By S.B. Shaw
101 -- "I SEE THE HEAVENS OPENED AND MILLIONS OF BRIGHT ANGELS READY TO RECEIVE US."
Baudicon Oguier was a martyr burned at the stake with his father, mother and brother in the year of our Lord 1556. When chained to the stake, he turned his eyes toward the father and said, "Be of good courage, father, the worst will be passed by-and-by. Behold, I see the heavens opened and millions of bright angels ready to receive us, and rejoicing to see us thus witnessing to the truth in view of the world. Father, let us be glad and rejoice, for the joys of heaven are opened to us. Jesus Christ, Thou Son of God, into Thy hands we commend our spirits."
102 -- "OH GOD! I AM DAMNED, I AM DAMNED!"
During the time of a protracted meeting one of the ministers' wives insisted on her son yielding to these better influences and seeking his salvation He replied to his mother, with a look of fiend-like hatred, that he would rather be damned than yield. He fell forward on the hearth. His mother picked him up whilst he exclaimed with his last breath, "Oh, God! I am damned, I am damned!" with his head resting in his mother's lap. He had gone to that hell he preferred to religion. -- Rev. Thos. Graham.
103 -- THE END OF A GOOD MAN
Rev. John B. McFerrin was an old and honored minister of the M. E. Church, South, having filled many important positions in that denomination. He was at one time missionary secretary, and was book agent of the Publishing House at the time of his death. He belonged to the old style of Methodist preachers, and was a man of deep, solid piety. He took no stock in the modern innovations on old-time religion and was strong advocate of experimental godliness. The time came for him to lay down his work, and to those who knew him it was no surprise when this man of God failed to make his daily visits to the Publishing House. He soon realized that his race was run, but the serenity of his mind was not in the least disturbed. He declared his perfect resignation to the will of God, inclining to a desire to depart and be with Christ.
"Hitherto in my sickness," said he, "I have not felt that I was going to die, nor have I desired to go. But now I feel differently. My work is done. My eyesight and hearing are nearly gone; my temporal affairs are all arranged; my family is all provided for; the Publishing House is safe. My way is clear and I am ready to go."
There was one day during his last illness a slight depression of spirits, but after a visit from Bishop Fitzgerald, who read the scriptures (part of the eighth chapter of Romans), when his faith rallied, the cloud lifted, and he rejoiced in the God of his salvation. In a little while his nephew, Rev. J. P. McFerrin, came in and sang the hymn,
"And let this feeble body fall,
And let it droop and die,"
And the old soldier joined in with faltering accents, his face beaming with joy that filled his soul.
As he grew weaker, his son, John, who was an itinerant preacher, was constantly at his bedside, save when he had to go back to his charge to fill his appointments. The son had been with his dying father all the week until Saturday morning. "My son," said the old pilgrim, his heart still beating with loyalty to God and his church, "you had better return and fill your appointment tomorrow. If while you are away, John, I should happen to step off, you know where to find me." Thus on May 10, 1887, a little while after midnight, the soul of this old saint took its departure for the eternal kingdom. -- Life of Rev. J. B. McFerrin, by Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald.
104 -- GOVERNOR DUNCAN'S TRIUMPHANT DEATH
Joseph Duncan was born in Kentucky about 1790. He served in the war of 1812, after which he removed to Illinois. As a member of the Senate of Illinois, he originated a law establishing common schools. He was chosen member of Congress in 1827, and Governor of Illinois in 1834. He died January 15, 1844. We take the following from The Higher Christian Life, by Rev. W. E. Boardman
For many years the Governor was distinguished as a Christian -- a consistent member of his church. A rare and shining mark, both for the jests of ungodly politicians and for the happy references of all lovers of Jesus.
It is a very lovely thing, and only too remarkable, to see one occupying the highest position of honor in a State, himself honoring the King of kings. Happy is the people who exalt such a ruler to the places of power, and happy such a ruler in his exaltation; more, however, in the humility with which he bows to Jesus than in the homage which the people pay to him.
His conversion was clear and satisfactory, and he renounced all merit of his own as the ground of his acceptance with God. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of Calvary, was all his hope. He was firmly grounded in the atonement of Christ. And all went well until death and the judgment drew near.
