Compiled by Solomon Shaw (1854-1941)
Bishop Hanby was a devoted preacher of the United Brethren Church. - Editor.
Awhile before he died the bishop was observed, by his daughter who sat near his couch, to be weeping. "What is it father?" was the tender inquiry. "Oh, I am so happy," was the reply. "My long, toilsome journey is nearly ended; my life work is joyfully over; half of my children are already safe in heaven, and I am just as sure the rest will be. Half are safe at home, and all the rest are on the way. Mother is there (referring to his wife), and in a little while I shall be there, too. These lines are in my mind constantly:
After he had descended into the river, he shouted back, "I'm in the midst of glory!" - From Life to Life.
The following incident from the pen of Sister M. A. Sparling, Claremont, N. H., is an illustration of the words of Holy Writ, that "the wicked is ruined in the work of his own hands." She writes:
While reading Echo From the Border Land, something said, "You have an echo from the 'lower region.' " If it were Father's will, I'd love to stand up in your congregation and deliver the message I can now only write.
A few years ago I was at a camp-meeting in Rockingham, Vt., and a gang of rowdies got together to set a time to break up the whole meeting. They lived eight miles away. So on Thursday evening they came to the ground to accomplish their fiendish work and "have their fun," as they told some of their friends. Their plan was to lay trails of powder into every tent, and under the beds, and when the town clock struck twelve all were to touch fire to the powder and run to a distance and see the frightened women and children run and scream. At ten a distant thunder was heard, and while they were waiting for the horn" to start the fire God sent one of the most terrific thunder and hail storms I ever witnessed. It had been a hot day and these young men had no overcoats to put on, and as their last resort, after seeing their powder all wet and their plans defeated, they were compelled to ride back to their homes, eight miles, all drenched with rain and chilled through. The ringleader had to be carried into the house, benumbed. His mother tried for hours to get him warm. Then came a burning fever. And then he called his dear mother and told her what he had done, saying, "Mother, I've got to die! Do pray! Do pray! What shall I do? O, how can I die?" She said, "I never prayed." "Then call father," cried the dying man. He could not pray. Then he cried, "What shall I do? O, how can I die?" Then he would clutch his hands and ring them in agony, crying, "I can't die so! I can't die so! Mother, mother, do pray! do pray!"
The father went for a Baptist deacon, but before he arrived the young man was past help, and with distorted eyes, hands uplifted over his head, and writhing in agony, he died raving: and among his last words were: "I'm going to hell; I'm lost, lost, lost! I can't die so! I can't, I can't! Mother, 'tis awful to go to hell this way!" - The Revivalist.
Bro. Samuel G. Bingaman, of Williams, Oregon, sends us this touching experience. He says:
When I was a soldier in Memphis, Missouri, a comrade said to me, "I wish you would go over to that house yonder and stay with them to-night, for they are in a terrible condition there."
About dark I went over, and found things in a terrible state. The house was dilapidated - almost ready to fall down, and the cellar was full of muddy water. I ascended an old pair of stairs on the outside of the house, and entered a small room - the house of affliction, the drunkard's home. It contained no furniture, not even chairs or bedsteads, nothing but an old trunk, on which an elderly lady sat, and held in her arms a little child, almost dead, while on the floor lay another that had died but a few minutes before, and a third one was very low. The lady then pointed to an old pile of dirty bed quilts on the floor in one corner of the room, saying, "There lies the mother, and we don't think that she will live until morning; and worse than all this (we thought, What can be worse?), we are looking for the father to come home to-night, drunk."
About midnight he came; but that awful scene of the dead and dying did not affect the poor drunkard's heart. He drew out his bottle of whiskey and begged me to drink with him!
But there was one of that family who was deeply penitent, and earnestly desired to "flee from the wrath to come" - it was the broken-hearted mother. At her request I often visited her, and talked to her of the Savior, and sang to her of heaven.
