Compiled by Solomon Shaw (1854-1941)
This American author and editor was corresponding secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions.
He was born in Vermont in 1781, and died in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1831, at the age of fifty years. In his last moments he exclaimed, "O, wonderful! wonderful! wonderful! Glory that cannot be comprehended! Wonderful glory! I will praise Him! I will praise Him! Wonderful glory! Jesus reigneth!"
Mrs. H. A. Coon, of Marengo, IlL, sends us the following:
Mrs. Eliza Lamphare, my eldest sister, died thirty-one years ago, leaving her baby girl to me. She suffered twenty-five years with rheumatic consumption. She was converted in our home fifteen years before her death. On the day of her death, before she passed away, she said to her family, "I am going to heaven!" She sent for her pastor and neighbors and told them of her joy at the thought of so soon seeing Jesus. She said, "If this is death, let me always be dying." And, although she had not had her voice for six weeks, sweetly sang,
She exhorted all to be faithful and meet her in heaven. She sent messages of love to me, committing her little one to my trust. With her face lighted up with a heavenly radiance, she waved her hands and shouted, "Victory, and glory," until her spirit had departed.
A great many readers have but very little conception of true prayer. They excuse themselves when invited to pray in public by saying, "I am not gifted in that way; I am not educated." They regard the opinions of men and the face of clay more than they do the will of God. They fail to realize that true prayer is the desire of the heart, uttered or unexpressed.
We have a beautiful example in a dying young man: He was so concerned about his relation to God that he lost sight of his surroundings and the people who stood by him. "I cannot make a very smooth prayer," he said, "but Jesus hears me. Why, the angels are around me; if you could see them as I do you would be glad, too. Jesus hears me." When God lends a listening ear and regards our cry, every voice should be hushed and every excuse banished. Nothing should interrupt or hinder our communion with God; and if we abandon ourselves to His will, He will see that our fellowship and prayer is unhindered, for "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
This noted Presbyterian clergyman was born near Jonesborough, Tennessee, Sept. 24, 1793.
In 1810 he graduated at Washington College, Virginia, and for some years practiced medicine, and was surgeon in the United States army, during which time he became an infidel; but in the providence of God he was brought under conviction and saved from a refuge of lies. He was made a new creature in Christ, and licensed to preach in the spring of 1825.
After working for the Lord for five years in Tennessee and Kentucky, he went to Missouri and established Marion College, and was its first president, filling that position for six years.
In 1836 he opened a training school for missionaries, and wrote that widely circulated book, Cause and Cure of Infidelity.
He died in 1844. His last words were, "My Master calls, I am going home. It is well."
My dear father, William H. Whitford, was taken with a severe hemorrhage of the lungs on April 9, 1898, from which he gradually failed in strength, and died a few days after. He was a devoted Christian, and as long as he was able to speak he would say, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!"
Father suffered from a complication of diseases which often caused him severe pain, and when suffering he would often go to God in prayer and secure relief and get richly blessed in his soul. One morning his face was lit up with a holy light as he shouted, "Hallelujah! Glory to God!" Sister Palmer, who was in the next room, said that she, too, felt the power of the Holy Spirit and shouted. Oh, how the Spirit would come upon us. Indeed it was a heavenly place. The gloom was all taken away. It did not seem like dying.
Although father was in his eighty-second year when he died, his mind was very clear all the time, and he would think of everything needful to be done. His only desire to live was to help me, as we lived alone. He gave that to the Lord. He talked about his funeral very calmly, and selected the text, Psalms 87:37, and desired that the old hymns be sung, mentioning this one, "And must this body die." I asked him if he wanted flowers, to which he replied, "Oh, no. I want it very plain, clothed in righteousness." He sang with us a short time before he died, and oh, how his face lit up with joy while singing.