About three weeks before the hour of his departure he was seized with an illness which he himself felt would end in his death. And with the premonition of death came the question of fitness for heaven. He was troubled. His unfitness was only too apparent for his peace. The fever of his mind was higher than the fever in his veins -- and, alas, he had not yet learned that Jesus is the physician of unfailing skill, to cure every ill that the spirit is heir to. He saw plainly enough how he could be justified from the law, that it should not condemn him; for its penalty had been borne already by the Savior himself, and its claims on the score of justice were all satisfied. But he did not see that the same hands which had been nailed to the cross would also break off the manacles of sin, wash out its stains and adjust the spotless robe of Christ's perfect righteousness upon him, and invest him with every heavenly grace.
His perplexity was great. The night thickened upon him, his soul was in agony, and his struggles utterly vain.
The point of despair is sure to be reached, sooner or later, by the struggling soul, and the point of despair to him who abandons all to Jesus is also the point of hope. The Governor at last gave over and gave up, saying in his heart, "Ah! well. I see it is of no use. Die I must. Fit myself for heaven I cannot. O, Lord Jesus, I must throw myself upon Thy mercy, and die as I am."
This hopeless abandonment was the beginning of rest to his soul. Indeed, it was the victory that overcometh. Soon the loveliness of Jesus began to be unfolded to him, and he saw that the way of salvation from sin was by faith in the Savior. The fire in his veins burned on, steadily and surely consuming the vital forces of his manly frame, but the fever of his spirit was all allayed by the copious and cooling draughts given him from the gushing fountain of the waters of life flowing from the smitten Rock, and his joy was unbounded.
As his stricken and sorrowing family gathered around his bed for the last words of the noble man, he told them, with a face radiant with joy, that he had just found what was worth more to him than riches, or honors, or office, or anything else upon earth, "the way of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," and he charged them as his dying mandate, by the love they bore him, not to rest until they too -- whether already Christians as he himself long had been or note -- had found the same blessed treasure.
They asked him what legacy he wished to leave for an absent relative whom they knew it was his intention to have remembered in the division of his estate.
"That is all arranged in my will," said he. "But tell her from me that I have found the way of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if she too will find that, she will find infinitely more than I could bestow upon her, if I should give her all I am worth in the world."
They mentioned the name of a distinguished fellow officer and special friend of the governor's, living in a distant part of the state, and asked if he had any message for him.
"Tell him that I have found the way of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if he will also find it for himself it will be better than the highest offices and honors in the reach of man upon earth."
So he died. "Oh had he only known this before," you say. Yes, that was just what he himself said. "O, had I only known this when I first engaged in the service of God, how happy I should have been! And how much good I could have done!"
105 -- ETERNAL DEATH THE RESULT OF DELAY
A young man by the name of Smith was seen standing looking on with interest during the exercises of a prayer-meeting at camp-meeting in Rootstown, Ohio. One of the ministers observing him addressed him on the subject of religion. His eyes filled with tears and he seemed inclined to seek religion. One of his wicked companions perceiving it, stepped up and, looking him in the face, remarked, "Smith, I would not be a fool." Poor Smith could not resist such influences, and dashing the tears from his eyes turned on his heel and went away. He lingered about the camp ground until the meeting closed for the evening, and went off with his company. They bantered him on the subject of his feelings. To show to them that he had. not the feelings they supposed, he commenced cursing and blaspheming in a most awful manner and making all imaginable sport of religious things, when a large limb from a tree fell on him, and he, with a curse on his tongue, was forced into the presence of God, whom he had thus been blaspheming, without one moment's warning. -- Rev. Thos. Graham
106 -- "HE DIED AT HIS POST"
Away back in the 40's, a hymn with this title was very popular among Methodists and was often sung with the Spirit and with marked effect. It had its origin in the last words and triumphant death of a preacher in one of the conferences.
Rev. Thomas Drummond was born in Manchester, England, in 1806, came to this country in early life, and after his conversion joined the Methodist Church He soon was licensed to preach, and was admitted into the Pittsburgh Conference In 1835 he was transferred to the Missouri Conference and stationed in St. Louis.
On Sunday, June 14, of that year, he had preached with his usual power, expressing with pathos the feelings which animate the strong Christian faith in anticipation of heaven. The same evening he was attacked with cholera, and died the next day.
