is too late now. I am lost, lost, lost!”
Bro. Garrett tried to get her to stop and reason with him, but she continued to cry, “Lost, lost,” etc. The minister said that it seemed as though hell were near them that night, and was uncapped as the poor, dying woman wept over her lost condition.
Her son, who was away from home, was sent for, and, as he entered the room where his mother lay dying, she turned her face toward him and said, “Charley, is that you?”
“Yes, mother,” he replied, “how are you?”
She exclaimed, “I am lost, lost!”
He went to her bedside, threw his arms about her, and told her of the Savior’s love for sinners, but she cried, “It is too late for me, Charley; I am lost, lost,” and she continued repeating this until her soul took its departure.
167 — LITTLE HATTIE BUFORD’S LAST PRAYER
This little girl died in 1865, when only six years old. She was the child of Major-General John Buford. She was taught to repeat the Lord’s prayer every night. As the child lay on her dying bed, and the hour of her departure was drawing near, she all of a sudden opened her soft blue eyes, and, looking confidently into her mother’s face, said, “Mamma, I forgot to say my prayers!” Summoning what strength she had left, she clasped her little white hands together, and, like a little angel, prayed thus:
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep:
If I should die before I wake,
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.”
The prayer finished, she never spoke again.
I wonder how many of our readers say their prayers every night before they go to sleep. Editor.
168 — THE LAST WORDS OF JOSEPH BARKER, THE CONVERTED INFIDEL
No doubt many of our readers have heard of Rev. Joseph Barker. For the early part of his life he was a noted worker in the service of the devil, and preached his infidelity wherever he had an opportunity, but we are thankful to God that the last part of his life was spent in the service of the Lord. He was converted from infidelity, and became a preacher of righteousness.
He died at Omaha, Nebraska, in 1870, at the age of seventy-one years. A few days before his death he spoke as follows to his son and two friends who were present:
“I feel that I am approaching my end, and desire that you should receive my last words and be witness to them. I wish you to witness that I am in my right mind, and fully understand what I have just been doing; and dying, that I die in the full and firm belief in Jesus Christ. I am sorry for my past errors; but during the last years of my life I have striven to undo the harm I did, by doing all that I was able to do to serve God, by showing the beauty and religion of His Son, Jesus Christ. I wish you to write and witness this, my last confession of faith, that there may be no doubt about it.”
169 — “YOU GAVE ME NOTHING TO HOLD ON TO.”
In a country village of Pennsylvania there lived an infidel physician, who by infidel books persuaded a young man to deny his Savior.
In about 1875 this man died, aged fifty years. The infidel teacher was his physician. When his end was approaching, the doctor told him to die as he had lived — a rejecter of God and Christ. “Hold on to the end,” urged the doctor.
“Yes, doctor,” said the dying man, “there is just my trouble; you gave me nothing to hold on to.” The doctor did not reply.
170 — “OH! THE DEVIL IS COMING TO DRAG MY SOUL DOWN TO HELL!”
N. M. Nelms, of Kopperl, Texas, sends us this very sad experience. He says:
Miss A____, who lived at C____, in Georgia, was taken very sick, and was informed that she could not live. Realizing the way she had lived, surrounded by her ungodly associates, with whom she had indulged in the pleasures of sin, and how her parents had educated her to follow the fashions of the world, and decorated her in gay clothing, and turned her away from the truth of God, she called her ungodly father to her bedside and said, “Your heart is as black as hell. If you had taught me to live for God, rather than to have spent your time quarreling with mother, I might have been saved.”
Then, turning to others who stood by her dying bed, she plead with them, saying, “Do not follow my ungodly example; do not do as I have done; do not enjoy or indulge in the hellish pleasures of the world. Oh, if I had heeded the warnings of my friend who lived a holy and devoted life.” Then she said, “Oh, the devil is coming to drag my soul down to hell! Don’t live in pleasure and be found wanting, but live in Christ complete and wanting nothing. I am lost, lost forever! Oh, lost, lost, lost!” — then died.
171 — DAVID BRAINERD — “I AM ALMOST IN ETERNITY; I LONG TO BE THERE TO PRAISE AND GLORIFY GOD!”
This celebrated missionary to the Indians was born at Haddam, Connecticut, April 20, 1718. His parents were noted for their piety, and were closely related to high officials of the church and state.
In 1739 he entered Yale College, where he stood first in his class. He was greatly favored of God in being privileged to attend the great revival conducted by Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and Tenent.
President Edwards says, in his memoir of Brainerd: “His great work was the priceless example of his piety, zeal and self devotion. Why, since the days of the apostles none have surpassed him. His uncommon intellectual gifts, his fine personal qualities, his melancholy and his early death, as well as his remarkable holiness and evangelistic labors, have conspired to invest his memory with a book halo, and the story of his life has been a potent force in the modern missionary era. It is related of Henry Martyn that, while perusing the life of David Brainerd, his soul was filled with a holy emulation of that extraordinary man, and after deep consideration and fervent prayer, he was at length fixed in a resolution to imitate his example.”
Brainerd was a representative man, formed both by nature and grace to leave a lasting impression upon the piety of the church.
He died at Northampton, Oct. 9, 1747. The last words of this dying apostle were, “I am almost in eternity. I long to be there. My work is done. I have done with my friends; all the world is nothing to me. Oh, to be in heaven to praise and glorify God with His holy angels.”
172 — LAST WORDS OF SAMUEL RUTHERFORD — “I SHALL SOON BE WHERE FEW OF YOU SHALL ENTER.”
This eminent Scotch Presbyterian divine was born in 1600, and died in 1661. He was commissioner to the Westminster General Assembly in 1643, and was for some time principal of St. Andrews College. When on his death-bed he was summoned to appear before Parliament for trial, for having preached Liberty arid Religion. He sent word with the messenger to tell Parliament “That I have received a summons to a higher bar — I must needs answer that first; and when the day you name shall come, I shall be where few of you shall enter.”
173 — REV. RICHARD WATSON — “I SHALL SEE GOD! HOW SHALL I PRAISE HIM?”
The great reformer, Rev. Richard Watson, was one of God’s most noted preachers and theologians. He was born in England, Feb. 22, 1781; died Jan. 8, 1833. He took an active part in the Anti-slavery movement, and lived to see the preparation for the emancipation of all slaves in British colonies.
He was the author of many books. In his dying hour he exclaimed, “I shall see God! — I — I individually. I, myself, a poor worm of the earth, shall see God! How shall I praise Him?”
174 — THE AWFUL END OF AN INFIDEL SCOFFER
Rev. Fred. Scott, of Arkansas City, Kansas, sends us this sad experience. He says:
In the year 1880, in company with a few other pilgrims, I held a little street meeting off Brightside Lane, Sheffield, England, our object being to extend an invitation to passers-by to come to the services at the little Primitive Methodist Chapel, which was close by.
We stopped on the street, close to the home of the subject of this sketch (whose name I do not remember), and commenced to sing and talk to the people. He came out of his house in great rage and excitement, saying that we were disturbers of the peace and ought to be prosecuted. He secured the attention of some of the people, and preached his infidelity to them, telling them that the Bible was a humbug, and Christianity a fraud; churches and ministers an imposition on the people, and that society should be rid of them all. We tried to reason with him, but all in vain.
The following week some of the Pilgrims called at his home, and offered to pray with him and give him tracts to read, but he scornfully refused all of their offers. He abused their good intentions, and in a boasting way talked to them of the narrowness of Christianity, and the great freedom of his infidelity. Several times after that he made it a rule to meet us on the street, and try and confuse the people and break up the meeting. His presence was such an annoyance to us, and so detrimental to the meetings, that we scarcely could hold them.
The last time I ever saw him come out of his house was on Sunday morning, when he came walking down the street, close to where we were singing, with a stick in one hand and an axe in the other, and when he came very close to us he began to chop the wood for the purpose of getting the attention of the people from us. The chips began to fly around, and we thought best to move on, which we did. From that time on we all began to offer special prayer for his conversion; but God did not answer our prayers in the way we thought he would.
The next Sunday we went to our street meeting, feeling that in some way God would give us a victory over him, but to our surprise we did not find him there. I inquired about him, and found that he was suddenly taken very ill. The following week I was called to his room, and found him in a very dangerous condition. He was much changed in his mind; was very mild, tender and teachable, but could not repent. Many of the pilgrims visited him and tried to lead him to Jesus, but their efforts were in vain. He said that he knew that he was lost and doomed forever.
In a few days I called again, and found him very close to the crossing. I told him of God’s boundless mercy, and how it had reached Nebuchadnezzar and Manasseh, and that God had given His Son even for him; but he insisted that it was too late now, as he had sinned against light and knowledge when he knew better.