"Hallelujah! Glory to God!" he shouted, and then clapped his hands and said, "If I could only get up, I feel I could leap and shout for joy. Peace, peace; my peace is made with God. I am filled with His love. Jesus alone heaves in sight." It seemed as though he had a view of heaven. His last words were, "O, bless the Lord[ Praise the Lord!" and thus he went sweetly to sleep, safe in the arms of Jesus. - Written for this book by his daughter, Mrs. A. Slade, of Portland, New York.
Bro. R. Thomas, of Orleans, Nebraska, sends us the following for our book:
When father moved to Iowa in 1863, it was our privilege to settle near a well-to-do family, the father of which was an infidel. There were several sons in the family, and all save one were irreligious. The one who professed religion was a Universalist preacher. In fact the family were surrounded by every influence that would make infidel belief satisfactory, if it could be so, but such was not the case. No doubt many reminiscences of interest could be given, but suffice it to say that the day-star of this intelligent, well-to-do farmer set in the dark, and his last words were this short prayer, "Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul."
This noted Scotch Presbyterian minister was born in 1674. He studied at Rotterdam, then at Perth and Edinburgh, and in 1692 entered the University of St. Andrews. In 1700 he was ordained in the parish of Ceres, and in 1710 he was appointed to a Professorship of Theology in St. Andrews.
He was author of several works, including Natural Religion Insufficient and Revelation Necessary to Man's Happiness, The Great Concern of Salvation, and others. These works, especially the autobiographic memoir of the Holy Halyburton, were formerly very popular in Scotland, and still are greatly relished by persons of serious disposition.
He died in 1712. His last words were, "My peace hath been like a river." He had promised some friends that when he was so far gone that he could speak no more, he would give a sign of triumph, and accordingly, when the powers of speech were gone, he lifted and clapped his hands, then expired.
In the spring of 1891, while Rev. C. B. Ebey was holding a meeting at Colgrove, California, two young ladies and their brother, who had been regular attendants at the meeting, were brought under deep conviction, but would not yield to the Spirit. The youngest was a bright, healthy young girl of fourteen years, named Madge.
One day Bro. Ebey said to her, "Madge, I believe this meeting is being held for you." She felt that she ought to give her heart to God, and decided to do so, but was persuaded by her brother David not to for awhile longer. Her brother dearly loved her, and knew if she got saved that it would end their worldly pleasures together, so he persuaded her to wait a few years, and then they would both get saved. The meeting closed, and they had both said to the Spirit, ' 'Wait until a more convenient season." A few weeks afterwards Bro. Ebey received word that Madge was dead, and was asked to come to her home immediately. He went as quickly as he could. The mother met him at the door, and said, "Bro. Ebey, you have come to a sad home. Madge is dead, and David is crazy." When the doctor had said that Madge could not live, David went in by her bedside, knelt down, and commenced to pray as only a sinner could pray, for God to save his sister. He urged Madge to pray, but she was too sick to make any effort, and she died without leaving any evidence of salvation. The strain was so much for the young man when he realized that his sister was dying unsaved, and that he was the cause of it, that his reason gave way. - Written for this work by Rev. F. A. Ames.
An aged Christian, Mr. Mead, when crossing over to heaven, was asked how he did? He answered, "I am going home as fast as I can, as every honest man should do when his day's work is over, and I bless God that I have a home to go to."
This holy woman of God was a successful evangelist of the Society of Friends. She was born Oct. 15, 1855. She went to heaven June 3, 1898. Her devoted husband, Seth C. Rees, is also a successful minister in the same church, and author of that excellent book, The Ideal Pentecostal Church.
We take the following from her published biography, entitled Hulda, the Pentecostal Prophetess, written by her son. He says:
"We saw from a distance the end approaching, but we could not fully realize the truth. It did not seem like 'the valley of the shadow.' We had read of the triumph of the saints when approaching the River, but surely this excelled anything of which we had ever heard. Such sweet resignation to all God's will, such divine unction in prayer, such holy tenderness in exhortation and admonition, such victory and gladness in the furnace of pain and agony! - these luminous beacons did much to dispel the gloom and lighten the shades of the nearing evening.