Though suffering great pain he was in his senses and died in triumph, saying among many other cheering things, "Tell my brethren of the Pittsburgh Conference that I died at my post."
Rev. William Hunter, on hearing the particulars of the death of this good man, composed the hymn, "He Died at His Post." -- .Life of Rev. J. B. McFerrin, by Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald.
107 -- "I CAN NOW DIE HAPPY. SOUL, TAKE THY FLIGHT."
Miss Addie Asbury was dying. She called her friends around her bedside and one by one bade them good-bye and asked them to meet her in heaven. The doctor had said that she could not live but a very short time, not longer than ten minutes. All at once she opened her eyes and said, "I want to see Tom." She was told that he was not there, but she insisted that she had a message for him, whereupon she was assured that Tom would be sent for. As it was well known that she had but a short time to live and that Tom lived at quite a distance, her friends doubted whether he could arrive before she died. Seeming to read their thoughts, she said, "The God that I have loved and served all of these years can keep me here until he comes. I have a message for him, so please send at once." She had been engaged to marry Tom for several years, but would not because he was not a Christian and drank. Now that she was dying she desired to speak a farewell word to him.
We went for him, and fully an hour had elapsed before we returned with him, but she still lived when he came in. She took him by the hand and said, "Tom, I want you to be a Christian. I am going to leave you and I want to know before I go that you are a child of God."
"Why, Addie," said he, "I can't say I am a Christian when I am not." I would like to be, but I can't." She then took her Bible and showed him from the Word of God that he could be if he would repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who could forgive his sins. He accepted God's word and became an heir of salvation.
Then, after bidding all good-bye once more, she closed her eyes and said, "I can now die happy. Soul, take the flight," and soon her soul took its departure.
A few years after, we saw Tom ordained a deacon in the Presbyterian Church, not far from the place where his betrothed had died, He is now one of the pillars of the church and is a faithful defender of the cause of Jesus Christ. -- Written for this book by Rev. G. P. Pledger, Chicago, Ill.
108 -- "I AM DYING AND GOING TO HELL."
A fashionable lady attended revival meetings at the Morgan Street Church, Chicago. Deep conviction settled on her soul She wept and said she would like to find peace, but was not ready to give up the pleasures of the world. To drown her convictions, she absented herself from the house of God. Time hurried on and soon she was on her death bed. Realizing her condition, she sent for a friend who had attended the meetings with her and who had listened to the spiritual pleadings and found the joy of pardoning love. This friend hurried to the bedside of the dying one. As she entered the room the dying woman looked at her with eyes of terror, and grasping her hand she exclaimed, "Oh, stay with me till I am gone! I am dying and going to hell! Tell Bro. C____ (the minister) to preach hell as he has never preached it before, for I am going to hell!" Then, pointing to the wardrobe, she said, "Go there and you will see what has ruined my soul." She opened the door and saw the rich, fashionable clothing and turned again to the side of the dying woman, who raised herself up and sang the hymn she had so often heard at the meeting:
"Parting to meet again at the Judgment,
Parting to meet no more here below;
Oh, how sad the thought to thee,
Traveler to eternity,
Parting to meet again at the Judgment.
As the last word fell from her lips she fell back on the pillow and her soul passed into eternity to meet the God whose mercy she had trifled with and turned away for the gaudy toys of this earth.
Dear reader, take warning from this sad death. Turn away from the vanities of earth and give God your heart and life's service, and eternal happiness shall be yours. -- Pentecost Herald.
109 -- "DO YOU NOT HEAR THEM SAY, 'PEACE ON EARTH; GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN'?"
Miss Mollie J. Herring, of Clear Run, N. C., writes us: I have a dying testimony of a sweet, cultured, Christian young lady, whose death occurred in my own home in 1884, when I was very young.
Miss Orphie B. Schaeffer, daughter of Rev. G. F. Schaeffer, a Lutheran minister, who at that time was President of the North Carolina Lutheran College, had been visiting at our home for some time past. We soon became warm friends and were closely attached to each other. A short time after she had come to our home she was taken ill, her sickness developing into a serious case of typhus fever which resulted in her death two weeks later.
She loved her Savior and put her utmost confidence in God. Often she would say, "It is so sweet to love Jesus. I have always loved him."
