By S.B. Shaw
026 -- THE AWFUL END OF A BACKSLIDER
The following is a short account of the life and death of William Pope, of Bolton, in Lancashire. He was at one time a member of the Methodist Society, and was a saved and happy man. His wife, a devoted saint, died triumphantly. After her death his zeal for religion declined, and by associating with back-slidden professors he entered the path of ruin. His companions even professed to believe in the redemption of devils. William became an admirer of their scheme, a frequenter with them of the public-house, and in time a common drunkard.
He finally became a disciple of Thomas Paine, and associated himself with a number of deistical persons at Bolton, who assembled together on Sundays to confirm each other in their infidelity. They amused themselves with throwing the Word of God on the floor, kicking it around the room, and treading it under their feet. God laid His hand on this man's body, and he was seized with consumption.
Mr. Rhodes was requested to visit William Pope. He says: "When I first saw him he said to me, 'Last night I believe I was in hell, and felt the horrors and torment of the dammed; but God has brought me back again, and given me a little longer respite. The gloom of guilty terror does not sit so heavy upon me as it did, and I have something like a faint hope that, after all I have done, God may yet save me.'
After exhorting him to repentance and confidence in the Almighty Savior, I prayed with him and left him. In the evening he sent for me again. I found him in the utmost distress, overwhelmed with bitter anguish and despair. I endeavored to encourage him. I spoke of the infinite merit of the great Redeemer, and mentioned several cases in which God had saved the greatest sinners, but he answered, 'No case of any that has been mentioned is comparable to mine. I have no contrition! I cannot repent! God will damn me! I know the day of grace is lost. God has said of such as are in my case, "I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh,"'
I said, 'Have you ever known anything of the mercy and love of God?'
'Oh, yes,' he replied, 'many years ago I truly repented and sought the Lord and found peace and happiness.'
I prayed with him after exhorting him to seek the Lord, and had great hopes of his salvation. He appeared much affected, and begged I would represent his case in our Society and pray for him. I did so that evening, and many hearty petitions were put up for him.
Mr. Barraclough gives the following account of what he witnessed. He says: "I went to see William Pope, and as soon as he saw me he exclaimed, 'You are come to see one who is damned forever!'
I answered, 'I hope not; Christ can save the chief of sinners.'
He replied, 'I have denied Him, I have denied Him; therefore hath He cast me off forever! I know the day of grace is past, gone -- gone, never more to return!'
I entreated him not to be too hasty, and to pray. He answered, 'I cannot pray! My heart is quite hardened, I have no desire to receive any blessing at the hand of God,' and then cried out, 'Oh, the hell, the torment, the fire that I feel within reel. Oh, eternity.' eternity! To dwell forever with devils and damned spirits in the burning lake must be my portion, and that justly!'
On Thursday I found him groaning under the weight of the displeasure of God. His eyes roiled to and fro; he lifted up his hands, and with vehemence cried out, 'Oh, the burning flame, the hell, the pain I feel! I have done, done the deed, the horrible, damnable deed!'
I prayed with him, and while I was praying he said with inexpressible rage, 'I will not have salvation at the hand of God! No, no! I will not ask it of Him.'
After a short pause, he cried out, 'Oh, how I long to be in the bottomless pit -- in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone!'
The day following I saw him again. I said, 'William, your pain is inexpressible.'
He groaned, and with a loud voice cried out, 'Eternity will explain my torments. I tell you again, I am damned. I will not have salvation.'
He called me to him as if to speak to me, but as soon as I came within his reach he struck me on the head with all his might, and gnashing his teeth, cried out, 'God will not hear your prayers.'
At another time he said, 'I have crucified the Son of God afresh, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing! Oh, that wicked and horrible deed of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, which I know I have committed!'
He was often heard to exclaim, 'I want nothing but hell! Come, O devil, and take me!' At another time he said, 'Oh, what a terrible thing it is! Once I might, and would not: now I would and must not.' He declared that he was best satisfied when cursing.
The day he died, when Mr. Rhodes visited him, and asked the privilege to pray once more with him, he cried out with great strength, considering his weakness, 'No!' and passed away in the evening without God."
Backslider, do you know you are in danger of the fires of hell? Do you know you are fast approaching the:
"Line by us unseen
That crosses every path,
That marks the boundary between
God's mercy and His wrath."
You are, and unless you turn quickly, you with William Pope will be writhing in hell through all eternity. God says, "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." But He says again, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." Oh, come back and be healed before God shall say of you, "He is joined to his idols, let him alone." -- Remarkable Narratives
027 -- THE ADVICE OF ETHAN ALLEN, THE NOTED INFIDEL, TO HIS DYING DAUGHTER
Though the following biographic note may be familiar to some, it may yet be useful to many. Ethan Allen was a professed infidel. He wrote a book against the divinity of our blessed Lord. His wife was a Christian, earnest, cheerful and devoted. She died early, leaving an only daughter behind, who became the idol of her father. She was a fragile, sensitive child, and entwined herself about the rugged nature of her sire, as the vine entwines itself about the knotty and gnarled limbs of the oak. Consumption marked this fair girl for its own; and she wasted away day by day, until even the grasshopper became a burden.
One day her father came into her room and sat down by her bedside. He took her wan, ethereal hand in his. Looking her father squarely in the face, she said:
"My dear father, I'm going to die."
"Oh! no, my child! Oh! no. The spring is coming and with the birds and breezes and the bloom, your pale cheeks will blush with health."
"No, the doctor was here today. I felt I was nearing the grave, and I asked him to tell me plainly what I had to expect. I told him that it was a great thing to exchange worlds; that I did not wish to be deceived about myself, and if I was going to die I had some preparations I wanted to make. He told me my disease was beyond human skill; that a few more suns would rise and set, and then I would be borne to my burial. You will bury me, father, by the side of my mother, for that was her dying request. But father, you and mother did not agree on religion. Mother often spoke to me of the blessed Savior who died for us all. She used to pray for both you and me, that the Savior might be our friend, and that we might all see Him as our Savior, when He sits enthroned in His glory. I don't feel that I can go alone through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Now, tell me, father, whom shall I follow, you or mother? Shall I reject Christ, as you have taught me, or shall I accept Him, as He was my mother's friend in the hour of her great sorrow?"
There was an honest heart beneath that rough exterior. Though tears nearly choked his utterance, the old soldier said:
"My child, cling to your mother's Savior; she was right. I'll try to follow you to that blessed abode."
A serene smile over-spread the face of the dying girl, and who can doubt there is an unbroken family in heaven.
028 -- "MA, I SHALL BE THE FIRST OF OUR FAMILY OVER YONDER."
Asa Hart Alling, eldest son of Rev. J. H. and Jennie E. Alling, of Rock River Conference, was born Dec. 20, 1866, in Newark, Kendall County, Ill.; and died in Chicago, April 19, 1881. He was converted and united with the church at Morris when eleven. His conversion was clear and well defined, and his Christian life eminently satisfactory. He was regularly present at worship, and frequently took part. He would invariably close his prayer by asking the Lord to keep him "from bad boys." He assisted cheerfully in the fulfillment of his own prayer, and made choice of the more noble youths of his own age. And while most boys were devoting their spare time to fun and rude sport, he was applying himself to works of benevolence and humanity, and numbers of aged and infirm people living near Simpson church will bear record of the good deeds by his youthful hands.