The fact of having disturbed our meetings preyed upon his mind, and he told me to faithfully warn all such scoffers of their danger. He wept bitterly as we talked to him of his lost condition, and said that if he could only live his life over again he would live for God; but it was a vain hope — it was past — his last chance was gone. The awful distress of his mind became worse and worse until the end came. He expired in great agony of soul.
To live without Christ is folly; to be without Him on a deathbed is distressing; to die without Him is awful. But oh, the thought of an eternity without Christ! My scoffing friend, take warning! Stop in time — stop now! “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” (Prov 1: 24-26.)
175 — “HALLELUJAH TO GOD! I AM GOING HOME TO GLORY.”
In Arkansas there was an aged lady, Mrs. Abbott, who had been suffering for some time. I was at her house just before she died. She would sing and pray and exhort the people, especially the young folks, telling them to get ready to meet her in heaven, and to quit their sins and to give their hearts to God. The night that I visited her, I shook her emaciated hand, and as I looked into her wrinkled face she said to me, “I am ready to go! All that are ready to meet me in heaven, were they to die tonight, come and shake my hand. Hallelujah to God! I am going home to glory and be with my Jesus.”
A few hours afterwards she triumphantly passed away singing praises to God and praying for husband and seven children. Praise the Lord for ever and ever. — Written for this work by N. M. Nelms of Kopperl, Texas.
176 — HE CRIED, WITH AN AWFUL WAIL OF DESPAIR, “TOO LATE, TOO LATE, TOO LATE!”
Bro. J. Earnest, of Searcy, White Co., Arkansas, sends us this sad experience. He says:
When I lived in the town of H____, in West Tennessee, I was well acquainted with a noted infidel who neither feared God nor regarded man. He would consider it an insult to his dignity for anyone to speak to him on the subject of religion; in fact, he had been known to fight some who had dared to approach him about his soul’s salvation. He was well favored with the earthly possessions of this life, but it seemed to me that he was the most unhappy man that I had ever seen. He was such a hard case that the Christian people were afraid of him.
When he was dying, his brother-in law, a whisky-drinking infidel, at the request of his weeping wife went for my uncle, Mr. B____, to come and pray with him. My uncle came and when he entered the room the dying infidel said to him, “I can now see and realize that I am doomed for hell. Pray for me!”
Uncle prayed and sang, and put forth all the powers of his soul for the wretched man, but it did not seem to do any good. While uncle was praying and singing, I tried to keep his mind on the Lord by talking to him. He warned all present not to live as he had lived, and sink at last to a devil’s hell. At last he turned his face towards the wall, and cried with an awful wail, “Too late, too late, too late!” and his soul went out into eternity.
177 — A GREAT REPROOF TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS
In the year 1877, in Newark, New Jersey, a young man was hung for murder. Just before the fatal hour, he said to the Christian people about him, “If I had received one-half the attention and care from the good people of this city in early life that has been shown me since this trial commenced, I should never have been a murderer.”
What a reproof to professing Christians were the statements made by this young man.
A few years ago we held a revival meeting in a certain town in Illinois, and where two men met their death on the scaffold just before our meetings commenced, and the excitement had not yet died away. We were informed that two of the most prominent pastors of the town manifested considerable interest in these young men before they were doomed to death. They visited them often, talked and prayed with them, and they professed to be saved.
One of the doomed men exhorted the people from the scaffold to take warning by his example, and urged them to seek the Lord before they became guilty of some sin which would cause them and their families disgrace.
If the interest of Christians had been brought to bear upon these criminals before their conviction and crime, they might have been saved in their youth. O, that God might wake up his people and help them to rescue the perishing before they become guilty of some great crime, is our prayer. — Editor.
178 — JOHN KNOX, SCOTLAND’S GREAT REFORMER
This great reformer was noted for his faith and prayer. The name of John Knox is widely known throughout Christendom. He lived in the days of Queen Mary of Scotland, and she once stated that she feared the prayers of Knox more than all the armies of Scotland.
The Roman Catholic Church, with all its corruption and degradation, had great power and influence in the British Isles. The Queen of England, and many of the high officials in church and state, were nothing but tools in the hands of the pope in persecuting and destroying the Protestants. In the jails and prisons, as well as at the stake, God’s devoted children suffered beyond description. The whole land was a scene of desolation. Many were burned alive for their faith and devotion to the Protestant religion. The great heart of John Knox was deeply moved. Night and day he cried to God to save Scotland.
At one time Knox was so greatly burdened for Scotland that he retired for secret prayer, but was soon discovered by some of his friends, by his groans. They heard him groan out, “Give me Scotland or I die!” Then after a few moments they heard him repeat these same words, “Give me Scotland or I die!” They heard him breath out the longings of his soul until he found relief. God gave him Scotland.
He died in 1572, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. After commending the care of his church to Christ, he said, “I now commend my soul into Thy hands.” A few moments after, he exclaimed, “Now it is come!” Who will doubt but what God sent a convoy of angels to carry him to Abraham’s bosom?
The Earl of Morton pronounced at his grave, in the presence of many of the nobles of Scotland, these words, “There lies he who never feared the face of man.”
179 — “MAY GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS THEE, MY BELOVED SONS AND BROTHERS IN CHRIST.”
Two brothers and their father were beheaded in the year 1524 for preaching the gospel in Germany.
On the scaffold one of the sons said, “Father, farewell, my beloved father. Henceforth thou art my father no longer, and I am no longer thy son, but we are brothers still in Christ our Lord, for whose sake we are doomed to suffer death. Fear nothing.”
“Amen!” answered the old man, “and may God Almighty bless thee, my beloved sons and brothers in Christ.” And all three knelt down in Christ’s name, and their heads were severed from their bodies,
180 — “I SHALL SOON BE A DEAD MAN, AND MY SOUL WILL BE IN HELL.”
A minister, while traveling one day, was overtaken by a thunderstorm and took refuge in what was called a tavern. His attention was soon directed towards a man who seemed to be trying to entertain himself and others by using profanity in its lowest degree. He claimed to be an atheist, and blasphemed the name of God with unusual recklessness.
Finally, while the storm was raging wildly, he said to those around him, “There is no God, and to prove to you that I am right about it, I will go out there on that little hill and dare Him to strike me with His lightning.”
To the horror of that little company he went, and looking up toward heaven, his lips moved, and he brought his fists together with the appearance of doing what he said he would, though his voice could not be heard above the roar of the storm. In a short time he came back, saying as he did so, “You can see for yourselves that there is no God. If there were, He would have killed me while daring Him to do so.” But God moves in a mysterious way, and his awful sin did not go long unpunished.
He took a chair and was quiet for some time. He had uttered his last oath, and when he again spoke it was in subdued tones, as follows, “There is a God, and He is going to teach me that He can take my life with a smaller instrument than a shaft of lightning. Soon after I came in here, a little insect lit upon my hand and stung it. It commenced to pain me and soon affected my arm and is fast doing its fatal work. The pain is almost unendurable, and I shall soon be a dead man, and my soul will be in hell. Yes, there is a God.”
And so he died, in awful agony of body and mind, and his soul passed into the great beyond.
“Surely the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” — Reported for this book by Mary E. Jenks, of McBain, Michigan
181 — “THIS IS HELL ENOUGH! THE DEVILS ARE DRAGGING ME DOWN.”
There was a young man in Georgia who was constantly warned by his parents and others to turn from his wickedness, profanity and gambling, but he would not taste their advice, and became a miserable wreck of humanity.
He was taken ill, and during his sickness he would exclaim, “Oh, drive these devils away with their chains, they will drag my soul down to hell before I die! Oh, brother and sister, take warning! Don’t come to this hell. This is hell enough! The devils are dragging me down!” And as he cried mightily, “Don’t come to this hell of woe, this hell, this hell!” his soul departed to everlasting ruin and perdition.
Young people, take warning from this awful experience and repent before it is too late. — Written for this work by N. M. Nelms. of Kopperl, Texas.
182 — THE SAINTED A. J. GORDON’S LAST WORD WAS, “VICTORY!”
One of the most noted and devoted Baptist preachers of this country was Rev. Adoniram Judson Gordon, for many years pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church, Boston He was a noted author as well as preacher. He went to heaven Feb. 2, 1895. “A short time before his death,” says the memorial number of The Watchword, “he called his wife to his side and said, ‘If anything should happen, do not have a quartet choir; I have selected four hymns I want to have sung. Write them down: “Abide With Me,” “The Sands of Time are Sinking,” “Lord if He Sleep He Shall do Well,” “My Jesus I Love Thee.” ‘ He was assured that his wishes should be regarded, and the subject was dropped.
“Friday morning such a decided change for the worse was evident that a consultation was called, with the result that, though the patient’s condition was pronounced dangerous, it was not hopeless. With the utmost devotion did these two physicians watch every symptom during the day, visiting him four times together that they might mark and check a relapse, or hasten any signs of recovery. At 5 P. M. the doctor sat by him, and speaking with a cheery voice to rouse him said, ‘Doctor, have you a good word for us tonight?’ and with a clear, full voice he answered, ‘Victory!’ This was his last audible utterance.