During her illness she would often speak of her loved ones, far away from her in Easton, Pennsylvania. We had not wired them of her illness, as we did not realize that it was of such a serious nature until the end drew near.
As I stood at her bedside as she was dying, she called me to come closer to her and said, "Mollie, I hear the sweetest music."
I asked her from whence the sound of the music came, and she replied, "Oh, just over the hill. Do you not hear them say, 'Peace on earth, good will toward men?'"
Again her wan features lighted up with the very light of heaven and she said, "Oh, can't you hear them singing? Do listen."
I strained my eager ears to catch the sound to which I knew she was listening, but I could hear nothing save her labored breathing.
Soon after she said, "Good-bye, mamma! Good-bye Florence! Good-bye, papa!" and just then she was seized with a hemorrhage, which caused her to grow weaker and weaker, and once more we heard her say, "I am so glad that I have always loved Jesus."
110 -- TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF JEROME, THE MARTYR
This great Bohemian reformer and martyr, of the family of Prague, was born about 1365. He was an intimate friend of Hus, and suffered martyrdom at the stake in Constance, May 30, 1416, at the same place where Hus was burned.
Upon arriving at the place of execution he embraced the stake with great cheerfulness, and when the fagots were set on fire behind him, he said, "Come here and kindle it before my eyes, for if I had been afraid of it, I would not have come to this place." We take the following from Schaff's encyclopedia:
He studied at Oxford, probably in 1396, and returned to Prague with Wiclif's theological writings. In 1398 he took the degree of bachelor of arts at Prague, and subsequently that of master in Paris. He did not return to Prague till 1407, when he entered into hearty sympathy with the plans of Hus. In 1410 he went, on the invitation of the king of Poland, to assist in putting the university of Cracow on a secure basis, and from there to Ofen to preach before Sigismund, king of Hungary. He was suspected of heretical doctrines, however, and fled to Vienna, but was put in prison, from which he was only released on the requisition of the university of Prague.
When, in October, 1414, Hus was about to leave for Constance, Jerome encouraged him to fortitude, and promised to go to his assistance if necessary. On April 4, 1415, he fulfilled his promise, but, on the advice of the Bohemian nobles, fled from Constance the day after his arrival. He was recognized at Hirschau by his denunciations of the council, taken prisoner and sent back in chains to Constance. After Hus' death the council attempted to induce Jerome to retract, and succeeded September 10; but the day following he withdrew his retraction. The council instituted a second trial, but not until the following May (1416) was he granted a public hearing. All attempts to move him again were unavailing. On May 30 he was condemned by the council as a heretic. As the flames crept about him, he sang the Easter hymn, "Hail, festal day," and repeated the three articles of the Apostolic Creed concerning God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
The last words he was heard to say were, "This soul in flames I offer, Christ, to Thee."
110 -- "DEVILS ARE IN THE ROOM, READY TO DRAG MY SOUL DOWN TO HELL."
Mrs. J____ B____, the subject of this sketch, came under the personal observation of the writer in 1886. I had often urged her to give her heart to God while she was in health, but she refused.
I called to see her during her last sickness and found her in a most distressing state of mind.
She recognized me when I came in, and was loath to let me leave long enough to bring my wife, who was only three-quarters of a mile away; saying, "Devils are in my room, ready to drag my soul down to hell."
She would begin in a low, measured tone to say, "It must be done! It must be done!" continuing to repeat the same with increasing force and higher pitch of voice, until she would end with a piercing scream, "It must be done!"
Her husband asked her, "Josie, what must be done?"
She answered, "Our hearts must be made right!" And again she would entreat me to take her away, affirming she could see devils all around her.
She would say, "See them laugh!" This would throw her into a paroxysm of fear and dread, causing her to start from her bed; but when I tried to get her to look to Jesus for help she said, "It is no use; it is too late!"
I trust I shall never be called upon again to witness such a heart-rending death-bed scene as hers. There was more that transpired, but I have tried to make this sketch as brief as possible. -Written for this work by B. F. Closson, Bloomington, Neb.