One day while calling to see her, I found her cold, and sinking fast. Death was folding her in his cold embrace. But just as those dark billows of death were rolling over her, they were suddenly turned to bright dashing waves of glory. She looked up and said, "How beautiful everything appears." A lady who was present at her dying bedside said to her, "I do not see anything beautiful." "No," replied the dying woman, "there is nothing in this house but dirt and rags, but I see things beautiful and lovely." Her face then lit up with a happy look, and with a smile upon her countenance, her spirit took its flight to bright mansions of bliss. As I stood and looked upon her lifeless form, with the peaceful expression on her face: I thought, surely death to the child of God is but the gate of heaven.
This saint of God was a prominent educator, and for some time president of Bowdoin College. Dr. Appleton was also a noted Congregationalist preacher and theologian. He was born in 1772 and died in 1819. His last words were: "Glory to God in the highest; the whole earth shall be filled with his glory."
This apostle of New England Methodism was born in Virginia in 1758, and was powerfully converted and joined the church in 1773. He was a Holy Ghost preacher, and a great revivalist. Much of his time was spent in traveling and preaching from the year 1787 to 1800.
He was three times chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, and also wrote a history of American Methodism.
He died in 1816, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. As the time for his departure drew near, he suddenly, in a rapture, exclaimed, "Glory! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Jesus reigns!"
Mrs. J. Ransom, of Lawrence, Michigan, with whom we are well acquainted, sends us this touching experience:
Hannah was the wife of a Methodist minister. She was much beloved by all who knew her. Her whole soul was engaged in the work of the Lord, but consumption laid its withering hand upon her, and she went home to die. She was very triumphant as she drew near to the river. Her spirit seemed to have taken its flight, and they were about to close her eyes, when she aroused with a heavenly light on her face and said, "I have been in such a beautiful place, and saw the redeemed ones." Her mother said, "Did you know them?" She replied, "Some I knew, and some [ did not." Her husband asked, "Did you see our baby?" (a little one who had died a short time before,) She said, "Yes, I saw my baby." And after talking for some time in the same rapturous strain, the glad spirit soared away to join the happy throng.
The life of this remarkable Irish preacher, who spent most of his long life traveling through Ireland on horseback, and preaching to the humble poor from his saddle, was written by the Rev. William Arthur, author of The Tongue of Fire. The Lord saved Ousley from a life of sin and dissipation, and made him a power for good, and many were turned from the evil of their ways through his influence.
The village of Dunmore, in the County of Galway, in the province of Connaught, Ireland, was Gideon Ousley's birthplace. He was born on the 24th of February, 1762. We quote the following from Life Stories of Remarkable Preachers, by Rev. J. Vaughan:
In the latter part of his life Gideon Ousley did more good by his publications than by his preaching. No man was better qualified to grapple with the errors of popery than he, and this he did right manfully. His principal work, which was written in clear and popular style, was his Old Christianity, which did a vast amount of good. Some of his tracts, too, were scattered broad. cast over the country. This man of God, who, on account of his preaching so frequently from the saddle, was called by many a "Cavalry preacher," had faithfully served his God as a Mission rider and preacher on Irish soil for forty years, when on coming to Dublin at the close of his seventy-seventh, year, he became too weak to leave his lodgings. His faithful Harriet was soon at his bedside. It soon became evident that his work was done. Being asked what he thought of the gospel which he had preached for so many years, he replied, "Oh, it is light, and life, and peace." The last words he uttered were, "I have no fear of death - the Spirit of God sustains me - God's Spirit is my support." About mid-day on the 13th of May, 1839, he entered into that rest that remaineth for the people of God. Fourteen years afterwards his gentle and loving wife followed him to the land of life and glory.
A youth at one of the large iron works in Sheffield was some time ago accidentally thrown on to a red hot armor plate. When he was rolled off by his fellow-workmen, it was doubtful if he could live, as nearly all one side of him was burned to the bone. His workmates cried, " Send for the doctor," but the poor suffering youth cried, " Never mind sending for the doctor; is there anyone here can tell me how to get saved? My soul has been neglected, and I'm dying without God. Who can help me?"