Between nine and ten in the evening the nurse motioned to his wife that she was wanted, and bending to listen, he whispered, ‘Maria, pray,’ and as she led in prayer, he followed in a whisper, sentence by sentence, and at the close tried to utter a petition for himself. But his strength was not sufficient to articulate.
“A tearful group of friends were tarrying in the parlors of Carey Home; and beloved deacons waited with the members of the family to watch the ebbing tide of mortal life.
“Five minutes after midnight on the morning of February 2 he fell asleep in Jesus. ‘And while he blessed them he was parted from them and taken up into heaven.'”
183 — “OH, DO YOU HEAR THE MUSIC?”
May Wilcox, of Marengo, Illinois, when twenty-one years of age, was taken from earth to heaven.
She was a worker in the vineyard of the Lord — a self-sacrificing, devoted Christian. Shortly after her conversion she was called of God to work for souls. She gave her life “for others’ sake,” to gather jewels for her Master, and proved faithful in declaring the truths of God’s Word; thorough in altar work, efficient in calling among the people, and a worthy example as a child of God.
“While fighting in ardor in mid-day of life,
The Master in mercy then ended earth’s strife;
She said, in much wonder, ‘I’ve only begun;’
He smiled back in answer, ‘Come, faithful, well done.’
She looked for white harvest, the sheaves yet unbound;
She reached forth to gather, He gave her the Crown.”
At the close of a series of meetings in Bradford, Illinois, she went to her home to recruit for the next battle, but it seemed that her battles were then to end.
Being taken with typhoid fever, she lingered in its heat and suffering a little over a month, then Jesus came and took her to Himself. Once during her sickness, when unconscious to those around her, her mother came in; but she failed to recognize anyone. Her mother said, “May, do you know Jesus?” She replied, “Jesus? O, yes, I know Jesus.” The mentioning of His name brought consciousness to her. She well knew that name.
Shortly before she passed away she called all of her loved ones (who were then outside of the ark of safety) and tried to exhort them to prepare to meet their God; but, her tongue being swollen, she could not make them understand. But the Lord enabled her to tell of the glories that filled her soul in that wonderful hour. She threw up her arms — the unsaved ones standing around her bed saw the light that came from heaven into that little room — they felt its divine influence as May said, “Oh! do you hear the music?” Her soul then took its flight — she continued to hear the music on the other side of the River. Thus ended the career of one triumphant in life and death. — Written for this work, by Sadie A. Cryer, of Rockford, Ill.
184 — TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF MARGARETTA KLOPPSTOCK
Kloppstock, the great German poet, author of the well-known epic poem, “The Messiah,” was born in 1724, and died in 1803. His wife, Margaretta, was a devoted Christian. In her last moments, being told that God would help her, she replied, “Into heaven!” The last words she whispered were, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin! O, sweet words of eternal life!”
185 — “O, LORD, MY STRENGTH AND MY REDEEMER.”
Mrs. Win. Barnes’ conversion was brought about shortly after the death of her little girl. She lives in Buffalo, N. Y. Before her daughter died she was not a Christian, but since the death of her little girl, four years ago, she has been leading a godly life and traveling in the way to heaven.
The following is recorded as related by Mrs. Barnes: My little daughter May, when but eight years old, was taken ill with scarlet fever, and died four days later. During her short sickness she was such a patient little sufferer, and when asked if she was suffering, she would say there didn’t anything hurt her, but she did not want to stay with us any longer — she wanted to go to heaven, and kept repeating this all through the long night. Not long after this she repeated the Lord’s prayer, and then thanked us for all that we had done for her, and told us not to worry about her. Then she looked up and said, “I thank Thee, dear Jesus. Dear Jesus, I thank Thee,” and then sang some beautiful songs.
Just before she died she raised her eyes toward heaven and said, “O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Then, with a peaceful look on her face, she raised herself, and with a glad expression she said “Oh,” and saw something which our eyes could not see, and thus passed away.
She had a Bible and three other books given her for constant attendance at her Sunday-school, where she had been a scholar for four years.
Dear reader, I think this message is for you just as much as it is for me. The Bible says, “A little child shall lead them.” — Written for this work by Kate H. Booth, of Buffalo, .N. Y.
186 — MERRITT CALDWELL’S LAST WORDS — “JESUS LIVES, I SHALL LIVE ALSO.”
This great and good man, principal of Wesleyan Academy, Maine, and vice-president of Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, was a distinguished advocate of total abstinence and a gifted writer. He was born in 1806, died in 1848.
Shortly before his death he said to his wife, “You will not, I am sure, lie down upon your bed and weep when I am gone. You will not mourn for me when God has been so good to me. When you visit my grave, do not come in the shade of the evening, nor in the dark of night; these are no times to visit the grave of a Christian; but come in the morning, in the bright sunshine, and when the birds are singing.”
His last expressions were, “Glory to Jesus! He is my trust; He is my strength! Jesus lives; I shall live also!”
187 — “GOOD-BY! WE WILL SOON MEET AGAIN; CHRIST LIGHTS THE WAY!”
Our readers have noticed the great contrast between the last words of the saved and the unsaved. We herewith give a striking example:
Edward Adams, the noted actor’s last words were, “Good-bye Mary; good-bye forever.” What a contrast with one of the martyrs who, while going to the stake, said to his wife, “Good-by, Mary, till morning.” The next morning, while she was being put into a sack, to be thrown into a pond, she handed her babe to a kind neighbor and said, “Good-by, children; good-by, friends; I go to my husband. We will soon meet again. Christ lights the way.” — L. B. Balliett, M.D.
188 — “HARK! HEAR THAT MUSIC! THEY DON’T HAVE SUCH MUSIC AS THAT ON EARTH.”
Rev. Hiram Case, of Frankford, N. Y., was translated to heaven in the year 1878.
A few weeks before his death he said, “It seemed as if I were stepping into a very cold stream, which sent a shiver through my entire being, but which was gone in the twinkling of an eye, and the place was lit up with a glory that far outshone the noonday sun. What I saw and felt was unutterable. Tongue is too short and words too lame to express what I saw and felt of the presence of the Lord with me.”
He had some relatives who were Advents, and he said he wished they could only know how he felt when he thought he was dying. They would never again think that their spirits would sleep in the grave until the resurrection, but would know beyond a doubt that immediately after the spirit had left the body it was with the redeemed host in a conscious existence in the presence of the Great Redeemer of men. He talked freely about dying, saying that, while it was hard to part with his wife and little ones, the Lord knew what was best, and would take him while he was ready. At another time he heard the heavenly music. He said, “Hark! Hear that music! They don’t have such music as that on earth.”
During these last days he desired that each of his children might have a Bible bought, and following are the texts of scripture he wrote with trembling hand, one for each child:
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I find no pleasure in them.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The presence of the Lord was with him during all these trying days, and when the power of speech and sight was gone, by the pressure of the hand and the farewell kiss he gave us the token that “All is well”-Written for this work by his wife, Mrs. Gertrude M. Case, of Clyde, N. Y.
189 — JOHN RANDOLPH’S LAST WORDS — “REMORSE! REMORSE! REMORSE!”
This great American statesman was born at Cawsons, Va., in 1773. He descended from a wealthy family, a lawyer by profession, and in 1799 was elected to Congress. He was the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, but quarreled with Jefferson. In 1825 he was chosen United States Senator from Virginia, and in 1830 was appointed United States Minister to Russia.
He died at Philadelphia in 1833. As the doctor and servant were sitting by his bedside, the dying statesman turned toward them and exclaimed, “Remorse! remorse! remorse! — you don’t know what it means! But,” Randolph added, “I cast myself on the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy.”
190 — “PRAISE HIM, YOU ALL PRAISE HIM.”
Through the influence of room-mates and associates, while attending boarding school, Ethel had been influenced to believe that making a public confession of the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving baptism by immersion was all the preparation needful to insure her soul endless joy when life on earth was over.
For years Ethel’s Christian mother had endeavored to impress upon her daughter’s mind the importance of being born, not of water, but of the Holy Spirit. With resolute tenacity Ethel clung to the doctrine of “Water Salvation,” which she had so deeply imbibed from her companions while away at school. Notwithstanding all discouragements, Ethel’s mother knew from past experience that God was faithful in his promises of divine truth, so by persistent faith and daily prayer she called upon Him at the Throne of Grace to show Ethel the error of resting upon ordinances for spiritual safety, when the blood of Christ, and a saving faith in its atoning merits alone, could secure to her soul eternal life and a home in heaven.
One day, after much earnest wrestling in prayer, her mother was comforted by receiving the assurance of the Holy Spirit that God would be gracious and eventually turn Ethel from the error of building on a foundation of sand.