111 -- LAST WORDS OF BISHOP GLOSSBRENNER
"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him." So it was with the devout Bishop Glossbrenner when he had reached the end of his earthly pilgrimage, January 7, 1887. Mr. John Dodds, of Dayton, Ohio, a warm personal friend of the bishop, spent a day or two with him shortly before his death, and found him in a most blessed frame of mind. When the subject of preaching was referred to, he said, "If I could preach again just once more, I would preach Jesus. I would preach from His words to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, 'It is I, be not afraid.'" As Mr. Dodds was leaving, he looked back when a few paces from the house, and to his surprise the bishop had gotten out of his bed unassisted and was standing by the door. He was visible affected, and with hand uplifted and tears running down his cheeks, said, "Tell my brethren it is all right; my home is over there." To another he said, '!My title is clear, but not because I have preached the gospel, but alone by the love and mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rely on nothing but Jesus Christ and an experimental knowledge of acceptance with God through the merits of Jesus."
In view of his rapidly approaching end, he said to his pastor, "I shall not be here much longer." When asked about the future his reply was, "Everything is as bright as it can be. What a blessing it is to have a Savior at a time like this." His last whispered words were, "My Savior." -From Life to Life.
112 -- THE GLORIOUS TRANSLATION OF HELEN CARPENTER
Helen A. Carpenter was born in Hamlin, N. Y. When but a child she was deeply conscientious, and one of the things she constantly practiced was every Saturday evening to go about the house and gather up all the secular work and reading matter and put it away until Monday, so that the Sabbath might be kept holy. She gave her heart to God at the age of seventeen years, and her entire after life was characterized by unswerving devotion to His cause.
When nineteen, while engaged in teaching school, she took a severe cold, which speedily developed into consumption and terminated her earthly career at the age of twenty years. During her illness she rapidly ripened for heaven, and her young friends who called upon her would afterwards say, "One would not think Helen was going to die; she speaks as if she were going on a most delightful journey!"
About a week before her death her mother, sitting by her couch, became suddenly conscious of a most heavenly influence pervading the entire room, and so powerful was it that she could scarcely refrain from shouting aloud. She wondered if Helen, on whose countenance rested a pleased expression, felt it too.
The next day Helen said, "Ma, you thought I was asleep yesterday while you were sitting by me. I was not; but two angels came into the room, the wails did not hinder their coming.
'My spirit loudly sings,
The holy ones -- behold they come,
I hear the noise of wings.'
It was all true, only I did not hear any noise."
A few evenings later her mother, observing her to be unusually restless, placed her hand upon her brow and found it damp with the dew of death. She said to her daughter, "Helen, I think you are very near home. Have you any fear?" "Not a bit," Helen replied; "call the family, that I may bid them good-bye."
As they gathered about her she bade each one a loving farewell, telling them she was going to heaven through the blood of the Lamb, enjoining them to meet her there. She then said, "I have been thinking of this verse: 'He that spared not His own Son' " -- and as her voice began to falter when she got this far her mother repeated it for her. Upon being asked if she would like to have them sing for her she replied, "Sing until I die; sing my soul away!" For some time her sister sang to her the sweet songs of Zion; then, while standing near her, Helen said, "The time seems long, don't it!"
Her sister, Augusta, referring to an absent sister, said, "O, I wish L were here. What shall I tell her for you?" "Tell her to trust in the Lord," was her reply.
As her eyes closed in death her sister, Mary, bent over her to catch the last expression, when Helen gave a start of delightful surprise, as though she saw something glorious beyond conception, and then her happy spirit went to be forever with the Lord, but the look of inexpressible delight remained on her lovely countenance.
She was by nature so gentle and retiring that her friends feared that when she came to the "swellings of Jordan" she might have some fear, but the grace of her Heavenly Father enabled her to pass joyously in holy triumph to the skies.
Her sister, Mary E. Carpenter, who afterward went to Monrovia, Africa, as a missionary and died there, said while dying, "Living or dying, it's all right," thus submitting her will to the will of her Heavenly Father, whose wisdom saw it better for her to come to beaver than to labor in Africa. -- Written .for this work by L. M. F. Baird, of Alabama,. New York.
113 -- "O MARTHA, MARTHA, YOU HAVE SEALED MY EVERLASTING DAMNATION!"