In the public school he took high rank, and led his classmates. For his years he was well advanced. Friday, April 15, he complained of being ill, but insisted upon going to school. He returned in distress, took to his bed, and did not leave it. He was smitten with cerebro-spinal meningitis, and was at times in agony. Through it all he proved himself a hero and a Christian conqueror. He realized that his sickness would terminate fatally, and talked about death with composure.
He put his arms about his mother's neck, and gently drawing her face close to his own, said, "Ma, I shall be the first of our family over yonder, but I will stand on the shore and wait for you all to come."
He requested his mother to sing for him, "Pull for the shore." She being completely overcome with grief could not sing. He said, "Never mind, ma; you will sing it after I am gone, won't you?"
To a Christian lady who came to see him, he said, "You sing for me. Sing 'Hold the fort:'" She sang it. "Now sing 'Hallelujah: 'Tis done.'" He fully realized that the work of his salvation was done, and he was holding the fort till he should be called up higher.
He bestowed his treasures upon his brother and sisters. He gave his Bible to his brother Treat; and as he did so said to his father, "Pa, tell aunty, who gave me this Bible, that I died a Christian."
His last hours of consciousness were rapidly closing. He remarked, "Ma, I shall not live till morning; I am so tired, and will go to sleep. If I do not wake up, good-bye; good-bye all."
A short time afterward he fell asleep. He was not, for God had taken him. He had reached the shores of eternal life for which he had pulled so earnestly and with success. His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people, who thronged the church. The services were conducted by several of the Chicago pastors, and were very impressive and instructive. We all felt as if we had lost a treasure, and heaven had gained a jewel. -- G. A. Vanhorne
029 -- "TAKE THEM AWAY -- TAKE THEM AWAY."
"Some years ago a neighboring family, consisting of father, mother, and five or six children that God had entrusted to their care, were all seemingly without a thought of eternity -- all for the world and the things of the world. But soon the dark shadows began to gather. The father was taken sick. He grew worse and worse and soon it was said that he was seriously ill. In a few short days the message came to me saying, "Come quick, Mr. S. is dying."
I went immediately to his bedside, and found him talking and trying to draw back from some apparition that he evidently saw, saying, "Take them away! Take them away!" It seemed to be the demons or the wicked spirits tormenting him while yet alive."
The above was recently sent us for publication by Mrs. M. E. Holland, Bentonville, Ark. May God help all our readers, if not already free from evil spirits, to call on God to take them away at once -- not wait until they are called to die. The time to get rid of the devil is when he first makes his appearance, or when the soul becomes conscious of his presence. May God help our readers to realize that "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation."
"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say" (1 Cor. 10: 11-12).
030 -- A DYING MAN'S REGRETS
A minister once said to a dying man, "If God should restore you to health, think you that you would alter your course of life?"
He answered: "I call heaven and earth to witness, I would labor for holiness as I shall soon labor for life. As for riches and pleasure and the applause of men, I account them as dross. Oh! if the righteous Judge would but reprieve and spare me a little longer, in what spirit would I spend the remainder of my days! I would know no other business, aim at no other end, than perfecting myself in holiness. Whatever contributed to that -- every means of grace, every opportunity of spiritual improvement, should be dearer to me than thousands of gold and silver. But, alas! why do I amuse myself with fond imaginations? The best resolutions are now insignificant, because they are too late."
Such was the language of deep concern uttered by one who was beginning to look at these things in the light of the eternal world, which, after all, is the true light. Here we stand on the little molehills of sublunary life, where we cannot get a clear view of that other world; but, oh! what must it be to stand on the top of the dark mountain of death, and take an outlook upon our surroundings, knowing that from the top of that mountain, if angel pinions do not lift us to the skies, we must take a leap into the blackness of darkness!
Reader, when your soul shall pass into eternity, is it an angel or a fiend that shall greet you on your entrance there? If you want a well-grounded hope of heaven, live for it! live for it! -- The Manna.
031 -- THE TRANSLATION OF THE SAINTED FRANCES E. WILLARD
Early on February 17, the last day God let us have her with us, she remembered it was time for her "letter from home," as she loved to call our official paper, The Union Signal, and sweetly said, "Please let me sit up and let me have our beautiful Signal."
She was soon laid back upon her pillows, when, taking Dr. Hills' hand in hers, she spoke tender, appreciative words about her friend and physician, of which the last were these, "I say, God bless him; I shall remember his loving kindness through all eternity."
A little later Mrs. Hoffman, National Recording Secretary of our society, entered the room for a moment. Miss Willard seemed to be unconscious, but as Mrs. Hoffman quietly took her hand she looked up and said, "Why, that's Clara! Good Clara! Clara, I've crept in with mother, and it's the same beautiful world and the same people, remember that -- it's just the same."
"Has my cable come?" she soon asked; "Oh, how I want to come"; and when, a few moments later, a message of tenderest solicitude and love was received from dear Lady Henry, I placed it in her hand. "Read it, oh read it quickly -- what does it say?" were her eager questions, and as I read the precious words I heard her voice, "Oh, how sweet, oh, how lovely, good -- good!"
Quietly as a babe in its mother's arms she now fell asleep, and though we knew it not "the dew of eternity was soon to fall upon her forehead." "She had come to the borderland of this closely curtained world."
Only once again did she speak to us, when about noon the little thin, white hand -- that active, eloquent hand -- was raised in an effort to point upward, and we listened for the last time on earth to the voice that to thousands has surpassed all others in its marvellous sweetness and magnetic power, it was like the lovely and pathetic strain from an Aeolian harp on which heavenly zephyrs were breathing, and she must even then have caught some glimpse of those other worlds for which she longed as she said, in tones of utmost content, "How beautiful it is to be with God."
As twilight fell, hope died in our yearning heart, for we saw that the full glory of another life was soon to break o'er our loved one's "earthly horizon." Kneeling about her bed, with the faithful nurses who had come to love their patient as a sister, we silently watched while the life immortal, the life more abundant, came in its fullness to this inclusive soul, whose wish, cherished from her youth, that she might go, not like a peasant to a palace, but as a child to her Father's home, was about to be fulfilled. A few friends who had come to the hotel to make inquiries joined the silent and grief-stricken group. Slowly the hours passed with no recognition of the loved ones about her. There came an intent upward gaze of the heavenly blue eyes, a few tired sighs, and at the "noon hour" of the night Frances Willard was:
"Born into beauty
And born into bloom,
O'er death and the tomb."
-- The Beautiful Life of Frances E. Willard
032 -- "IT IS EASIER TO GET INTO HELL THAN IT WILL BE TO GET OUT."
In the village of Montgomery, Mich., in the spring of 1884, an infidel, husband of a spiritualist, was stricken down with disease. He had such a hatred for the cause of Christ that he had requested previous to his death that his body should not be 'carried to a church for funeral services, or any pastor be called upon to officiate.'
As he was nearing the shores of eternity, he turned his face toward the wall and began to talk of his future prospects. His wife saw that he was troubled in spirit and endeavored to comfort and console him by telling him not to be afraid; that his spirit would return to her and they would commune together then as now. But this gave him no comfort in this awful hour. With a look of despair, he said, "I see a great high wall rising around me, and am finding out at last, when it is too late, that it is easier to get into hell than it will be to get out," and in a few moments his spirit had departed from this world to receive its reward.