Although there were three hundred men around him, there was no one who could tell him the way of salvation. After twenty minutes of untold agony he died as he had lived.
The man who saw this accident, and heard the cries of the dying youth, was a wretched backslider, and when I asked him how he felt about the matter, he said, "I have heard his cries ever since, and wished I could have stooped down and pointed him to Jesus, but my life closed my lips."
Does your life tell sinners that you are saved, or does it close your lips, when those around hear your talk and witness your actions? - William Baugh.
While we were holding revival meetings at Miller's Landing, Missouri, over twenty years ago, a very sick woman living in the village desired to see us. We called at her home, and found her on her death-bed. She had heard of the revival meetings, and how God had opened the windows of heaven and poured out a great blessing on the community. A number had already been gloriously saved. The Lord used the influence of this revival' to awaken in her heart a great desire for a deeper and richer experience. We were greatly blessed in praying and singing with her, and we remember well how she shouted and praised the Lord and clapped her hands for joy while we sang,
She was so greatly blessed of God that she praised the Lord night and day. She died in a few days praising God with almost every breath. We preached her funeral sermon to a large congregation of sympathizing friends. We were impressed with the fact that she was unable to talk above a whisper on other subjects, yet while she was under the influence of the Holy Spirit she could shout and praise the Lord with a loud and strong voice. The Lord gave her strength to praise Him to the last, and she had a triumphant entrance into the courts of glory.
We are thankful for the privilege of witnessing such a triumphant death, and pray that our readers may so live that God can bless them in prosperity, in affliction, and under all circumstances and give them an abundant entrance into that city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. - Editor.
"The life of Thomas Walsh, says Dr. Southey, "might almost convince a Catholic that saints were to be found in other communions as well as in the Church of Rome." Walsh became a great biblical scholar; he was an Irishman. He mastered the native Irish that he might preach in it, but Latin, Greek and Hebrew became familiar to him, and of the Hebrew, especially, it is said that he studied so deeply that his mind was an entire concordance of the whole Bible. His soul was as a flame of fire, but it burnt out the body quickly. John Wesley says of him, "I do not remember ever to have known a man who, in so few years as he remained on earth, was the instrument of converting so many sinners." He became mighty in his influence over the Roman Catholics. The priests said that "Walsh had died some years ago, and that he who went about preaching on mountains and highways, in meadows, private houses, prisons and ships, was a devil who had assumed his shape." This was the only way in which they could account for the extraordinary influence he possessed. His labors were greatly divided between Ireland and London; but everywhere he bore down all before him by a kind of absorbed ecstasy of ardent faith But he died at the age of twenty-seven. While lying on his death-bed he was oppressed with a sense of despair, even of his salvation. The sufferings of his mind on this account were intense. At last he broke out in an exclamation, "He is come! He is come! My Beloved is mine, and I am His forever!" and so he fell back and died.
Thomas Walsh is a great name still in the records of the lay preachers of early Methodism. - The Great Revival.
Some of the experiences of this book are very touching, but the experience of my own precious, sainted mother, Joanna M. Shaw, is so closely related to my own that my heart is greatly moved whenever I think of her life and death. She was born in Ohio, Dec. 28, 1835; died in Lake Co., Indiana, near Crown Point, March 11, 1867.
Her father's family, including eight children, moved to Lake Co., Indiana, in the spring of 1845.