Not long after this, although but twenty-two years of life had passed over her head, Ethel came to know that she stood with the billows of death rolling very near her feet. It was then that she began to realize the fact that water baptism would not avail to rescue her soul from the perils of sin and the coming judgment. “Man’s extremity is ever God’s opportunity,” and now the Holy Spirit began to convince her that she had need, not only to repent and call upon the Lord, but to believe in Him as a personal Savior. The conflict of her soul with doubts and fears was short but severe. Faith at length triumphed.
Only five days before her departure from earth, after lying speechless for hours, in the throes of dissolution, her mother, who was near her couch, heard Ethel say, with great effort, “Whosoever — will — may come.” Just then the saving power of the Holy Ghost fell upon her heart, and as a bright smile over-spread her beautiful face, she exclaimed, “Praise Him, you all praise Him.” Those were Ethel’s last words on earth. — Written for this work by Mrs. V. E. Markin, of Litchfield, Ky.
191 — REV. ROBERT HALL’S LAST WORDS — “COME, LORD JESUS, COME.”
Rev. Robert Hall, one of the most eloquent of modern preachers, was born in Arnsby, Leicestershire, England, May 2, 1764; died at Bristol, Feb. 21, 1831.
In 1790 he accepted a call to the Baptist church at Cambridge. Here he remained for fifteen years, increasing in influence and reputation, and was recognized as one of the foremost preachers of his day.
In 1806 he removed to Leicester, where he labored for twenty years, when, at the call of the Broad Street Baptist Church, he returned to Bristol to finish his ministry. He did much to liberalize the opinions of his generation. His fame, great while he lived, has become a cherished tradition among English-speaking Christians, and his works are among the classics of the modern pulpit.
When he came to die he was fully prepared. In his last moments he exclaimed, “It is death, it is death, it is death! O, the sufferings of this body!” His wife inquired whether he was comfortable in mind. “Very comfortable, very comfortable. Come, Lord Jesus, come!” were his last words.
192 — “I AM GETTING IN SIGHT OF THE CITY. MY HOPE IS FULL.”
Daniel Wilmot was born in Prospect, Conn.. Aug. 13, 1816, being eighty-two years old when he died; was married Jan. 7, 1839, and lived almost fifty-nine years with our now widowed sister. . . .
Brother Wilmot did not grow old on the inside-always keeping in touch with domestic interests and public events, growing old gracefully. It was blessed to behold such joy and victory as he uniformly had. At one of the Thursday night meetings held in his home, which he invariably attended, and only four weeks ago, his cup of rejoicing overflowed. With beaming face and transfigured countenance he poured forth a glowing testimony, saying, among other things, “I am almost home. Glory to God! I am getting in sight of the city. My hope is full, oh, glorious hope of immortality! The Lord saves me — saves me fully. No doubt, no fear disturbs my soul. Praise the Lord! oh, praise the Lord!”
And after he resumed his seat he continued amid the tears of some and the shouts of others, to praise God. Had it been a conference love feast or camp-meeting scene the rejoicing in God could not have been greater. The benediction of that hour, the sight of that face and sound of that voice that night I shall carry with me as one of the richest experiences of my life. In his frequent paroxysms of pain, he was patient and unmurmuring. As his strength declined and his pain increased, he would pray and ask his companion to pray the Lord to take him home, the day before his departure. . . .
Sister Thompson read from The Christian Witness, a paper he loved for its soul food. Saying, “I am tired,” and asking, “Is my bed ready?” he was helped to bed. But he was not to sleep in that bed again. Jesus was about to rest the tired saint within the tender pressure of his everlasting arms. Pain laid hold on him again, and for the last time, thank God! While remedies were being prepared to relieve him he grew faint from nausea, the heart began to slow its beating, he sank into unconsciousness and soon was “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” Truly the saints die well. — Geo. W. Anderson, in Christian Witness, of October 27, 1898.
193 — “EMPTIED OF SELF; FILLED WITH CHRIST; CLOSE TO GOD; NO FEAR.”
My dear brother, Charles G. Jones, was a very unselfish man. In whatever enterprise he embarked, it was not so much to benefit himself as to help others.
He early felt the power of religion, and I remember his saying to me, when I was speaking to him of its claims, “Yes, I believe man should be pure — pure as water.” He felt a deep sense of his responsibility to God, and would say, “I must give an account; I must give an account.” His heart went out toward the needy, and a favorite maxim of his was, “Never turn away thy face from the poor man, and the Lord will not turn His face from thee.”
For two years and upwards, before his death, he was a great sufferer. In his last letter to me he spoke of his faith in God for all things, and said, “Having therefore obtained help from God, we continue unto this day.”
About four months later, on the sixth of January, 1898, at his residence, No. 8 Windsor avenue, Montreal, Canada, he passed from earth to heaven. His last words were, “Emptied of self; filled with Christ; close to God; no fear.” — Written for this work by W. D. Jones, of Chicago, Ill.
194 — SIR JOHN MASON — “WERE I TO LIVE AGAIN, I WOULD CHANGE THE WHOLE LIFE I HAVE LIVED.”
A strong testimony to the importance of religion is given by Sir John Mason, who, though but sixty-three at his death, had flourished in the reigns of four sovereigns (Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth), had been privy-counselor to them all, and an attentive observer of the various revolutions and vicissitudes of those times.
Toward his latter end, being on his deathbed, he spoke thus to those about him: “I have lived to see five sovereigns, and have been privy-counselor to four of them. I have seen the most remarkable things in foreign parts, and have been present at most state transactions for the last thirty years; and I have learned from the experience of so many years that seriousness is the greatest wisdom, temperance the best physic, and a good conscience the best estate. And were I to live again, I would change the court for a cloister, my privy-counselor’s bustle for hermit’s retirement, and the whole life I have lived in the palace for an hour’s enjoyment of God in the chapel. All things now forsake me, except my God, my duty and my prayers.” . . .
From the regret expressed by Sir John Mason, it appears that his error consisted, not in having served his king and country, in the eminent stations in which he had been placed; but in having suffered his mind to be so much occupied with business as to make him neglect, in some degree, the proper seasons of religious retirement, and the prime duties which he owed to his Creator. — Power of Religion.
195 — MRS. ETTA KATRINA YANKLE — “PRAISE THE LORD!”
This saint of God went to heaven Dec. 9, 1887, in the fifty-third year of her age.
We were well acquainted with Sister Yankle. The Lord greatly used her in a great revival we held near her home, New Haven, Michigan, in the winter of 1885. Several of her children, and more than one hundred of her neighbors, were soundly converted to God in that revival, and as many more were reclaimed from a backslidden state and filled with the Spirit of God during the meetings.
Sister Yankle for many years lived a very devoted Christian life. She was not in words only, but in deed, a “mother in Israel.” Many are the souls she has led to Christ, and larger still is the number whom she has helped and encouraged and cared for as a mother a child. Among all our acquaintance we know but few to whom so high praise could justly be given. As wife, and mother, and friend she filled nobly, grandly, the place God had given her.
Soon after her death, her daughter, the wife of Rev. John Kirn, wrote us as follows:
“I know that God doeth all things well. I am glad that my heart says, the Lord’s will be done. Mother said after brother Freddie’s death; ‘The Lord never makes any mistakes.’ I feel the same now. I cannot understand why the Lord took mother home, when it seems that we needed her so much; but He knows best. Her work is done. It would have done you good to have seen her in her sickness, she was so patient-never murmured nor complained, but was praising God all the time. When those who came in spoke of her being so sick, and suffering so much, she always replied that she was resting in Jesus’ arms, and that she believed the Lord would heal her, but if not, she was ready to go; and would praise the Lord so that the unsaved could hardly bear it. She was not able to talk much. Her last words were, ‘Praise the Lord!’ She tried to say more, but could not. The funeral sermon was preached to a large congregation, in the power of the Spirit.”
May God raise up more such devoted women, is our prayer. — Editor.
196 — VICTORIOUS DEATH OF JANE, THE PROTESTANT QUEEN OF NAVARRE
This excellent queen was the daughter of Henry II., King of Navarre, and of Margaret of Orleans, sister of Francis I., King of France. She was born in the year 1528.
From her childhood she was carefully educated in the Protestant religion, to which she steadfastly adhered all her days. Bishop Burnet says of her: “That she both received the Reformation, and brought her subjects to it; that she not only reformed her court, but the whole principality, to such a degree that the Golden Age seemed to have returned under her; or rather, Christianity appeared again with its primitive purity and luster.”
This illustrious queen, being invited to attend the nuptials of her son and the King of France’s sister, fell a victim to the cruel machinations of the French court against the Protestant religion. The religious fortitude and genuine piety with which she was endued did not, however, desert her in this great conflict, and at the approach of death.