My sister-in-law was present at the time and heard the conversation. -- Written for this book by Rev. W. C. Muffit, Cleveland, Ohio.
033 -- THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN WALTER C. PALMER'S SUNLIT JOURNEY TO HEAVEN
His biographer, Rev. George Hughes, says: At 5:15 p. m., July 20, 1883, his ransomed spirit entered the triumphal chariot and, under a bright angelic escort, sped away to the world of light and blessedness. There was no dark river to cross -- no stormy billows to intercept his progress. It was a translation from the terrestrial to the celestial -- the work of a moment, but covered with eternal resplendency. Heaven's pearly gates were surely opened wide to admit this battle-scarred veteran, laden with the spoils and honors of a thousand battles. The light of a conqueror was in his eye. His countenance was radiant. His language was triumphant. The angelic escort was near.
The expanded vision was rapturously fixed on immortal objects and scene. The ear was saluted with the songs of angels and redeemed spirits. The blood-washed soul was filled with high expectancy. Every avenue of the inner being was swept with rapture. Hallelujahs burst momentarily from his lips. The aspects of such a departure were gorgeous indeed -- no other word will express it. The splendors of the eternal state were gathered to a focus, and burned intensely around the couch of the Christian warrior as he breathed his earthly farewell. Such a departure was the allotment of the beloved physician.
The place designated was wondrously attractive. A few steps only from his cottage-home, the grand old ocean was ceaselessly rolling his billows upon the strand, making solemn music, offering a deep-toned anthem of praise to the Creator. The clear blue heavens above were resplendent. The sun was declining, but glorious in his decline.
But the moral surroundings of the period set for this departure were still more gorgeous. Not far away was the hallowed grove, the place of holy song and Gospel ministration, where multitudes congregated. And there, too, the "Janes Tabernacle," where such indescribable triumphs had been won. "The voice of salvation and rejoicing was in the tabernacles of the righteous." Even now we seem to hear the forest resounding with prayer and praise. Surely holy angels must have delighted to hover o'er the scene, glad to join the hallowed songs.
And what is that we see? In yonder cottage there is one newly born into the kingdom of heaven. The first song of the new life is breaking upon the ears of surrounding friends, Hallelujahs rule the hour.
In a little tent there is a child of God who has just entered "Beulah Land!" He is inhaling its pure atmosphere. The fragrance of the land delights him. He is basking in the meridian rays of the "Sun of righteousness." What a heavenly glow there is upon his countenance! How the Beulah-notes burst from his lips!
Hark! yonder is the shout of victory! What does it mean? Ah, one of God's dear saints has been sorely buffeted of Satan; but "Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son," she has just said, authoritatively, in overcoming faith, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And, lo! the enemy is discomfited -- he flies ingloriously from the field! Jesus, in the person of His tempted one, has driven the arch-foe to his native hell.
And so we might go on in this field survey. At each step new wonders would rise upon our view. Heaven and earth were surely keeping jubilee in the sacred inclosure.
Can we conceive of a grander spot, in either hemisphere, from which a good man might make his transition from world to world? Nay! Is it not written, "My times are in Thy hand"? And are not the places too at the Divine disposal? Did not Jehovah conduct (Moses) His servant of old to the Mount of transition, and Himself perform the funeral-rites and interment? And so secure, so hidden from the rude gaze of men the entombment, that the ages have not discovered the burial-place.
Is it too much to think that the God of glory put forth His hand to designate the place, so full of natural and moral attractions, for the departure of His honored servant, Dr. Palmer. And then what a quiet hour -- just as the sun was declining and the soft evening shades were being stretched forth! What an evening, after such a day!
All day long the beloved one had been quietly reclining upon his couch. The tokens of his convalescence were cheering. A new light had been given to his languid eye. A radiant smile illumined his whole countenance. Inspiring words dropped from his lips. Loving friends, who had kept sleepless vigils around him, rejoiced with great joy.
The day had been a festive one. The table of the Lord had been spread before him, and he had feasted upon its dainties. At the foot of his couch had been suspended "The Silent Comforter" (meaning perhaps, the Bible, or some publication containing God's promises) -- silent, yet voiceful, telling of the riches of the kingdom of heaven.
It was open at the passage for the day, reading thus:
"But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee -- When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior" (Isaiah 43: 1-3).
What beautiful words -- beautiful words of life! His eye and his heart drank in the Father's message -- a message of perfected redemption -- of joyous adoption into the royal family, and the conferment of a royal name -- of defense against destroying forces, the overflowing waters and the consuming flame -- of exalted spiritual relationship, "I am thy God, thy Savior." O, wondrous message spoken by Isaiah's fire-touched lips! Well might that prostrate one rise into new life as he gazed upon the glittering pages. Indeed, he had during the weeks of his suffering taken refuge in the precious Word, so that the wicked one had not dared to approach him!
About two weeks before his release from earth, Mrs. Palmer said to him, "My dear, Satan has not troubled you much of late." Raising his arm, with emphatic voice he exclaimed, "No! he has not been allowed to come near me!"
So now, he was sweetly reposing in the Divine Word as opened to his view on the page of the "Silent Comforter."
So strong was the doctor's returning pulse that those who were performing tender ministries were encouraged to have him attired and seated in an easy chair where he could look upon the ocean and be invigorated by its breezes. Indeed, he walked out and took his seat on the upper piazza. The beloved of his life was by his side, and in a letter written to a friend subsequent to the departure of her dear husband, beautifully describes what transpired at this particular juncture:
"About three in the afternoon, he walked out on the second-story balcony, sat there a half-hour or more, and seemed unusually joyous. He talked of the beautiful landscape before him, and the grand old ocean. Seeing our dear friend Mr. Thornley, who had so kindly relieved us of the care of the morning meetings, come out of his cottage on the opposite side of the park, in front of our summer cottage, our loved one waved his hand again and again, with smiles of affectionate recognition. He then went into the room and wrote a business letter to his son-in-law, Joseph F. Knapp, and read it to me in a strong voice, and conversed freely.
"About five o'clock he proposed lying down to rest. His head had scarcely reached the pillow, when I was startled by seeing those large blue eyes open wide, as if piercing the heavens. Two or three struggles, as if for breath, followed. "Raise me higher," he said, as I put my arm about him, holding him up. A moment's calm ensued, I said, "Precious darling, it's passing over." The dear one, putting his finger on his own pulse, looking so sweetly, said in a low tone, "Not yet" -- and almost in the same breath, in a clear, strong voice, said, "I fear no evil, for Thou art with me." After a moment's pause, he continued, "I have redeemed thee; thou art mine. When thou pass -- "
Here his loved voice failed. The precious spirit was released to join the glorified above.
034 -- "GOOD-BY! I AM GOING TO REST."
Through the kindness of T. L. Adams, of Magdalena, New Mexico, we furnish our readers with this incident:
In the year 188-, in Milan, Tenn., Ella Bledsoe, daughter of Dr. Bledsoe, lay dying from a painful, wasting flux. Being near neighbors, Ella and my sister had been together much of the time, and from close association had learned to love each other very tenderly.