"Many visitors came to see her - some from considerable distance - and whenever her strength permitted it she always had them admitted to her room. Her words were ever full of cheer and eternal hope. On one occasion, when a minister called whom she had known for years, she said to him with the greatest exultation, "The glory holds!" Yes, thank God, it did hold. The gospel she had preached to so many thousands with emphasis and assurance was found true and unshakable in this time of earnest testing. One day her husband said to her:
" 'My dear, is it all true that we have preached?'
" 'Yes, yes; we have not put it strong enough! It is all true, and more!'
At another time she said: 'If the Lord takes me, it will be from the evil to come. Perhaps he sees something coming to me from which He wishes to protect me by taking me to Himself.'
"In one of her prayers she said: 'Thou hast put, O Lord, a great laugh in my heart. Glory! Glory be to Thy Name forever! No evil can come to me! All is turned to blessing!'...
"One afternoon the family were all gathered about her, when her face suddenly lighted up as if a candle were burning beneath the transparent skin. With the brightest, sweetest smile, and a far-away look as if she were gazing off In the distance, she said in a soft, reflective tone, 'I didn't know it was so beautiful.' After a moment or so she exclaimed rapturously, 'Can it be that the glory of the Lord is risen upon me?'
"Thus this daughter of the Most High drew near to her exit from this world. It was indeed to her, as she said, 'all bright and glorious ahead.'
"The night before she ascended she attempted to sing:
But she could only whisper the words. Her husband read the entire hymn to her.
"In the evening of Friday, June 3, as the darkness was deepening about us, we watched her slip quietly away. There was no struggle. She passed away from us as calmly as a child falling asleep. We knew that she was with the Lord, both hers and ours."
This famous English divine, author of Alarm to the Unconverted, was born in 16331 died in 1668. Although he died at the age of thirty-five, his influence for good was great. He lived a devoted life, and as the sun was setting, and he came to the end of life's journey, he exclaimed, "O, how sweet will heaven be! O, what a blessed day will the day of resurrection be! Methinks I see it by faith!"
While laboring in Canada on my first charge, two young men attended the meeting. They were bent on breaking up the service. I was visiting a family where one of them boarded. He was sullen and morose. He did not kneel when we prayed, nor pay any attention to our questions in regard to his soul. It was not long after this when both the young men were engaged in the brick-yard. It was the first day with one. The brick-yard caved in, and the friend whom we had warned was instantly killed. His companion lived long enough to groan out, "Lord, have mercy upon my soul! Lord, have mercy upon my soul!" Without leaving any evidence behind of having obtained his request, he was called to stand before his Maker. I attended the double funeral; a sad occasion it was. One of the mothers, who had opposed her son joining the Salvation Army, thinking it would be a disgrace to her, threw herself upon the casket and said, "Lord, have mercy on his soul!" But her interest in his soul came too late. It is a warning to all mothers who oppose their children in obeying their convictions of duty. - Written for this work by Kate H. Booth, of Buffalo, N. Y.
Byron Bunson, one of the most distinguished statesmen and scholars of Germany, was born in 1791 at Korbach, in the principality of Wualdeck. In 1841 he was sent on a special mission to London to negotiate for the erection of an Anglo-Prussian Bishopric in Jerusalem, and was shortly afterward appointed ambassador at the English court. He is known in literature by his Constitution of the Church of the Future, Christianity and Mankind, God in History, and many other works. He was a great statesman and philosopher.
He died at Bonn, in Germany, in 1860. On his deathbed he cried out, "All bridges that one builds through life fail at such a time as this, and nothing remains but the bridge of the Savior!"