Rev. Thomas Graham, the noted revivalist preacher of the Erie Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, relates the following sad experience:
A man who lived in Westmoreland county, Pa., had strong religious feelings and had commenced a religious life. About this time he married a woman who was decidedly irreligious and who opposed him. She forced him to omit family worship; she forced him from his closet and followed him with her opposition until he finally, discouraged, gave it up. The Spirit of God left him. He told Rev. Mr. Potter, a Presbyterian minister that he was lost forever and that he knew the very time and place the Spirit took its final departure; that he was going to hell but cared nothing about it. He lived some ten years after this and then died in the most awful agonies. He asked his wife to give him a glass of water for he would obtain none where he was going. He drank it greedily; then, looking his wife in the face, exclaimed, "O Martha, Martha, you have sealed my everlasting damnation!" and died.
114 -- LUCY G. THURSTON, THE YOUNG MISSIONARY OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Lucy Goodale Thurston died on the 24th of Feb., 1841, in the city of New York, at the house of Mr. A. P. Cumings, one of the editors of the New York Observer. Her age was seventeen years and ten months.
She was born at Honolulu, April, 1823. Her father and mother were devoted missionaries. Their daughter was taken to heaven a few days after the arrival of the mother and children in this country for a rest. This was the first time the young missionary had ever been in a civilized country.
The night but one before her death, during an interval of comparative ease, she conversed with freedom and composure upon the probable result of her illness. After speaking of the ardent desire she had cherished of being fitted to return to her beloved home, to engage in the instruction of the natives, she said there was but one other trial to her in the thought of dying in her present circumstances. It was that she should not see her father. "But," she added, "in saying this I do not wish to be understood as expressing any opposition to the will of God concerning me." A friend repeated the hymn commencing, "It is the Lord," which appeared to give her great comfort, and she soon after said, "It is all right -- all right."
When told that the hour of her departure yeas approaching, the struggle with her tender affections was evidently great. But it was short. "Mother, do you think I am going to die now?" said she. "Yes, my dear." said her mother, "I think you are going soon."
"Oh, I loved you all too well, too well -- I loved him too well." It was thought she alluded to her absent father. "But you love your Savior, too, Lucy." "Yes, mother, I do -- I do love Him." "Whom do you love, my dear?" "Jesus Christ. I love Him with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. Mother, I know I love Him -- I do -- I do." -- The Missionary's Daughter,
115 -- "GOOD-BY, GOOD-BY. NOW I AM READY, JESUS."
Through the kindness of Rev. W. N. Hall, of Chicago, we insert this:
About three years ago, while serving as pastor of an Iowa church, there came under my observation a death that was most remarkable as an instance of divine grace, and faith of a true believer.
Mrs. M - was a young married woman, a member of the Baptist church, but without a pastor at the time. Being the pastor of her husband's family, she requested my ministries in her illness. In my frequent visits I was in every case deeply impressed with her faith, which enabled her to be in the state of religious triumph constantly. Her disease, consumption, and the rapidity of its advance, gave no hope of life beyond a few weeks. Yet death had no terrors for her, viewed from afar or near.
Quite frequently she had smothering spells, from which her friends would fear she would not be able to rally. To allay their fears, in each instance, as soon as possible she would say, "Don't be alarmed; my time to go has not come yet." On a beautiful Sabbath day the friends who inquired as to her condition were all told, "Hattie is much better to-day; she is unusually strong and free from any pain." The sun had just reached the meridian, and the family felt pleased with the bettered condition of their loved one. She requested all of them to come into her room. None could guess the reason. Looking upon the circle about her bed she said, "Are you all ready?" The answer was, "Yes, Hattie, we are all ready." Then she nodded to each, saying, "Good-bye, good-bye." Then with a voice clear and strong said, "Now I am ready, Jesus," and was gone instantly, there being no struggle or other sign of death. It was a case of believing in Jesus and not seeing death; of finding no valley between earth and heaven.
116 -- "I HAVE NO FEELING; THE SPIRIT OF GOD HAS LEFT ME."