Ella had now been ill for about nine days. Her Christian father had heretofore kept her under the influence of opiates to ease her pain, but not willing that she should pass out of this world stupefied by these drugs, he had ceased to administer them.
When sister Dorrie and I heard that Ella was dying we at once prayed to God that she might not pass away without leaving a dying testimony. She was a Christian, a member of the C. P. Church, as was also her father. We hastened to her bedside and found her tossing from side to side on her dying couch in the painful agonies of the "last enemy."
My sister approached her, and sitting on the side of the bed, she took one of her hands in her own, and said, "Ella, are you afraid to die?"
It seemed for a moment all that life offers to a young girl rushed in before her youthful gaze, and she replied, "I hate to die."
Then turning, like Hezekiah, with her face to the wall for a few moments, doubtless in communion with her Heavenly Father, she turned back and said to sister, "Good-bye; I am going to rest," and extending her hand to me she said, "Good-bye. Meet me at rest."
She then called her family up to her. bedside, one by one, and kissed them and bade them "good-bye," requesting and exhorting them to meet her "Where the weary are at rest."
This was an affecting scene, one that impressed all that were present with the reality of the joys of the Christian religion, and that when all things around us fade away, this religion enables us to rejoice even in the face of death. Thank God!
"The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death" (Prov. 14: 32).
"For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor. 5:1).
"And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them" (Rev. 14:13).
035 -- "THE FIENDS, THEY COME; OH! SAVE ME! THEY DRAG ME DOWN! LOST, LOST, LOST!"
The following incident is concerning a young lady, who, under deep conviction for sin, left a revival meeting to attend a dance which had been gotten up by a party of ungodly men, for the purpose of breaking up the meeting. She caught a severe cold at the dance and was soon on her death bed. In conversation with a minister, she said, "Mr. Rice, my mind was never clearer. I tell you all today that I do not wish to be a Christian. Don't want to go to heaven -- would not if I could. I would rather go to hell than heaven, they need not keep the gates closed."
"But you don't want to go to hell, do you Jennie?" was asked.
She replied, "No, Mr. Rice. O, that I had never been born. I am suffering now the agonies of the lost. If I could but get away from God; but no, I must always see Him and be looked upon by Him. How I hate Him -- I cannot help it. I drove His Spirit from my heart when He would have filled it with His love; and now I am left to my own evil nature -- given over to the devil for my eternal destruction. My agony is inexpressible! How will I endure the endless ages of eternity? O, that dreadful, unlimited, unfathomable eternity."
When asked by Mr. Rice how she got into that despairing mood, she replied, "It was that fatal Friday evening last winter when I deliberately stayed away from the meeting to attend the dance. I felt so sad, for my heart was tender -- I could scarcely keep from weeping. I felt provoked to think that my last dance, as I felt it to be for some cause, should be spoiled. I endured it until I became angry, then with all my might I drove the influence of the Spirit away from me, and it was then that I had the feeling that He had left me forever. I knew that I had done something terrible, but it was done. From that time I have had no desire to be a Christian, but have been sinking down into deeper darkness and more bitter despair. And now all around, and above and beneath me are impenetrable clouds of darkness. O, the terrible gloom; when will it cease?"
She then sank away and lay like one dead a short time. But she raised her hand slightly, her lips quivering as if in the agonies of death, her eyes opened with a fixed and awful stare, and then gave such a despairing groan that sent the chill blood to every heart. "Oh, what horror," whispered the sufferer. Then turning to Mr. Rice, she said, "Go home now and return this evening. I don't want you to pray for me. I don't want to be tormented with the sound of prayer."
About four o'clock she inquired the time, and upon being told exclaimed, "O, how slowly the hours wear away. This day seems an age to me. O, how will I endure eternity?"
In about an hour she said, "How slowly the time drags. Why may I not cease to be?"
About seven P. M. she sent for Mr. Rice. As he approached her bed Jennie said to him, "I want you to preach at my funeral. Warn all of my young friends against the ball-room. Remember everything I have said and use it."
He replied, "How can I do this? Jennie, how I do wish you were a good Christian, and had a hope of eternal life."
"Now, Mr. Rice, I don't want to hear anything about that. I do not want to be tormented with the thought. I am utterly hopeless; my time is growing short; my fate is eternally fixed. I die without hope because I insulted the Holy Spirit so bitterly. He has justly left me alone to go down to eternal night. He could not have borne with me any longer and followed farther and retained His divine honor and dignity. I wait but a few moments, and as much as I dread it, I must quit these mortal shores. I would delay, I would linger -- but no! The fiends, they come; O save me! They drag me down! Lost! lost! lost!" she whispered as she struggled in the agonies of death.
A moment more and she rallied and with glazed eyes she looked upon her weeping friends for the last time, then the lids sank partly down and pressed out a remaining tear as she whispered, "Bind me, ye chains of darkness! Oh! that I might cease to be, but still exist. The worm that never dies, the second death." The spirit fled, and Jennie Gordon lay a lifeless form of clay. -- The Unequal Yoke, by J. H. Miller
036 -- "OH, PAPA, WHAT A SWEET SIGHT! THE GOLDEN GATES ARE OPENED."
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
Lillian Lee, aged ten, when dying spoke to her father thus: "Oh! papa, what a sweet sight! The golden gates are opened and crowds of children come pouring out. Oh! such crowds. And they ran up to me and began to kiss me and call me by a new name. I can't remember what it was." She lay and looked upwards, her eyes dreaming. Her voice died into a whisper as she said, "Yes, yes, I come, I come!"
037 -- "I AM GOING TO DIE. GLORY BE TO GOD AND THE LAMB FOREVER."
These were the last words of the sainted Ann Cutler, one of Mr. Wesley's workers in whom he had great confidence. She was converted under Rev. Win. Bramwell, who wrote the following account:
Ann Cutler was born near Preston, in Lancashire, in the year 1759. Till she was about twenty-six years of age, though she was very strict in her morals and serious in her deportment, yet she never understood the method of salvation by Jesus Christ till the Methodist local preachers visited that neighborhood. After hearing one of them she was convinced of sin, and from that time gave all diligence to obtain mercy. In a short time she received pardon, and her serious deportment evinced the blessing she enjoyed. It was not long before she had a clearer sight into her own heart; and, though she retained her confidence of pardon, she was yet made deeply sensible of the need of perfect love. In hearing the doctrine of sanctification, and believing that the blessing is to be received through faith, she expected instantaneous deliverance, and prayed for the power to believe. Her confidence increased until she could say, "Jesus, thou wilt cleanse me from all unrighteousness!"
In the same year of her finding mercy (1785) the Lord said, "I will, be thou clean." She found a sinking into humility, love and dependence upon God. At this time her language was, "Jesus, Thou knowest I love Thee with all my heart. I would rather die than grieve Thy Spirit. O! I cannot express how much I love Jesus!" After this change something remarkable appeared in her countenance -- a smile of sweet composure. It was noticed by many as a reflection of the divine nature, and it increased to the time of her death. In a few months she felt a great desire for the salvation of sinners, and often wept much in private; and, at the same time, was drawn out to plead with God for the world in general She would frequently say, "I think I must pray. I cannot be happy unless I cry for sinners. I do not want any praise, I want nothing but souls to be brought to God. I am reproached by most. I cannot do it to be seen or heard of men. I see the world going to destruction; and I am burdened till I pour out my soul to God for them."