Some years ago I was called to the bedside of an aged lady, familiarly known as Grandma Shears, to witness her departure from this life. We watched at her bedside all night, and sang many cheering songs to her, as
"O, think of the home over there,"
and others. As her mental powers gradually gave way, her children greatly feared that she would not be able to tell us of the rapture in passing over the River of Jordan, washed in the blood of the Lamb; but I said to them that God would clear her mental skies and let her tell us all about it; and He did. For an hour she lay calmly, saying "It is bright over the river; oh, so bright over there," and she passed sweetly to the land of flowers. - Written for this work by Rev. E. Ray, of Fredericktown, Mo.
Mary E. Jenks, of McBain, Michigan, sends us the following: The people of the village of M have been greatly shocked of late by the terrible death of one of its residents, a Mr. T____, an infidel.
This man had lived an ungodly life, making no preparation for the great beyond to which he was hastening. He did not attend the house of God, and cared for none of these things that could in any way lead him to a better life. But disease fastened upon him, and death's cold hand reached for him. Although near the valley of the shadow of death, he still continued to make calculations for the future, and once, when asked how he was, sneeringly said that God wouldn't let him die; he was too good to die. But as he grew worse he was made to feel that the end was drawing near. He could not lie down, but sat in his chair day and night, while his limbs were badly swollen.
He belonged to two secret orders, and one day sent for one of the brotherhood. He came, and Mr. T said to him, "Well, I am here yet, but I am going to die, and I want you to see to it that I am buried according to the ceremonies of the orders." The man responded, "That will be all right, but you had better be thinking about something else now." Mr. T went on with his directions, saying something about flowers, etc. How can anything in this world be more sad than to see a strong man dying without God, and with no heart to repent, but trying to comfort himself with how the last few rites will be performed over his lifeless remains.
Poor, wretched man; even this request was denied him. He would curse God while in the agonies of death.
Finally the end came, but instead of flowers, pomp and show over his body, he was gathered up in the blankets in which he sat, hurried into a box and carried to a Christless grave, while his soul went to meet the God he had so insulted. Who would not choose to die the death of the righteous?
Rev. J. B. Davis, of Davis Station, W. Va., sends us this sad experience, which we pray may be used of God as a warning to the living. He says:
Mrs. B____, of C____, W.Va., who had attended a revival meeting at Davis Creek Church (near my father's home), was besought by Christian friends to give her life to the Lord, but she refused. Shortly after this she was seized with a disease which soon brought her to death's door. Rev. J. D. Garrett, who had conducted the revival meeting at which she was present, was sent for, and, as he entered the home, the dying woman exclaimed, "I am lost, lost, lost, lost, lost!" The minister said to her, "My sister, Jesus loves you, and if you will trust Him He will save you." He then quoted some of God's promises to her.
"Oh, Bro. Garrett," she exclaimed, "if I had given Him my life when you were holding that meeting here, it would have been all right. He wanted to save me then, but it is too late now. I am lost, lost, lost!"
Bro. Garrett tried to get her to stop and reason with him, but she continued to cry, "Lost, lost," etc. The minister said that it seemed as though hell were near them that night, and was uncapped as the poor, dying woman wept over her lost condition.
Her son, who was away from home, was sent for, and, as he entered the room where his mother lay dying, she turned her face toward him and said, "Charley, is that you?" "Yes, mother," he replied, "how are you?" She exclaimed, "I am lost, lost!"
He went to her bedside, threw his arms about her, and told her of the Savior's love for sinners, but she cried, "It is too late for me, Charley; I am lost, lost," and she continued repeating this until her soul took its departure.
This little girl died in 1865, when only six years old. She was the child of Major-General John Buford. She was taught to repeat the Lord's prayer every night. As the child lay on her dying bed, and the hour of her departure was drawing near, she all of a sudden opened her soft blue eyes, and, looking confidently into her mother's face, said, "Mamma, I forgot to say my prayers!" Summoning what strength she had left, she clasped her little white hands together, and, like a little angel, prayed thus:
The prayer finished, she never spoke again.
I wonder how many of our readers say their prayers every night before they go to sleep. Editor.