To some what were about her, near the conclusion of her time, she said, “I receive all this as from the hand of God, my most merciful Father; nor have I, during my extremity, feared to die, much less murmured against God for inflicting this chastisement upon me; knowing that whatsoever He does with me, He so orders it that, in the end, it shall turn to my everlasting good.”
When she saw her ladies and women weeping about her bed, she blamed them, saying, “Weep not for me, I pray you. God, by this sickness, calls me hence to enjoy a better life; and now I shall enter into the desired haven, toward which this frail vessel of mine has been a long time steering.”
She expressed some concern for her children, as they would be deprived of her in their tender years, but added, “I doubt not that God Himself will be their father and protector, as He has ever been mine in my greatest afflictions. I therefore commit them wholly to His government and fatherly care. I believe that Christ is my only Mediator and Savior; and I look for salvation from no other. O my God! in Thy good time, deliver me from the troubles of this present life, that I may attain to the felicity which Thou hast promised to bestow upon me.” — Power of Religion.
197 — “I’M GOING UP IN THE CHARIOT SO EARLY IN THE MORNING.”
Mrs. Harriet McManamey went home on the 18th of February, 1887. Though suffering to the last, she passed away quietly to her home in the paradise of God. She had been converted twelve years before, and was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and a devout Christian and an earnest worker both in the church and Sabbath school.
About three years previous to her death she entered into the experience of perfect love through the instruction and labors of Bro. S, B. Shaw. As she listened to his radical teaching on holiness, conviction seized her heart anew. She believed it and entered in — came through into the promised land shouting and praising God. Her class-meeting testimony was never complete without some allusion to her experience of heart purity. How and when she obtained it, she wanted all to know.
She was a lover of singing, and the Spiritual Hymns was a favorite with her. Her breathing was very short, but on one occasion when all was silent she broke out and sang,
“I’m going up in the chariot
So early in the morning.”
All through she clapped her hands as if in a camp meeting. The Holiness Record was a welcome visitor to her household. She read the January number all through and asked about the February number. Her family and friends do not weep as those who have no hope, but joyously await the call of the Master when the reunion will take place never to be broken. — Mrs. L. G. Whitney, Hemlock, Mich.
198 — SIR PHILIP SIDNEY — “I WOULD NOT CHANGE MY JOY FOR THE EMPIRE OF THE WORLD.”
Sir Philip Sidney was born in Kent, in the year 1554. He possessed shining talents, was well educated, and at the early age of twenty-one was sent by Queen Elizabeth, as her ambassador, to the Emperor of Germany. He is described by the writers of that age as the finest model of an accomplished gentleman that could be formed, even in imagination. An amiable disposition, elegant erudition, and polite conversation, rendered him the ornament and delight of the English court. Lord Brooks so highly valued his friendship, that he directed to be inserted as part of his epitaph, “Here lies Sir Philip Sidney’s friend.” His fame was so widely spread, that if he had chosen it, he might have obtained the crown of Poland.
But the glory of this Marcellus of the English nation was of short duration. He was wounded at the battle of Zutphen, and carried to Arnheim, where, after languishing about three weeks, he died, in the thirty-second year of his age…
After he had received the fatal wound, and was brought into a tent, he piously raised his eyes towards heaven, and acknowledged the hand of God in this event. He confessed himself to be a sinner, and returned thanks to God that “He had not struck him with death at once, but gave him space to seek repentance and reconciliation.”
Compared with his present views of religion, his former virtues seemed to be nothing. When it was observed to him that good men, in the time of great affliction, found comfort and support in the recollection of those parts of their lives in which they had glorified God, he humbly replied, “It is not so with me. I have no comfort that way. All things in my former life have been vain.”
On being asked whether he did not desire life merely to have it in his power to glorify God, he answered, “I have vowed my life unto God, and if He cut me off, and suffer me to live no longer, I shall glorify Him, and give up myself to his service.”
The nearer death approached, the more his consolation and hopes increased. A short time before his dissolution, he lifted up his eyes and hands, and uttered these words, “I would not change my joy for the empire of the world.”
His advice and observations, on taking the last leave of his deeply afflicted brother, are worthy of remembrance. They appear to have been expressed with great seriousness and composure. “Love my memory; cherish my friends. Their fidelity to me may assure you that they are honest. But, above all, govern your will and affections, by the will and word of your Creator. In me behold the end of the world and all its vanities.” — Power of Religion.
199 — “I SEE ANGELS CLAPPING THEIR HANDS AROUND THE GREAT WHITE THRONE.”
Eva Greening, who was nine years old, passed from the terrestrial to the celestial state at half past four o’clock January 4,1887. She realized that she must die, about two o’clock on the day previous, without anyone telling her. She commenced clapping her hands and shouting praises to God. She sang several hymns; not remembering words to one or two, she made words so appropriate that I knew her mind was wonderfully illuminated by the Holy Ghost. She said she was so happy, and so glad papa and mamma had trained her to be a Christian.
Mr. and Mrs. Steele and daughters (her grandparents and aunts) came in. She called them one at a time to her bedside and asked and plead with them to be true Christians and meet her in heaven. She asked Mr. Steele to send for her uncle, Willie Steele, who lives in Los Angeles. Willie came on the first train. She called him to her bedside and asked him to quit sinning and come to Jesus and be a good man and meet her in heaven. We sent for our little girl, who was at Mr. Butler’s, and when she came Eva called her and told her she was almost home, to be a good girl, live a Christian and meet her in heaven.
A lady whom Eva loved came in. She had on jewelry. Eva admonished her to put off her jewelry and put on white robes (meaning robes of righteousness) and prepare to meet her around the great white throne. We had taught Eva that wearing jewelry was positively forbidden in God’s word, and that such personal adornment was an evidence of pride and vanity, and that money so expended ought to be used to spread the gospel and to relieve the poor.
We sang several hymns for her, such as I knew she loved. We could not find one we wanted to sing, and although she was getting so weak she could hardly speak, she told us the words so that we could find it. While she was lying perfectly still and calm, she said, “I see stars.”
Mr. Steele asked her what they looked like. She said, “Bright lights, the stars of God. I see an angel.”
Mr. Steele asked how he looked. She said, “He has on white robes.” She again said, “I see angels clapping their hands around the great white throne.”
A few minutes before she died, when she could not speak, I asked if she saw me. She shook her head. I asked if she saw Jesus. She nodded that she did. There were members of several different denominations, which are not in sympathy with holiness people, in the room, who expressed themselves as not doubting the soundness of Eva’s mind and the truth of her statements.
Eva had been a true Christian most of the time for more than two years. As she swept through the gates she left a stream of living light that will shine down through future ages with brilliancy and effect, to an extent that will never be known until the final harvest.
For more than a year before, at our family devotions, morning and evening, after I lead in prayer, Eva would pray, and continued to pray aloud at our worship until the day before her death. In speaking of heaven when dying, she said, “Nothing but holiness can carry us through.” I never before understood the comforting power of the Holy Ghost while passing through the shadow of death. Indeed, while Eva was dying, it was manifested to us that death was only a shadow that she was passing through.
Although our home is left so desolate, and when I go home at noon and night I no longer receive the happy greeting I always received, yet the Holy Ghost comforts us. Myself and wife willingly submit to the wisdom of God, knowing that he knows best and that everything works together for good to them that love Him. — By her father, E. G. Greening, Downey, Los Angeles, Cal.
200 — LAST WORDS OF Charles V
Charles V., Emperor of Germany, King of Spain, and Lord of the Netherlands, was born at Ghent in the year 1500.
He is said to have fought sixty battles, in most of which he was victorious; to have obtained six triumphs, conquered four kingdoms, and to have added eight principalities to his dominions — an almost unparalleled instance of worldly prosperity, and the greatness of human glory.
But all these fruits of his ambition, and all the honors that attended him, could not yield true and solid satisfaction. Reflecting on the evils and miseries which he occasioned, and convinced of the emptiness of earthly magnificence, he became disgusted with all the splendor that surrounded him, and thought it his duty to withdraw from it, and spend the rest of his days in religious retirement. Accordingly, he voluntarily resigned all his dominions to his brother and son, and after taking an affectionate and last farewell of the latter, and of a numerous retinue of princes and nobility that respectfully attended him, he repaired to his chosen retreat. It was situated in Spain, in a vale of no great extent, watered by a small brook, and surrounded with rising grounds covered with lofty trees.
A deep sense of his frail condition and great imperfections, appears to have impressed his mind in this extraordinary resolution and through the remainder of his life. As soon as he landed in Spain, he fell prostrate on the ground, and considering himself now as dead to the world, he kissed the earth, and said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of mankind.”