A number of years ago, in the midst of a powerful revival, the preacher observed a young lady under deep conviction. He was moved by the Spirit of God to urge her to give her heart to God at once. He plead with her and urged her not to grieve the Holy Spirit, but she replied, "Not tonight." As she started for home, the man of God followed her to the door of the church, and urged her again not to leave the church without salvation. Again she replied, "Not tonight." He had a strange feeling in regard to the destiny of this young lady and was strangely moved to follow her out on the street and plead with her not to go home without giving her heart to God, but she again replied, "Some other time, not now." She went home under deep conviction and told her parents what a feeling she had, and how she had been halting between two opinions -- that she had never felt such concern for her soul before and had never realized her danger of being lost at any period during her life so much as she had realized it that night. Her father and mother were unsaved people. Their minds were planted in sin and unbelief and they had no sympathy with their daughter's interest in religion. She asked their opinion about becoming a Christian and uniting with the church. In reply they said, "You are young, and will have plenty of time when you settle down in life to think about your preparation for eternity. Why not enjoy life while you are young and not cut yourself off from society and other young people." With a sad heart she listened to their advice, and the enemy of her soul whispered, "Some other time will do just as well; you will have plenty of time to seek religion when your surroundings are more favorable."
She yielded to the advice of her ungodly parents and the devil and decided to wait awhile. A great struggle had been going on in her mind -- Satan struggling with her and showing her the pleasures of sin on one side, and the Spirit of God revealing the Kingdom of Heaven and everlasting life on the other. How sad that she should turn away from the Spirit of God and her prospects of heaven in order to please her ungodly parents and to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
The revival meetings closed and her interest in religion was soon gone. In a short time she was taken very sick. After every effort to restore her to health had failed, and she continued to grow worse, and all human effort and hope were at an end, her parents realized that they could only have her with them for a few hours longer, they went to the bedside of their dying daughter and informed her that she had but a short time to live. They told her that if she wished to be a Christian they were willing, in fact they advised her that it was time now to make preparations for eternity. She looked up at her parents in surprise, her eyes stared and her face was the very picture of despair. She said, "Father and mother, you remember that during the recent revival I was greatly interested in the salvation of my soul. The Spirit of God was striving with me, and I felt my need of God as I had never felt it before. I asked your advice and you discouraged me. You advised me to wait until some other opportunity. I listened to your counsel, and now it is too late. My heart is as hard as stone. I have no feeling. The Spirit of God has left me." Her parents urged her, and to please them she consented to have them send for the minister. He came at once and plead with her and tried to show her that God was a merciful God, but her mind was full of unbelief, and she insisted that she could not repent before she died. She was in great distress of mind and body, and as a last resort she requested that her coffin be sent for. It was brought and placed by the side of her bed. With her own hands she rapped upon the coffin and cried, "Oh, for feeling! Oh, for feeling!" but no feeling came. Then she sent for her shroud, and as she looked upon it and held it up before her she said, as only a dying person could say, "Oh, for feeling! Oh, for feeling!" But her cry was in vain. The presence of a coffin and a shroud could not awaken her slumbering conscience or bring back the Holy Spirit, and she died in despair.
We pray that our readers may take warning by this sad experience, for God says, "My Spirit shall not always strive wish man." Therefore, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." -- Editor.
117 -- "MARK THE PERFECT MAN, AND BEHOLD THE UPRIGHT: FOR THE END OF THAT MALL IS PEACE."
Not long since I stood by the bedside of my class leader, who shortly afterward passed away from earth to receive the reward of the just, and truly his path was like a shining light; and it shone more and more until he crossed the line of worlds. He told us that he had no changes to make, for there was not a thing between him and God. He exhorted us to be faithful, and prayed for an unsaved stranger who was dying with consumption. Although too weak to rise or turn himself he would break forth in song and with joyful countenance join in praises to God and the Lamb.
He made all the arrangements for his funeral, which caused his friends sorrow, but he said, "If I live, well; and if I die it is meet that I should set my house in order."
A few hours before his death his shouts of joy were heard by the neighbors on the outskirts
of the small village where he lived, and the unsaved, wondering at his exceeding joy, beheld the
triumph of his soul in the hour of sorest need and the power of God through our Lord Jesus Christ
to keep a soul to the end, according to the promise in Mat. 28: 20. -- Contributed for this book by E. C. Yerks, of Grand Ledge, Mich.
118 -- "NOT THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT; I HAVE CHRIST WITHIN, THE HOPE OF GLORY."
John P. Finley, my brother, was born in North Carolina, June, 1783. He was in the ministry about fifteen years. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Asbury on the 17th of September, 1815. He received ordination as elder at the hands of Bishop Roberts, July 2, 1820. At the time of his death he was a member of the Kentucky Annual Conference, actively dividing his time and energies between the business of collegiate instruction and the labor of the pulpit. . . .