No doubt many of our readers have heard of Rev. Joseph Barker. For the early part of his life he was a noted worker in the service of the devil, and preached his infidelity wherever he had an opportunity, but we are thankful to God that the last part of his life was spent in the service of the Lord. He was converted from infidelity, and became a preacher of righteousness.
He died at Omaha, Nebraska, in 1870, at the age of seventy-one years. A few days before his death he spoke as follows to his son and two friends who were present:
"I feel that I am approaching my end, and desire that you should receive my last words and be witness to them. I wish you to witness that I am in my right mind, and fully understand what I have just been doing; and dying, that I die in the full and firm belief in Jesus Christ. I am sorry for my past errors; but during the last years of my life I have striven to undo the harm I did, by doing all that I was able to do to serve God, by showing the beauty and religion of His Son, Jesus Christ. I wish you to write and witness this, my last confession of faith, that there may be no doubt about it."
In a country village of Pennsylvania there lived an infidel physician, who by infidel books persuaded a young man to deny his Savior.
In about 1875 this man died, aged fifty years. The infidel teacher was his physician. When his end was approaching, the doctor told him to die as he had lived - a rejecter of God and Christ. "Hold on to the end," urged the doctor. "Yes, doctor," said the dying man, "there is just my trouble; you gave me nothing to hold on to." The doctor did not reply.
N. M. Nelms, of Kopperl, Texas, sends us this very sad experience. He says: Miss A____, who lived at C____, in Georgia, was taken very sick, and was informed that she could not live. Realizing the way she had lived, surrounded by her ungodly associates, with whom she had indulged in the pleasures of sin, and how her parents had educated her to follow the fashions of the world, and decorated her in gay clothing, and turned her away from the truth of God, she called her ungodly father to her bedside and said, "Your heart is as black as hell. If you had taught me to live for God, rather than to have spent your time quarreling with mother, I might have been saved." Then, turning to others who stood by her dying bed, she plead with them, saying, "Do not follow my ungodly example; do not do as I have done; do not enjoy or indulge in the hellish pleasures of the world. Oh, if I had heeded the warnings of my friend who lived a holy and devoted life." Then she said, "Oh, the devil is coming to drag my soul down to hell! Don't live in pleasure and be found wanting, bat live in Christ complete and wanting nothing. I am lost, lost forever! Oh, lost, lost, lost!" - then died.
This celebrated missionary to the Indians was born at Haddam, Connecticut, April 20, 1718. His parents were noted for their piety, and were closely related to high officials of the church and state.
In 1739 he entered Yale College, where he stood first in his class. He was greatly favored of God in being privileged to attend the great revival conducted by Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and Tenent.
President Edwards says, in his memoir of Brainerd: "His great work was the priceless example of his piety, zeal and self devotion. Why, since the days of the apostles none have surpassed him. His uncommon intellectual gifts, his fine personal qualities, his melancholy and his early death, as well as his remarkable holiness and evangelistic labors, have conspired to invest his memory with a book halo, and the story of his life has been a potent force in the modern missionary era. It is related of Henry Martyn that, while perusing the life of David Brainerd, his soul was filled with a holy emulation of that extraordinary man, and after deep consideration and fervent prayer, he was at length fixed in a resolution to imitate his example."
Brainerd was a representative man, formed both by nature and grace to leave a lasting impression upon the piety of the church.
He died at Northampton, Oct. 9, 1747. The last words of this dying apostle were, "I am almost in eternity. I long to be there. My work is done. I have done with my friends; all the world is nothing to me. Oh, to be in heaven to praise and glorify God with His holy angels."
This eminent Scotch Presbyterian divine was born in 1600, and died in 1661. He was commissioner to the Westminster General Assembly in 1643, and was for some time principal of St. Andrews College. When on his death-bed he was summoned to appear before Parliament for trial, for having preached Liberty arid Religion. He sent word with the messenger to tell Parliament "That I have received a summons to a higher bar - I must needs answer that first; and when the day you name shall come, I shall be where few of you shall eater."