Her great devotion to God is shown in the following account of her sickness and death by Mrs. Highfield:
I will endeavor to give you a few particulars relative to the death of Ann Cutler. I would have done it sooner had not the affliction of my family prevented. While she was with us, it seemed to be her daily custom to dedicate herself, body and soul, to God.
She came to Macclesfield, very poorly of a cold, on the fifteenth of December. Being our preaching night, she had an earnest desire to have a prayer-meeting; but I told her on account of preaching being so late as eight o'clock, and the classes having to meet after, it would not be convenient. But she was very importunate, and said she could not be happy without one; adding, "I shall not be long here, and I would buy up every opportunity of doing something for God, for time is short." Knowing she had an uncommon talent for pleading for such souls as were coming to God, we got a few together, to whom she was made a blessing.
A few days before her death, she often said, "Jesus is about to take me home. I think I shall soon have done with this body of clay; and O how happy shall I then be when I cast my crown before Him, lost in wonder, love and praise!"
About three o'clock on Monday morning (the day of her death) she began to ascribe glory to the ever-blessed Trinity, and continued saying, "Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, and glory be to the Holy Ghost," for a considerable time. About seven o'clock the doctor, with those about her, thought she was just gone; but, to our great surprise she continued in this state till between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon. She then lifted herself up and looked about her, and spoke just so as to be heard, and was very sensible; she seemed perfectly composed, but her strength nearly gone.
About three o'clock she looked at her friends and said, "I am going to die"; and added, "Glory be to God and the Lamb forever!" These were her last words. Soon afterwards the spirit left this vale of misery. So died our dear and much-valued friend, Ann Cutler.
038 -- "I HAVE TREATED CHRIST LIKE A DOG ALL MY LIFE AND HE WILL NOT HELP ME NOW."
About twenty years ago, when we were holding revival meetings at G____, Mr. B____, a well-to-do farmer living near the town, was in the last stages of consumption. He was a wicked man; all of his life having been spent in laying up treasures on earth. At the time we visited him, he was about sixty years old. The pastor of the Methodist church, whom we were assisting, had not as yet called on him because he was so ungodly. The pastor said to me one day, "I am waiting until Mr. B____ is near his end, hoping he will then allow me to talk to him about his soul."
Several days before Mr. B____'s death, in company with the pastor of the Methodist church, we visited this man and talked with him about his moral condition. His mind was very dark and full of unbelief. We talked earnestly with him about the saving of his soul, but left him without receiving much encouragement.
In a day or two we called on him again and found him more willing to converse, but he still seemed to be far away from God. We plead with him and urged him to call on God to have mercy on him for Jesus' sake.
"I cannot: I have never spoken the name of Jesus, only when using it in profanity, and I have used it that way all of these years. I have treated Christ like a dog all of my life and He will not hear me now. I would give all I am worth if I could only feel as you say you feel." was his reply.
We told him that God was no respecter of persons, that He never turned any away that came to Him for pardon. He continued, "I cannot get any feeling. What can I do? My heart is so hard."
Our hearts ached for him. He was afraid to die without faith in God, but he seemed to have no ability to repent.
Before we left the town, he went to meet his God, so far as we know, unprepared, as he gave no evidence of salvation. He had treasures on earth; but, alas, that did not avail him anything when he came to face eternity.
Reader, how are you treating the Christ on whom you must depend if you are ever saved? God grant that your experience may not be like his. Editor.
039 -- "JESUS WILL TAKE CARE OF ME."
These were the last words uttered by Ella Gilkey, as she passed away from earth to live with Him who said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
In the winter of 1860-61 I was holding a series of meetings in Watertown, Mass., during which a large number found Jesus precious -- many believing they found Him in my room; thus rendering that room ever memorable and dear to me.
Among those who there gave themselves to the Savior was Ella. Coming in one morning, with tears on her face, she said, "Mr. Earle, I came up here to give my heart to Jesus. I feel that I am a great sinner. Will you pray for me?"
I replied, "I will pray for your Ella, and I can pray in faith if you see that you are a sinner; for Jesus died for sinners."
After pointing out the way of salvation I asked her if she would kneel down by my side and pray for herself, and, as far as she knew, give herself to Jesus, to be His forever. She said, "I will; for I am a great sinner."
Could one so young, and kind to everybody, be a great sinner? Yes, because she had rejected the Savior until she was twelve years old; and when the Holy Spirit had knocked at the door of her heart, she had said, "No, not yet. Go Thy way for this time."
We kneeled down, and after I had prayed, she said, "Jesus, take me just as I am. I give myself to Thee forever. I will love and serve Thee all my life."
The door of her heart was now open and Jesus entered and took possession. The tears were gone from her face, which was now covered with smiles.
And I believe holy angels in that room witnessed the transfer of her heart to Jesus, and then went back to heaven to join in songs of thanksgiving; for "joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth."
Ella then went down stairs, her face beaming with joy as she thought of her new relation to Jesus, and said to her mother, "I have given myself to Jesus, and He has received me. O, I am so happy!"
Little did we think that in a few days she would be walking the "golden streets" with the blood-washed throng.
Like the Redeemer, who, when at her age, said to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" she seemed to long to be doing good.
"'What can I do for Christ,' she said,
'Who gave His life to ransom me
I'll take my cross, and by Him led,
His humble, faithful child will be.'"
Among other subjects of prayer there was one which particularly weighed upon her heart; it was for the conversion of an older brother. One day, after earnestly praying that this dear brother might be led to accept the Savior, she said to her mother, "O, I think he will be a Christian!" At another time she said, "I would be willing to die if it would bring him to Jesus."
Could she speak from her bright home above, I believe she would say to this brother, and to all who are delaying,
"Delay not, delay not: why longer abuse
The love and compassion of Jesus, thy God
A fountain is opened: how canst thou refuse
To wash and be cleansed in His pardoning blood?"
Anxious to obey her Savior in all things, she obtained permission from her parents to present herself to the church for baptism; and, in the absence of a pastor, I baptized her, with several others, a few weeks after her conversion.
The next Tuesday after her baptism she was present at our evening meeting and gave her last public testimony for Jesus. When an opportunity was given for any one to speak, Ella arose, and, turning to the congregation, said, in a clear, earnest tone, "If there are any here who have not given their hearts to Jesus, do it now."
As I sat in my room at her father's that night, after meeting, I heard her voice mingling with his, in songs of praise, until near the midnight hour. Less than three days after this, Ella was called away from us, to sing in heaven the song of Moses and the Lamb.
As death drew near, she said to her parents, "I am going home," and commenced singing her favorite hymn,
"O, happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior, and my God
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad."
"Yes," she whispered, "it was a happy day." Then putting her arm around her father's neck, whose heart seemed almost broken, she said, "Don't care for me, father; Jesus will take care of me."
These were her last conscious words; the smile of affection lingered a little longer on her face, the look of love in her eyes, and its pressure in her hand, and then her spirit took its flight, mid angel guards and guides, leaving behind her the clearest evidence of love to Jesus, and a worthy example of fidelity to Him, though she had followed Him but one short month.
On the first Sabbath of February I gave the hand of fellowship to a large number of new members, and Ella would have been with them had she lived. It so happened that near the place where she would have stood there was a vacant spot. I directed the attention of the large assembly to that opening and asked, "Where is Ella today?"