In this humble retreat he spent his time in religious exercises and innocent employments; and buried here, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vast projects which, for nearly half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe, and filled every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subjected to his power. Far from taking any part in the political transactions of the world, he restrained his curiosity even from any inquiry concerning them; and seemed to view the busy scene he had abandoned, with an elevation and indifference of mind which arose from a thorough experience of its vanity, as well as from the pleasing reflection of having disengaged himself from its cares and temptations.
Here he enjoyed more solid happiness than all his grandeur had ever yielded him, as a full proof of which he has left this short but comprehensive testimony: “I have tasted more satisfaction in my solitude in one day than in all the triumphs of my former reign. The sincere study, profession and practice of the Christian religion have in them such joys and sweetness as are seldom found in courts and grandeur.” — Power of Religion.
201 — BISHOP HANBY — “I AM IN THE MIDST OF GLORY!”
Bishop Hanby was a devoted preacher of the United Brethren Church. — Editor.
Awhile before he died the bishop was observed, by his daughter who sat near his couch, to be weeping. “What is it father?” was the tender inquiry.
“Oh, I am so happy,” was the reply. “My long, toilsome journey is nearly ended; my life work is joyfully over; half of my children are already safe in heaven, and I am just as sure the rest will be. Half are safe at home, and all the rest are on the way. Mother is there (referring to his wife), and in a little while I shall be there, too. These lines are in my mind constantly:
‘The Lord my Shepherd is,
I shall be well supplied;
Since He is mine, and I am His,
What can I want beside?'”
After he had descended into the river, he shouted back, “I’m in the midst of glory!” — From Life to Life.
202 — AN AWFUL JUDGMENT ON A YOUNG MAN
The following incident from the pen of Sister M. A. Sparling, Claremont, N. H., is an illustration of the words of Holy Writ, that “the wicked is ruined in the work of his own hands.” She writes:
While reading Echo From the Border Land, something said, “You have an echo from the ‘lower region.'” If it were Father’s will, I’d love to stand up in your congregation and deliver the message I can now only write.
A few years ago I was at a camp-meeting in Rockingham, Vt., and a gang of rowdies got together to set a time to break up the whole meeting. They lived eight miles away. So on Thursday evening they came to the ground to accomplish their fiendish work and “have their fun,” as they told some of their friends. Their plan was to lay trails of powder into every tent, and under the beds, and when the town clock struck twelve all were to touch fire to the powder and run to a distance and see the frightened women and children run and scream.
At ten a distant thunder was heard, and while they were waiting for the horn to start the fire God sent one of the most terrific thunder and hail storms I ever witnessed. It had been a hot day and these young men had no overcoats to put on, and as their last resort, after seeing their powder all wet and their plans defeated, they were compelled to ride back to their homes, eight miles, all drenched with rain and chilled through. The ringleader had to be carried into the house, benumbed. His mother tried for hours to get him warm. Then came a burning fever. And then he called his dear mother and told her what he had done, saying, “Mother, I’ve got to die! Do pray! Do pray! What shall I do? O, how can I die?”
She said, “I never prayed.”
“Then call father,” cried the dying man. He could not pray. Then he cried, “What shall I do? O, how can I die?” Then he would clutch his hands and ring them in agony, crying, “I can’t die so! I can’t die so! Mother, mother, do pray! do pray!”
The father went for a Baptist deacon, but before he arrived the young man was past help, and with distorted eyes, hands uplifted over his head, and writhing in agony, he died raving: and among his last words were: “I’m going to hell; I’m lost, lost, lost! I can’t die so! I can’t, I can’t! Mother, ’tis awful to go to hell this way!” — The Revivalist.
203 — “HOW BEAUTIFUL EVERYTHING APPEARS.”
Bro. Samuel G. Bingaman, of Williams, Oregon, sends us this touching experience. He says:
When I was a soldier in Memphis, Missouri, a comrade said to me, “I wish you would go over to that house yonder and stay with them to-night, for they are in a terrible condition there.”
About dark I went over, and found things in a terrible state. The house was dilapidated — almost ready to fall down, and the cellar was full of muddy water. I ascended an old pair of stairs on the outside of the house, and entered a small room — the house of affliction, the drunkard’s home. It contained no furniture, not even chairs or bedsteads, nothing but an old trunk, on which an elderly lady sat, and held in her arms a little child, almost dead, while on the floor lay another that had died but a few minutes before, and a third one was very low. The lady then pointed to an old pile of dirty bed quilts on the floor in one corner of the room, saying, “There lies the mother, and we don’t think that she will live until morning; and worse than all this (we thought, What can be worse?), we are looking for the father to come home to-night, drunk.”
About midnight he came; but that awful scene of the dead and dying did not affect the poor drunkard’s heart. He drew out his bottle of whiskey and begged me to drink with him!
But there was one of that family who was deeply penitent, and earnestly desired to “flee from the wrath to come” — it was the broken-hearted mother. At her request I often visited her, and talked to her of the Savior, and sang to her of heaven.
One day while calling to see her, I found her cold, and sinking fast. Death was folding her in his cold embrace. But just as those dark billows of death were rolling over her, they were suddenly turned to bright dashing waves of glory. She looked up and said, “How beautiful everything appears.”
A lady who was present at her dying bedside said to her, “I do not see anything beautiful.”
“No,” replied the dying woman, “there is nothing in this house but dirt and rags, but I see things beautiful and lovely.” Her face then lit up with a happy look, and with a smile upon her countenance, her spirit took its flight to bright mansions of bliss. As I stood and looked upon her lifeless form, with the peaceful expression on her face: I thought, surely death to the child of God is but the gate of heaven.
204 — LAST WORDS OF JESSE APPLETON, D. D. — “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!”
This saint of God was a prominent educator, and for some time president of Bowdoin College. Dr. Appleton was also a noted Congregationalist preacher and theologian.
He was born in 1772 and died in 1819. His last words were: “Glory to God in the highest; the whole earth shall be filled with his glory.”
205 — REV. JESSE LEE — “GLORY! GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! JESUS REIGNS!”
This apostle of New England Methodism was born in Virginia in 1758, and was powerfully converted and joined the church in 1773. He was a Holy Ghost preacher, and a great revivalist. Much of his time was spent in traveling and preaching from the year 1787 to 1800.
He was three times chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, and also wrote a history of American Methodism.
He died in 1816, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. As the time for his departure drew near, he suddenly, in a rapture, exclaimed, “Glory! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Jesus reigns!”
206 — I HAVE BEEN IN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, AND HAVE SEEN THE REDEEMED ONES.”
Mrs. J. Ransom, of Lawrence, Michigan, with whom we are well acquainted, sends us this touching experience:
Hannah was the wife of a Methodist minister. She was much beloved by all who knew her. Her whole soul was engaged in the work of the Lord, but consumption laid its withering hand upon her, and she went home to die. She was very triumphant as she drew near to the river. Her spirit seemed to have taken its flight, and they were about to close her eyes, when she aroused with a heavenly light on her face and said, “I have been in such a beautiful place, and saw the redeemed ones.”
Her mother said, “Did you know them?”
She replied, “Some I knew, and some I did not.”
Her husband asked, “Did you see our baby?” (a little one who had died a short time before,)
She said, “Yes, I saw my baby.”
And after talking for some time in the same rapturous strain, the glad spirit soared away to join the happy throng.
207 — GIDEON OUSLEY — “THE SPIRIT OF GOD SUSTAINS ME.”
The life of this remarkable Irish preacher, who spent most of his long life traveling through Ireland on horseback, and preaching to the humble poor from his saddle, was written by the Rev. William Arthur, author of The Tongue of Fire. The Lord saved Ousley from a life of sin and dissipation, and made him a power for good, and many were turned from the evil of their ways through his influence.
The village of Dunmore, in the County of Galway, in the province of Connaught, Ireland, was Gideon Ousley’s birthplace. He was born on the 24th of February, 1762. We quote the following from Life Stories of Remarkable Preachers, by Rev. J. Vaughan:
In the latter part of his life Gideon Ousley did more good by his publications than by his preaching. No man was better qualified to grapple with the errors of popery than he, and this he did right manfully. His principal work, which was written in clear and popular style, was his Old Christianity, which did a vast amount of good. Some of his tracts, too, were scattered broad, cast over the country.
This man of God, who, on account of his preaching so frequently from the saddle, was called by many a “Cavalry preacher,” had faithfully served his God as a Mission rider and preacher on Irish soil for forty years, when on coming to Dublin at the close of his seventy-seventh, year, he became too weak to leave his lodgings. His faithful Harriet was soon at his bedside. It soon became evident that his work was done. Being asked what he thought of the gospel which he had preached for so many years, he replied, “Oh, it is light, and life, and peace.” The last words he uttered were, “I have no fear of death — the Spirit of God sustains me — God’s Spirit is my support.”
About mid-day on the 13th of May, 1839, he entered into that rest that remaineth for the people of God. Fourteen years afterwards his gentle and loving wife followed him to the land of life and glory.