The great reformer, Rev. Richard Watson, was one of God's most noted preachers and theologians. He was born in England, Feb. 22, 1781; died Jan. 8, 1833. He took an active part in the Anti-slavery movement, and lived to see the preparation for the emancipation of all slaves in British colonies.
He was the author of many books. In his dying hour he exclaimed, "I shall see God! - I - I individually. I, myself, a poor worm of the earth, shall see God! How shall I praise Him?"
Rev. Fred. Scott, of Arkansas City, Kansas, sends us this sad experience. He says: In the year 1880, in company with a few other pilgrims, I held a little street meeting off Brightside Lane, Sheffield, England, our object being to extend an invitation to passers-by to come to the services at the little Primitive Methodist Chapel, which was close by.
We stopped on the street, close to the home of the subject of this sketch (whose name I do not remember), and commenced to sing and talk to the people. He came out of his house in great rage and excitement, saying that we were disturbers of the peace and ought to be prosecuted. He secured the attention of some of the people, and preached his infidelity to them, telling them that the Bible was a humbug, and Christianity a fraud; churches and ministers an imposition on the people, and that society should be rid of them all. We tried to reason with him, but all in vain.
The following week some of the Pilgrims called at his home, and offered to pray with him and give him tracts to read, but he scornfully refused all of their offers. He abused their good intentions, and in a boasting way talked to them of the narrowness of Christianity, and the great freedom of his infidelity. Several times after that he made it a rule to meet us on the street, and try and confuse the people and break up the meeting. His presence was such an annoyance to us, and so detrimental to the meetings, that we scarcely could hold them. The lust time I ever saw him come out of his house was on Sunday morning, when he came walking down the street, close to where we were singing, with a stick in one hand and an axe in the other, and when he came very close to us he began to chop the wood for the purpose of getting the attention of the people from us. The chips began to fly around, and we thought best to move on, which we did. From that time on we all began to offer special prayer for his conversion; but God did not answer our prayers in the way we thought he would.
The next Sunday we went to our street meeting, feeling that in some way God would give us a victory over him, but to our surprise we did not find him there. I inquired about him, and found that he was suddenly taken very ill. The following week I was called to his room, and found him in a very dangerous condition. He was much changed in his mind; was very mild, tender and teachable, but could not repent. Many of the pilgrims visited him and tried to lead him to Jesus, but their efforts were in vain. He said that he knew that he was lost and doomed forever. In a few days I called again, and found him very close to the crossing. I told him of God's boundless mercy, and how it had reached Nebuchadnezzar and Manasseh, and that God had given His Son even for him; but he insisted that it was too late now, as he had sinned against light and knowledge when he knew better.
The fact of having disturbed our meetings preyed upon his mind, and he told me to faithfully warn all such scoffers of their danger. He wept bitterly as we talked to him of his lost condition, and said that if he could only live his life over again he would live for God; but it was a vain hope - it was past - his last chance was gone. The awful distress of his mind "became worse and worse until the end came. He expired in great agony of soul.
To live without Christ is folly; to be without Him on a deathbed is distressing; to die without Him is awful But oh, the thought of an eternity without Christ! My scoffing friend, take warning! Stop in time - stop now! "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." (Prov 1: 24-26.)
In Arkansas there was an aged lady, Mrs. Abbott, who had been suffering for some time. I was at her house just before she died She would sing and pray and exhort the people, especially the young folks, telling them to get ready to meet her in heaven, and to quit their sins and to give their hearts to God. The night that I visited her, I shook her emaciated hand, and as I looked into her wrinkled face she said to me, "I am ready to go! All that are ready to meet me in heaven, were they to die tonight, come and shake my hand. Hallelujah to God! I am going home to glory and be with my Jesus." A few hours afterwards she triumphantly passed away singing praises to God and praying for husband and seven children. Praise the Lord for ever and ever. - Written for this work by N. M. Nelms of Kopperl, Texas.
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