For a moment all was still, and the entire congregation appeared to be bathed in tears, when I said, "Jesus seems to say, 'I have given Ella the hand of fellowship up here.'"
A few days after her death, her parents, in looking over her portfolio, found she had written, unknown to any one, in the middle of a blank book, as if intended only for God's eye, the following deed, which shows her depth of purpose and complete dedication to Christ:
"December 21, 1860. -- This day I have given my heart to the Savior, and have resolved to do just what He tells me to do, and to take up my cross daily and follow Him -- my eyes to weep over sinners, and my mouth to speak forth His praise and to lead sinners to Christ. -- Ella J. Gilkey."
And in the vestry of the church at Watertown these words, printed in large type, and handsomely framed, now hang upon the wall, where all who enter may read them; so that, in the hours of Sabbath school and in the prayer meeting and social gathering, Ella, though in heaven, still speaks, and continues her work for Jesus. -- Bringing in Sheaves.
040 -- A DYING GIRL'S REQUEST
An evangelist said: "A little girl of eight years was sent on an errand by her parents. While on her way she was attracted by the singing of a gospel meeting in the open air, and drew near. The conductor of the meeting was so struck with the child's earnestness that he spoke to her and told her about Jesus. She being the child of Roman Catholics, did not know much about Him, but the gentleman told her of His love to her.
On returning home, her father asked her what had detained her. She told him, and he cruelly beat her, forbidding her to go to any such meeting again. About a fortnight afterward she was sent on another errand, but she was so taken up with what she had previously heard about Jesus that she forgot all about her message. She saw the same gentleman, who again told her more about the Savior. On her return home she again told her father, as before, where she had been, and that she had not brought what she had been sent for, but that she had brought Jesus.
Her father was enraged, and kicked the poor little creature until the blood came. She never recovered from this brutal treatment. Just before she breathed her last she called to her mother and said, 'Mother, I have been praying to Jesus to save you and father.'
Then pointing to her little dress she said, 'Mother, cut me a bit out of the blood-stained piece of my dress.'
The mother, wondering, did so. 'Now,' said the dying child, 'Christ shed His blood for my sake, and I am going to take this to Jesus to show Him that I shed my blood for His sake.'
Thus she died, holding firmly the piece of her dress stained with her own blood. The testimony of that dear child was the means of leading both father and mother to Christ."
041 -- QUEEN ELIZABETH'S LAST WORDS -- "ALL MY POSSESSIONS FOR A MOMENT OF TIME"
Queen Elizabeth ascended the English throne at the age of twenty-five, and remained in power for forty-five years. She was a Protestant, but was far from being a true Christian in her life. She persecuted the Puritans for many years and her cruelty was manifested all through her public life. She died in 1603, seventy years old. Her last words were, "All my possessions for a moment of time."
We take the following from Schaff's Encyclopedia: With Elizabeth, Protestantism was restored, and -- in spite of occasional resistance from within, the Spanish Armada and papal deposition from without (1570) -- became the permanent religion of the large majority in the land. Two periods stand out in the history of the church under Elizabeth. In the early part of the reign the divorce of the National Church from the Roman Catholic see was consummated; in the latter part its position was clearly stated in regard to Puritanism, which demanded recognition, if not supremacy, within its pale.
The queen was no zealous reformer, but directed the affairs of the church with the keen sagacity of a statesmanship which placed national unity and the peace of the realm above every other consideration. In the first year of her reign the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were passed. By the former, all allegiance to foreign prince or prelate was forbidden; by the latter, the use of the liturgy enforced. The royal title of "Defender of the Faith and Supreme Head of the Church" was retained, with the slight alteration of "Head" to "Governor." But the passage was struck out of the Litany which read, "From the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, good Lord deliver us."
The queen retained, against the protest of bishops, an altar, crucifix, and lighted candles in her own chapel, disapproved of the marriage of the clergy, interrupted the preacher who spoke disparagingly of the sign of the cross, and imperiously forced her wishes upon unwilling prelates.
042 -- DYING TESTIMONY AND VISION OF MISS LILA HOMER
We are indebted to her pastor, Rev. B. C. Matthews, for this sketch:
Miss Lila Homer, a member of the Methodist Church at Dardanelle, Arkansas, died in the Lord at her home, October 3rd, 1895. She had just entered her twenty-fifth year March 19th, 1895.
She was converted at the early age of ten years. Just before her death she had a glimpse of the invisible world. Knowing that she was the Lord's handmaiden, and that her disease would allow her to be rational to the end, I thought she might be able to see the angels and tell us something of what she saw, so I said, "Lila, when the angels come for you, let us know."
In a short while she whispered to her sister, "Tell Bro. Matthews to come closer," and then said, "Bro. Matthews, I saw some angels but they were so far away that I could not recognize anyone." I asked her if they had wings, to which she replied, "They had no wings, but were all arrayed in white and looked just like people."
After a while she said, "I saw a great host of angels, but there were more babies than any others. I saw grandpa and ma Homer and Aunt Joe." In a short while she turned to her sister, Miss Jodie, and said, "O, Joe, tell Emma Lawrence that Daisy Conger is the sweetest angel."
Miss Joe then asked her if Daisy looked bright and happy, to which she replied, "O, yes, so bright and happy. Tell the Conger girls to be good and meet Daisy."
On Thursday morning, just before she fell asleep, she said to her mother, "I won't get to go to the Sulphur Springs, mamma, but I will go to an everlasting spring, where flowers never wither."
In reply to this her mother said, "Lila, I can't go with you."
"No, mamma," she said, "but you can come, and I will be waiting for you all." She talked to each member of the family separately and sent a message by them to her absent brother. After thanking her friends for their kindness, she quietly breathed her last.
043 -- DREADFUL MARTYRDOM OF ROMANUS
Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of Caesarea, at the time of the commencement of Diocletian's persecution, in the fourth century. He was at Antioch when the imperial order came for sacrificing to idols, and was much grieved to see many Christians, through fear, submit to the idolatrous command, and deny their faith in order to preserve their lives.
While reproving some of them for their weakness, Romanus was informed against, and soon after arrested. Being brought to the tribunal, he confessed himself a Christian, and said he was willing to suffer anything they could inflict upon him for his confession. When condemned, he was scourged, put to the rack, and his body torn with hooks. While thus cruelly mangled, he turned to the governor and thanked him for having opened for him so many mouths with which to preach Christianity; "for," he said, "every wound, is a mouth to sing the praises of the Lord." He was soon after slain by being strangled. -- Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
044 -- JOHN CASSIDY AND THE PRIEST
Any one who has sailed past the new Mole into Gibraltar Bay will have noticed the long, yellow-washed building standing high upon the south front, and has been told it is the military naval hospital. In one of the wards of this hospital, about a year before the commencement of the Crimean War, there lay private of the Thirty-third Regiment, John Cassidy by name, who had been seized by a fatal attack of dysentery. He felt that death was near; and calling to him the hospital sergeant, he said, "Morris, I shan't be long, and I want to make my peace before I go. Will you send for the priest?"
"There is no need to send for him," replied Morris, who was an earnest Christian; "haven't I told you that Jesus, the blessed Savior, is ready to receive you just now, and make you fit for heaven, if you'll only ask Him?"