208 — DYING WITHOUT GOD
A youth at one of the large iron works in Sheffield was some time ago accidentally thrown on to a red hot armor plate. When he was rolled off by his fellow-workmen, it was doubtful if he could live, as nearly all one side of him was burned to the bone. His work mates cried, “Send for the doctor,” but the poor suffering youth cried, “Never mind sending for the doctor; is there anyone here can tell me how to get saved? My soul has been neglected, and I’m dying without God. Who can help me?”
Although there were three hundred men around him, there was no one who could tell him the way of salvation. After twenty minutes of untold agony he died as he had lived.
The man who saw this accident, and heard the cries of the dying youth, was a wretched backslider, and when I asked him how he felt about the matter, he said, “I have heard his cries ever since, and wished I could have stooped down and pointed him to Jesus, but my life closed my lips.”
Does your life tell sinners that you are saved, or does it close your lips, when those around hear your talk and witness your actions? — William Baugh.
209 — THE LORD GAVE HER STRENGTH TO PRAISE HIM TO THE LAST
While we were holding revival meetings at Miller’s Landing, Missouri, over twenty years ago, a very sick woman living in the village desired to see us. We called at her home, and found her on her death-bed. She had heard of the revival meetings, and how God had opened the windows of heaven and poured out a great blessing on the community. A number had already been gloriously saved. The Lord used the influence of this revival to awaken in her heart a great desire for a deeper and richer experience. We were greatly blessed in praying and singing with her, and we remember well how she shouted and praised the Lord and clapped her hands for joy while we sang,
“My heavenly home is bright and fair:
No pain, nor death can enter there:
Its glittering towers the sun outshine:
That heavenly mansion shall be mine.”
She was so greatly blessed of God that she praised the Lord night and day. She died in a few days praising God with almost every breath. We preached her funeral sermon to a large congregation of sympathizing friends. We were impressed with the fact that she was unable to talk above a whisper on other subjects, yet while she was under the influence of the Holy Spirit she could shout and praise the Lord with a loud and strong voice. The Lord gave her strength to praise Him to the last, and she had a triumphant entrance into the courts of glory.
We are thankful for the privilege of witnessing such a triumphant death, and pray that our readers may so live that God can bless them in prosperity, in affliction, and under all circumstances and give them an abundant entrance into that city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. — Editor.
210 — “HE IS COME! MY BELOVED IS MINE AND I AM HIS FOREVER!”
“The life of Thomas Walsh,” says Dr. Southey, “might almost convince a Catholic that saints were to be found in other communions as well as in the Church of Rome.”
Walsh became a great biblical scholar; he was an Irishman. He mastered the native Irish that he might preach in it, but Latin, Greek and Hebrew became familiar to him, and of the Hebrew, especially, it is said that he studied so deeply that his mind was an entire concordance of the whole Bible.
His soul was as a flame of fire, but it burnt out the body quickly. John Wesley says of him, “I do not remember ever to have known a man who, in so few years as he remained on earth, was the instrument of converting so many sinners.”
He became mighty in his influence over the Roman Catholics. The priests said that “Walsh had died some years ago, and that he who went about preaching on mountains and highways, in meadows, private houses, prisons and ships, was a devil who had assumed his shape.” This was the only way in which they could account for the extraordinary influence he possessed.
His labors were greatly divided between Ireland and London; but everywhere he bore down all before him by a kind of absorbed ecstasy of ardent faith.
But he died at the age of twenty-seven. While lying on his death-bed he was oppressed with a sense of despair, even of his salvation. The sufferings of his mind on this account were intense. At last he broke out in an exclamation, “He is come! He is come! My Beloved is mine, and I am His forever!” and so he fell back and died.
Thomas Walsh is a great name still in the records of the lay preachers of early Methodism. — The Great Revival.
211 — A MOTHER’S LAST WORDS — “I AM GOING TO LEAVE YOU; I AM GOING TO HEAVEN NOW; GOOD-BYE.”
Some of the experiences of this book are very touching, but the experience of my own precious, sainted mother, Joanna M. Shaw, is so closely related to my own that my heart is greatly moved whenever I think of her life and death. She was born in Ohio, Dec. 28, 1835; died in Lake Co., Indiana, near Crown Point, March 11, 1867.
Her father’s family, including eight children, moved to Lake Co., Indiana, in the spring of 1845.
“During the winter of 1847 Rev. H. B. Ball, of the Methodist Church, held a revival meeting in the community in the new log church, when many were converted, and one night during this revival meeting,” writes her brother, Rev. R. H. Sanders, of Laport, Indiana, “after listening to a sermon preached from the text, ‘ One sinner destroyeth much good’ (Eccl. 9:8), and while they were singing,
‘There is a spot to me more dear
Than native vale or mountain,
A spot for which affection’s tear
Springs grateful from its fountain.
‘Tis not where kindred souls abound.
Though that is almost heaven;
But where I first my Savior found,
And felt my sins forgiven!’
I knelt at the old-fashioned mourner’s bench. Your mother knelt by my side, and together we sought and found the Savior. After that we often sang,
‘My brethren, I have found
A land that doth abound
With food as sweet as manna,’ etc.
I feel she is still singing it above, and I below. While I write, her spirit seems very near me; and I can almost hear her as then, singing,
‘My soul doth long to go
Where it shall fully know
The beauties of my Savior,’ etc.
Your mother’s was a very clear conversion, as well as my own. I do not think she ever doubted it. Her life was a very exemplary one; she seemed to possess her soul in patience, having abiding faith in God, from whom she also received great consolation. Knowing her life as I did, I do not wonder that, though death came suddenly and apparently without warning, it found her ready. As nearly as I can remember, the circumstances as related by your father to me are about these:
“She had been suffering for a few days with a cold, but nothing serious was anticipated. She arose in the morning, but soon complained of dizziness and either fell, or was about to fall, when your father helped her to the bed, where for a few moments she remained unconscious, or apparently so. Then, reviving, she opened her eyes and said to him, “I am going to heaven. Bring up the children in the fear of the Lord, and meet me there. And now, good-by,” when she again became unconscious, and her spirit fled to be with Jesus; and yet, as I verily believe, to linger near and woo us heavenward.”
Uncle is a member of the Northwest Indiana Conference of the M. E. Church, and has preached the gospel for nearly forty years. A great many have been saved through his influence. He was in his fourteenth year, and mother in her twelfth, when they were made new creatures in Christ.
She was married when quite young, and I was the first-born of her five children. My earliest recollection of my mother was when she knelt by my little trundle bed at night, and taught me to say,
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.”
The first seed of divine truth was planted in my heart at that time. How well do I remember the heart stings and the dark cloud that came over our humble little country home the morning that mother left us. We all wept as though our hearts would break. How the cross words and unkind actions that I had given her haunted me night and day until her prayers were answered. And how I cried to mother’s God for mercy; and my sins against mother and God were forever swept away by the blood of Christ.
Words can never describe my thankfulness for being able to say that I never saw my mother angry or out of patience. I often saw her in tears, weeping over my disobedience, and other sins of the family. I have often knelt by her grave and wept for joy while thanking God for her holy life and example. Often in revival meetings I have been melted to tears while relating her dying words and how her godly influence led to my salvation. The value and influence of her Christian life will never be known until we meet in heaven. — Editor.
212 — “I CAN SEE THROUGH — I AM GOING NOW.”
Who would not exclaim “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his,” when they read such an account as this which we condense from a report by Rev. C. B. Jernigan, secretary of Texas Holiness Association, in the “Texas Holiness Advocate.” We are well acquainted with Bro. Jernigan, who preached the funeral sermon of the one of whom he writes. — Editor.
Brother Frank M. Major of Van Alstyne, Texas, was converted in 1888, in his sixteenth year, and was blessedly sanctified four years before his death at Elmont, Texas.
He was stricken with typhoid fever, November 6, 1900, of which he died fourteen days later, in the full triumph of the Christian faith. On being spoken to in the morning of the day before his death, he said: “I don’t know just what has passed since I have been sick; it all seems to me like a fairy story.”
In a little while he was in an ecstasy of joy. His brother John coming in said: “Frank, we ought to thank God for his goodness to us.”
With a beam of glory upon his face he replied, “The best of all is to be one of His angels.” Later he said to his brother, Judge R. Major: “Judge, it’s wonderful to be free, isn’t it? It’s glorious to think of going to heaven.” A little later when some flowers were brought in, he said: “They are so beautiful; a few more would be just like heaven.”
On the following morning, long after the attending physicians had thought him in the throes of death, he said: “We are going to have a testimony meeting before I go. Light the lamp and get the books.”
On being asked if it was dark, he said yes. His wife asked him what song he wanted sung. He replied, “Any one, the Revival is full of them.” Thinking his request a mental wandering, it was not complied with at once. A few moments later he said “Johnnie, sing ‘There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes.'”