As a minister, in the pulpit he was able, impressive, and overwhelming. The cross of his redemption was his theme; and in life and death it became to him the "emphasis of every joy." In all these relations I knew him well, and can, therefore, speak from the confidence of personal knowledge and accredited information. . . .
He died on the 8th of May, 1825, in the forty-second year of his age, and sixteenth of his ministry; and at the same time that this bereaved family wept upon his grave, the sadness of the church told that she had lost one of her brightest ornaments. Just before his triumphant spirit rose to sink and sigh no more, he was asked how he felt, and what were his prospects upon entering the dark valley and shadow of death. He replied, in language worthy of immortality, "Not the shadow of a doubt; I have Christ within, the hope of glory. That comprehends all!" and then, with the proto-martyr, he "fell asleep." -- Autobiography of Rev. James B. Finley.
119 -- LAST WORDS OF EDWARD GIBBON, THE NOTED INFIDEL -- "ALL IS DARK AND DOUBTFUL."
Edward Gibbon, the noted historian and infidel writer was born at Putney, England, 1787. He was expelled from Oxford on account of his having abjured Protestantism. To effect hit cure from popery he was sent to Lausanne, in Switzerland, to board in the house of M. Pavilliard, a Calvinist minister, who had the satisfaction of seeing him reconverted to Protestantism, in witness of which he received the sacrament in the church of Lausanne on Christmas, 1754, his belief in popery having lasted not quite eighteen months. -- Schaff's Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
Bishop J. F. Hurst, in his History of Rationalism, says: Gibbon was even more of a Frenchman than Hume. Sundering his relation to Oxford, in his seventeenth year, he embarked upon a course of living and thinking which, whatever advantage it might afford to his purse, was not likely to aid his faith. By a sudden caprice he became a Roman Catholic, and afterwards as unceremoniously denied his adopted creed. . . . In due time he found himself in Paris publishing a book in the French language. He there fell in with the fashionable infidelity, and so far yielded to the flattery of Helvetius and all the frequenters of Holbach's house that he jested at Christianity and assailed its divine character. He has left less on record against Christianity than Hume, but they must be ranked together as the last of the family of English deists.
D. W. Clark, in Death Bed Scenes, says: Gibbon, the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, is well known to have been what is termed a philosopher and an infidel. . . . In his memoirs, Gibbon has undesignedly presented a striking view of the cheerless nature of infidelity. Having no hope for eternity, he was eager for the continuation of his present existence. During his short illness, Gibbon never gave the least intimation of a future state of existence.
Rev. E. P. Goodwin, in Christianity, and Infidelity, says: Gibbon is one of the fairest as he is one of the ablest of infidels; and he has given us an autobiographical account, wherein, amid all the polish and splendor of the rhetoric of which he is such a master, there is not a line or a word that suggests reverence for God; not a word of regard for the welfare of the human race; nothing but the most sordid selfishness, vain glory, desire for admiration, adulation of the great and wealthy, contempt for the poor and supreme devotedness to his own gratification.
He died in London in 1794. His last words were, "All is now lost; finally, irrecoverably lost. All is dark and doubtful."
120 -- "HALLELUJAH, HE HAS COME; I AM GOING TO TELL ALL MY FRIENDS GOOD-BYE."
Mrs. H. A. Coon, of Marengo, Ill., sends us the following:
My mother died ten years ago, aged eighty-eight years, and had been a Christian since quite young. She was sick only two weeks towards the inst. After suffering intensely for ten days, she held tip her hands, with the nails showing death marks, and said, "See here, I am going now, glory to God! Yes, Jesus is coming for me. I shall soon be on the other side." ] said to her, "Ma, are you sure the way is all clear? Is everything under the blood?" She immediately replied, "Yes, darling, you will find me in the City of Light as sure as you live." She asked me to read her precious Bible to her, repeating, "In my Father's house are many mansions," etc., and sang,
"I know I am nearing the holy ranks,
Of friends and kindred dear;
For I brush the dew on Jordan's banks,
The crossing must be near."
Then raising both hands above her head she clapped them together shouting, "Hallelujah, He has come. I am going to tell all my friends good-bye." She slept about two hours and was gone.
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.