"But I'm so weak, I haven't got any strength to pray," said the poor fellow, "it's far easier to let the priest do it; and he'll only charge five shillings. You must go to the pay-master, Morris, to get the money, and give it to him as soon as he comes. And don't be long about it; for I feel that I haven't many hours before me. I'd like to die in my own religion; and you'll see how comfortable I'll be when the priest has performed the offices."
The sergeant thought it best for John to prove for himself what a broken reed he was leaning on, and accordingly sent at once for the priest. He came, received the money, and directed four candles to be brought, which he lighted, and placed two at the head and two at the foot of the bed. He then took some "sacred oil" and put it on the brow and cheeks and lips of the dying man, and on various parts of his body. Afterwards he sprinkled him freely with "holy water" and then, waving a censor over the bed until the air was heavy with the perfume, he pronounced absolution and solemnly declared that John Cassidy was ready for death.
"But I don't feel ready, sir," said John, looking up piteously into his face. "I don't feel a bit different after all you have done."
"But you ought to feel different," replied the priest angrily. "You must trust the church; and I tell you, in her name, that you are now a saved man."
"Well, sir," persisted John, "yet men that are saved, and are ready for heaven, feel happy, and I don't. There was a man that Sergeant Morris talked to in this ward. He died the other day, and he was so happy! He said he saw angels coming to take him away, and he wasn't afraid to die; and I thought you'd make me feel like that; but I'm quite frightened."
Strange language for a priest to hear, and most unwelcome. Straightening himself to his fullest height, he stood over the bed, and extending his hand in a threatening manner toward the dying man, he exclaimed, "I give you this warning, John Cassidy, that if you listen to that heretic sergeant you will be damned."
John quailed for a moment before the fearful words; and then as the weight of unforgiven sin pressed upon his heart, and he felt that the priest had no power -- as he once believed -- to cleanse it away, he cried out in the bitterness of his soul, "I can not be worse than I am, sir; that's certain; so please go away, and let me take my chance!" And as the priest seemed still inclined to linger, and to remonstrate, he raised himself partly on his pillow, and with strange energy persisted, "Don't stay any longer, sir! I haven't many minutes left, and I can't afford to lose any of them in arguing; so have pity on a dying man and go at once."
The priest merely said on leaving the room, "John Cassidy, I warn you! You are forsaking your own mercy."
John was almost exhausted by the agitation and disappointment of the interview; but as he lay quite still, too weak for words, the sergeant came and sat by his bedside, and read to him such passages as the following:
"There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus."
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"
"By Him all that believe are freely justified from all things."
"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."
"The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin."
The sergeant added no words of his own, but sat by the dying man, silently praying that the utterance of this Divine Word might give light to lighten the darkness of that departing soul. In a little while, a low murmur caused him to bead his ear close to the lips of his dying comrade; and he caught the words as they came in faint, gasping utterance, "No other name! It was a mistake -- to think any priest could get me to heaven -- but Jesus Christ can -- and I think he will -- I'm happy -- I am not frightened now -- good-bye, Morris -- tell all the poor fellows -- about -- the blood -- cleanseth."
No more words, only a shiver and sigh, and then a look of calm on the tired, worn face; and Sergeant Morris gently closed the eyes of the dead soldier, murmuring as he did so, "Thanks be unto God, Who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." -- Christian Family Almanac For 1874.
045 -- "I AM IN THE FLAMES -- PULL ME OUT, PULL ME OUT!"
Mr. W____, the subject of this narrative, died in J____, New York, about the year 1883, at the age of seventy-four. He was an avowed infidel. He was a good neighbor in some respects, yet he was very wicked and made a scoff of Christianity. About seven years previous to his death he passed through a revival. The Spirit strove with him, but he resisted to the last.
One Sabbath after this, Mr. N -, who relates this sketch, was on his way to church and passed Mr. W____'s house, who was standing by the gate. He said, "Come with me to church, Mr. W____."
The infidel, holding out his hand, replied, "Show me a hair on the palm of my hand and I will show you a Christian."
During his last sickness, Mr. N called on him often and sat up with him several nights, and was with him when he died. The infidel was conscious of his near approaching end and of the terrors of his lost condition. He said once to Mr. N____, who, as a local worker, held meetings in school houses around, "Warn the world not to live as I have lived, and escape my woe."
At another time when visited by a doctor, he was groaning and making demonstrations of great agony. The doctor said, "Why do you groan, your disease is not painful?"
"O, doctor," said he, "it is not the body but the soul that troubles me."
On the evening of his death, Mr. N -came at ten o'clock. A friend of his was there also. As he entered the room he felt that it was filled with an awful presence as if he were near the region of the damned. The dying man cried out, "O God, deliver me from that awful pit!" It was not a penitential prayer, but the wail of a lost soul.
About fifteen minutes before his death, which was at twelve, he exclaimed, "I am in the flames -- pull me out, pull me out!" He kept repeating this until the breath left his body. As the bodily strength failed his words became more faint. At last Mr. N___ put his ear down close to catch his departing whispers, and the last words he could hear were, "Pull me out, pull me out!"
"It was an awful scene," said he. "It made an impression on me that I can never forget. I never want to witness such a scene again."
I was talking with my friend years after, and he said those words, "I am in the flames -- pull me out, pull me out!" were still ringing in his ears. -- Written for this book by Rev. C. A. Balch, Cloverville, N. Y.
046 -- THE TRIUMPHANT TRANSLATION OF BISHOP PHILIP WILLIAM OTTERBEIN
Bishop Otterbein, founder of the United Brethren Church, ended a ministry of sixty-two years in great peace. Rev. Dr. Kurtz, of the Lutheran Church, for many years a devoted personal friend of the distinguished preacher, offered at his bedside the last audible prayer, at the close of which the bishop responded, "Amen, amen! it is finished."
Like good old Simeon, who was spared to take the babe of Bethlehem in his arms, he could say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation."
His grief-stricken friends, thinking he was dying, had gathered about him to take the last look ere he smote with his sandals the waters of death's river, but, rallying again for a moment, as if to finish his testimony, and to give still greater assurance of victory, he said, "Jesus, Jesus, I die, but Thou livest, and soon I shall live with Thee." Then, turning to his friends, he continued, "The conflict is over and past. I begin to feel an unspeakable fullness of love and peace divine. Lay my head upon my pillow and be still."
All was quiet. He awaited the approach of heaven's chariot; nor did he wait in vain. "A smile, a fresh glow, lighted up his countenance, and, behold, it was death. " -- From Life to Life.
047 -- "THERE'S MAGGIE AT THE GATE!"
"I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Sam. 12: 23.)
An aged Christian woman -- a ripe old saint-recently "fell asleep in Jesus." She had some few years before parted with her favorite daughter, whose name was Maggie. Just before she breathed her last, Maggie had said to her mother, "Mother, when you come to heaven, I shall be at the gate waiting for you. I shall be the first to bid you welcome" And her spirit soared to the realms of bliss.
And now the dear old woman was passing away She looked forward with joy to welcome her loved ones; for faith in Jesus Christ takes all the sting from death. And she could not help thinking of her dear Maggie, and of her parting words, "I shall be at the gate of heaven waiting for you."