For days he had been able to talk only in short, broken sentences, but now to the surprise of all he joined in and sang bass with a full, strong voice, while a beam of heavenly glory rested on his face. Then he said, “There are plenty more.” When they sang “‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” he sang the last stanza alone — “I’m so glad I learned to trust him.” Then he sang alone with wonderful appropriateness:
“I will sing you a song of that beautiful land,
The far away home of the soul;
Where no storms ever beat on that glittering strand,
While the years of eternity roll.”
At the close he said: “Bless the Lord, I had rather have salvation than to own all the world; the world passeth away, but salvation is forever. I am so glad I’m sanctified; for four years I have been walking just where God wanted me to walk. My path has been strewn with flowers. I have had trials and difficulties, but God’s grace was sufficient for me. It’s all joy now. I like a faith good for a cloudy day, as well as a sunshiny day.”
Some one said “Frank, the Lord is blessing you now.”
He replied “He has always blessed me when I trusted Him.” Then he said “If there are any here unsaved, let them come around the bed, for if we come unto the Lord He will in no wise cast us out, for whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then he sang:
“I dreamed that the great judgment morning,
Had dawned and the trumpet had blown;
I dreamed that the nations had gathered
To Judgment before the white throne.
From the throne came a bright shining angel
And stood on the land and the sea,
And swore with his hand raised to heaven,
That time was no longer to be.”
One of the attending physicians seeing the power on him, said: “Frank, your work is not done; the Lord can use you yet. Don’t you believe He is able to raise you up?”
He answered “Yes, if he is willing.”
“But,” said the physician, “don’t you think he is willing? The Bible says ‘whatsoever you ask in my name believing ye shall receive.”
Frank replied “I look at it in this way: Sometimes God can get more glory out of a man’s death than his life. Sometimes one prays for healing and God gives him the assurance before he gets the healing; another man just as good as him, may pray for the same but gets no assurance and can’t claim the promise. If all could pray the prayer of faith no good man would ever die.”
A little later Judge Major said to him, “Frank, you will soon be with little John and Ethel and Pa. Tell them I’m coming.” Smiling he nodded assent. A few moments later when his niece came in he took her by the hand and sung in a low, sweet voice:
“Oh the soul thrilling rapture when I view his blessed face,
And the luster of his kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for His mercy, love and grace,
That prepares for me a mansion in the sky.
Oh the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And the parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home,
But I long to see my Savior first of all.”
A moment later he said, “I can see through. I am going now.” Then, after a severe paroxysm, with the chill of death upon him, he said, “I am so tired. I have my stick and gown; I am going;” and he fell asleep in Jesus.
“O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
213 — “I’M COMING, MAMA.”
These were among the last words of a young girl seventeen years of age whose mother died when she was a babe. Her name was Susie Craig. Her home was in Muddlety, Nicholas County, West Virginia, and the facts were given us by her older sister, Mrs. Aggie Thomas of Erbacon, in the same state. For three years she had been an earnest, devoted Christian. After three weeks illness of typhoid fever, it was evident she was very near death. Her father was weeping in a room adjoining the one in which she was lying. She heard him and said, “Tell him not to cry — tell them all not to shed a tear for me.” Then after speaking of the band of angels all around her she added: “Yes, there’s ma — I’m coming ma,” and then “O, Maggie,” and thus greeting the friends from the other shore, she went to be with them and with her Saviour.
Her words, “O Maggie” were the more remarkable from the fact that Maggie was a cousin — also an earnest Christian — who had died only two days before, and of whose death the dying girl had not been informed.
214 — “I LIKE YOU TOO.”
Mrs. Fannie D. Bailey, of Kirksville, Mo., furnished us the following account of the illness and death of her little son, Willie Emmett, when six years and six months old.
His sickness was characterized by much patience and sweetness of spirit which could not fail to impress every beholder with an influence for God and heaven. On Sunday morning preceding his death, which occurred that night about midnight, we thought he was going — as his whole appearance gave evidence that death was doing his final work. He requested us to send for one of the neighbor women and also for a minister and his wife with whom he was well acquainted. We complied with his request. Then he wished us to place many chairs in the room and send for his schoolmates and a “lot of people.” We understood that he wished us to have a gospel service which we did, and while the singing and prayers were in progress he remained perfectly quiet as if comforted and calmed and satisfied.
When I asked him to whom I should give his pretty blocks, he said to give them to Jewell (his little cousin) and he then said, “You can give the rest of my things to whoever you want to.”
I said, “If the Lord takes you to heaven, darling, do you want Brother Thorson to preach your funeral?” He nodded yes, but after a little pause he said in tones that still ring in my soul, “I want you to.”
About midnight while we were watching the little sufferer as he sat in his arm chair (he could not lie down as his disease was dropsy) he said, “I have to go.”
I said, “Where are you going, darling?”
He answered, “Home.” He would look all around the room with an upward gaze and then exclaimed, “See! see! they are coming.” These we doubt not were the angelic messengers that were waiting to convey him to glory. He said, “Where’s mama?”
I sat in front of him and he said, “I like mama.” He always used “like” for “love.” He then pointed his forefinger toward Mr. Bailey, his step-father, and said, “I like you too.” He then pointed towards Sister Ludden and repeated the same words; also to his Aunt Minda who sat near him he said, “I like you too,” and pulled her down to kiss her. Then after a pause he lifted both hands high above his head and looking upwards he exclaimed, with angelic sweetness in his face and voice, “I like you too,” then closed his eyes and fell asleep in Jesus.
215 — “I KNOW THAT JESUS SAVES ME, AND THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ME.”
These were the last words of little Maud Henderson, of Higdon, Arkansas, only seven years of age. Evangelist R. E. Smallwood, who preached the funeral sermon, writes us that during her last illness her parents bought for her a copy of our Children’s Edition of “Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer,” and that it was through hearing it read that little Maud learned to pray and trust in Jesus, and was enabled to so gloriously triumph when death came to her. Six days before her death she said she was going to be with her brother in heaven.
216 — JOHN ARTHUR LYTH
“I shall soon be with Jesus. Perhaps I am too anxious. Can this be death? Why, it’s better than living! Tell them I die happy in Jesus.”
217 — BISHOP PIERCE
“Rest, happiness and peace forever.”
218 — REV. JOHN WARBURTON
“O! What a blaze and a shout there will be when old John gets to heaven.”
219 — REV. PHILIP HECK
“Oh! how beautiful. The opening heavens around me shine.”
220 — MISS MARTHA MCCRACKIN
“How bright the room; how full of angels! ”
221 — BENJAMIN ABBOTT
“Glory to God, I see the heavens open before me.”
222 — REV. FRANCIS BRAZEE
“They sing! The angels sing!”
223 — REV. THOMAS H. STOCKTON
“I shall receive the crown of glory.”
224 — REV. ALFRED CROLL
“Is this dying? Is this dying? No, it is sweet living.”
225 — REV. WILLIAM STEPHENSON
“Do you see that bright light? Do you see those angels?”
226 — JOHN BUNYAN
“We shall meet ere long to sing the new song, and remain happy forever in a world without end.”
227 — REV. SOLOMON BIGHAM
“I am sure of heaven, and will not have to wait long till I get there.”
228 — JACOB EIGHENINGER
“I see Jesus.”
229 — MOTHER MARGARET PRIOR
“Eternity rolls up before me like a sea of glory, and so near. Oh! that blessed company of redeemed sinners, and the glorious Jesus! What a Savior; and He is mine. Oh! what a speck of time is the longest life to prepare for that blessed world.”
230 — REV. P. CORL
“Oh, I see such a fullness in Christ as I never saw before. Tell the people I am trusting in a full salvation.”
231 — REV. DAVID S. MONTGOMERY
“I am on the border-land. All is well, all is well. Is this death? If this be death, then it is pleasant to die.”
232 — SIR CICELY ORMES, MARTYR
“Welcome, thou cross of Christ!” After the fire was kindled, she said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior.”
233 — THOMAS HUDSON, MARTYR
When the flames were rising about him, he slipped from under the chain which held his body to the stake, and, falling on his knees amidst the burning pile, his spirit wrestled with God. The martyr arose and exclaimed, “Now, I thank God, I am strong, and care not what man can do to me!”
234 — GOVERNOR JOHN BROOKS, LL.D.
“O, what a ground of hope there is in that laying of an apostle, that God is in Christ, reconciling the guilty world to Himself; not imputing their trespasses unto them! In God I have placed my eternal all, and into His hands I commit my spirit!”
235 — RICHARD BAXTER
“I have pain, there is no arguing against sense, but I have peace.”
236 — D. L. MOODY
“If this is death, there is no valley. This is glorious. I have been within the gates and I saw the children, Dwight and Irene” (his two grandchildren who had died). “Earth is receding. Heaven is approaching. God is calling me.”