Her eldest daughter was nursing her in her last moments. The end was fast approaching, but she was quite conscious.
"Mother," said her daughter, "shall I sing your favorite hymn?"
"Yes," said the dying saint, "'Waiting and Watching for Me.'"
And she sang the first stanza of Marianne Farningham's popular hymn --
"When my final farewell to the world I have said,
And gladly lie down to my rest
When softly the watchers shall say, 'She is dead,'
And fold my pale hands o'er my breast:
And when with my glorified vision at last,
The walls of that City I see,
Will any one then at the beautiful gate
Be waiting and watching for me?"
Just as the singer was repeating the words,
"Will any one then at the beautiful gate -- "
Her mother sprang up as if she saw her beloved daughter close at hand, and exclaimed: "There's Maggie at the gate!"
These were her last words. Her spirit departed "to be with Christ, which is far better."
Reader, have you any loved ones in heaven? Are you on the road that leads to that beautiful and holy place? Are you sure that you are fitted for the holy society of heaven? Have you made vows to those beyond the vale that you would surrender all to Christ and so constantly keep all of His holy commandments that they will meet you at the gate and rejoice to welcome you to the endless bliss of heaven? Or have you forgotten to pay those vows so solemnly made to your loved ones and God? If so, hasten to pay them. Do it now, or you may forever lose heaven and the society of those loved on earth. Will you do it? Will you do it -- now? -- Rev. A. Smith, Utica, N. Y.
048 -- "IT WAS THE CURSED DRINK THAT RUINED ME."
To one of the Bellevue cells there came one morning a woman bearing the usual permit to visit a patient. She was a slender little woman with a look of delicate refinement that sorrow had only intensified, and she looked at the physician, who was just leaving the patient, with clear eyes which had wept often, but kept their steady, straight-forward gaze.
"I am not certain," she said. "I have searched for my boy for a long while, and I think he must be here. I want to see him."
The doctor looked at her pityingly as she went up to the narrow bed where the patient lay, a lad of hardly twenty, with his face buried in the pillow. His fair hair, waving' crisply against the skin, browned by exposure, had not been cut, for the hospital barber who stood there had found it so far impossible to make him turn his head.
"He's lain that way ever since they brought him in yesterday," said the barber, and then moved by something in the agitated face before him, turned his own way. The mother, for it was quite plain who this must be, stooped over the prostrate figure. She knew it as mothers know their own, and laid her hand on his burning brow.
"Charley," she said softly, as if she had come into his room to rouse him from some boyish sleep, "mother is here."
A wild cry rang out that startled even the experienced physician:
"For God's sake take her away! She doesn't know where I am. Take her away!"
The patient had started up and wrung his hands in piteous entreaty.
"Take her away!" he still cried, but his mother gently folded her arms about him and drew his head to her breast.
"Oh, Charley, I have found you," she said through her sobs, "and I will never lose you again."
The lad looked at her a moment. His eyes were like hers, large and clear, but with the experience of a thousand years in their depths; a beautiful, reckless face, with lines graven by passion and crime. Then he burst into weeping like a child.
"It's too late! It's too late!" he said in tones almost inaudible.
"I'm doing you the only good turn I've done you, mother. I'm dying and you won't have to break your heart over me any more. It wasn't your fault. It was the cursed drink that ruined me, blighted my life and brought me here. It's murder now, but the hangman won't have me, and save that much disgrace for our name."
As he spoke he fell back upon his pillow; his face changed and the unmistakable hue of death suddenly spread over his handsome features. The doctor came forward quickly, a look of anxious surprise on his face.
"I didn't know he was that bad," the barber muttered under his breath, as he gazed at the lad still holding his mother's hand. The doctor lifted the patient's head and then laid it back softly. Life had fled.
"It's better to have it so." he said in a low voice to himself, and then stood silently and reverently, ready to offer consolation to the bereaved mother, whose face was still hidden on her boy's breast. She did not stir. Something in the motionless attitude aroused vague suspicion in the mind of the doctor, and moved him to bend forward and gently take her hand. With an involuntary start he hastily lifted the prostrate form and quickly felt the pulse and heart, only to find them stilled forever.
"She has gone, too," he softly whispered, and the tears stood in his eyes. "Poor soul! It is the best for both of them."
This is one story of the prison ward of Bellevue, and there are hundreds that might be told, though never one sadder or holding deeper tragedy than the one recorded here. New York Press.
049 -- THE TRANSLATION OF WILLIE DOWNER
This saint of God went to heaven from Greenville, Michigan, in the spring of 1883, in the eighteenth year of his age. We had the privilege of meeting him many times, and at his request often sang and prayed with him.
During our stay in his town, God was pleased to fill him with the Spirit and from that time he lived a devoted saint of God, walking in all the commandments of God blamelessly. Much of his time was spent in earnest prayer for souls. He was often greatly burdened for the desolation of Zion.
For about five years he was a helpless cripple. He was one of the greatest sufferers we ever saw, yet in the midst of his pain he rejoiced in the privilege of suffering for his Savior. He never murmured nor complained. He was one of the most useful Christians in that community, although entirely confined to his home. Everybody realized the power and presence of God when in his company.
Like most of the saints of God, he was poor in this world's goods, yet rich in faith, an heir to an inheritance that fadeth not away. He lived in a very humble little home on earth, but now dwells in a mansion with the heavenly host. The dear Lord was pleased to give him a glimpse of his heavenly home before his departure from the shores of time. To comfort him in the midst of his indescribable suffering the Lord gave him a vision of himself, and he saw his crippled and helpless form lifeless sometime before he passed over.
He often had glimpses of heaven and frequently spoke of seeing his Savior and the angels of God. Willie lived in the land of Beulah in sight of the New Jerusalem. He was the only child of a widowed mother and of course was her constant care. May the dear Lord help all who read this to live a holy life and like our brother Willie walk in all the light that shines on their pathway and thus please God. May we all like him take to heart the worth of immortal souls that throng the broad way to eternal death, is our earnest prayer. Amen. -- Editor.
050 -- THE DYING EXPERIENCE OF A WEALTHY MAN
He had spent his life amassing a fortune of $75,000, but had never given any special attention to his soul's salvation.
When he came to die his wealth was no satisfaction to him, but, on the contrary, it cost him great anguish to fully realize that he had spent his life in amassing wealth to the neglect of his soul.
In this dying condition he called in his brother-in-law to pray for him, who said he called so loudly for mercy that he could scarcely hear himself pray or fix his thoughts on anything. After the prayer was over, he took his hand in both of his, and said as he shook it,
"Good-bye, John. Pray for me. I shall never see your face again." And he never did.
After he had gone away, a neighbor came in and saw the condition he was in, and said something must be done. "I would suggest that we do something to quiet his mind and fears," and so he recommended a game of cards.
He replied, "Cards for a dying man! How contemptible; going into eternity. These are not what I want. I want mercy!"
A little later his son came into his room and said, "Father, what arrangements, if any, do you wish to make in regard to the property?"
He said, "I have given all my life to gain property; I cannot take a dollar with me. The law and the family will have to take care of that! I want to take care of my soul. Property avails nothing; I want mercy!"
And so he died, calling upon God for mercy; but he left no evidence that he found it. An illustration of giving a life for the gain of property to the loss of the soul. -- The Word.