"During the winter of 1847 Rev. H. B. Ball, of the Methodist Church, held a revival meeting in the community in the new log church, when many were converted, and one night during this revival meeting," writes her brother, Rev. R. H. Sanders, of Laport, Indiana, "after listening to a sermon preached from the text, ' One sinner destroyeth much good' (Eccl. 9:8), and while they were singing,
I knelt at the old-fashioned mourner's bench. Your mother knelt by my side, and together we sought and found the Savior. After that we often sang,
I feel she is still singing it above, and I below. While I write, her spirit seems very near me; and I can almost hear her as then, singing,
Your mother's was a very clear conversion, as well as my own. I do not think she ever doubted it. Her life was a very exemplary one; she seemed to possess her soul in patience, having abiding faith in God, from whom she also received great consolation. Knowing her life as I did, I do not wonder that, though death came suddenly and apparently without warning, it found her ready. As nearly as I can remember, the circumstances as related by your father to me are about these:
"She had been suffering for a few days with a cold, but nothing serious was anticipated. She arose in the morning, but soon complained of dizziness and either fell, or was about to fall, when your father helped her to the bed, where for a few moments she remained unconscious, or apparently so. Then, reviving, she opened her eyes and said to him, "I am going to heaven. Bring up the children in the fear of the Lord, and meet me there. And now, good-by," when she again became unconscious, and her spirit fled to be with Jesus; and yet, as I verily believe, to linger near and woo us heavenward."
Uncle is a member of the Northwest Indiana Conference of the M. E. Church, and has preached the gospel for nearly forty years. A great many have been saved through his influence. He was in his fourteenth year, and mother in her twelfth, when they were made new creatures in Christ.
She was married when quite young, and I was the first-born of her five children. My earliest recollection of my mother was when she knelt by my little trundle bed at night, and taught me to say,
The first seed of divine truth was planted in my heart at that time. How well do I remember the heart stings and the dark cloud that came over our humble little country home the morning that mother left us. We all wept as though our hearts would break. How the cross words and unkind actions that I had given her haunted me night and day until her prayers were answered. And how I cried to mother's God for mercy; and my sins against mother and God were forever swept away by the blood of Christ.
Words can never describe my thankfulness for being able to say that I never saw my mother angry or out of patience. I often saw her in tears, weeping over my disobedience, and other sins of the family. I have often knelt by her grave and wept for joy while thanking God for her holy life and example. Often in revival meetings I have been melted to tears while relating her dying words and how her godly influence led to my salvation. The value and influence of her Christian life will never be known until we meet in heaven. - Editor.
Who would not exclaim "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his," when they read such an account as this which we condense from a report by Rev. C. B. Jernigan, secretary of Texas Holiness Association, in the "Texas Holiness Advocate." We are well acquainted with Bro. Jernigan, who preached the funeral sermon of the one of whom he writes. - Editor.
Brother Frank M. Major of Van Alstyne, Texas, was converted in 1888, in his sixteenth year, and was blessedly sanctified four years before his death at Elmont, Texas.
He was stricken with typhoid fever, November 6, 1900, of which he died fourteen days later, in the full triumph of the Christian faith. On being spoken to in the morning of the day before his death, he said: "I don't know just what has passed since I have been sick; it all seems to me like a fairy story." In a little while he was in an ecstasy of joy. His brother John coming in said: " Frank, we ought to thank God for his goodness to us." With a beam of glory upon his face he replied: "The best of all is to be one of His angels." Later he said to his brother, Judge R. Major: "Judge, it's wonderful to be free, isn't it? It's glorious to think of going to heaven." A little later when some flowers were brought in, he said: "They are so beautiful; a few more would be just like heaven."
On the following morning, long after the attending physicians had thought him in the throes of death, he said: "We are going to have a testimony meeting before I go. Light the lamp and get the books." On being asked if it was dark, he said yes. His wife asked him what song he wanted sung. He replied, "Any one, the Revival is full of them." Thinking his request a mental wandering, it was not complied with at once. A few moments later he said "Johnnie, sing ' There'll be no dark valley when Jesus comes." For days he had been able to talk only in short, broken sentences, but now to the surprise of all he joined in and sang bass with a full, strong voice, while a beam of heavenly glory rested on his face. Then he said, "There are plenty more." When they sang "'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus," he sang the last stanza alone - " I'm so glad I learned to trust him." Then he sang alone with wonderful appropriateness:
At the close he said: "Bless the Lord, I had rather have salvation than to own all the world; the world passeth away, but salvation is forever. I am so glad I'm sanctified; for four years I have been walking just where God wanted me to walk. My path has been strewn with flowers. I have had trials and difficulties, but God's grace was sufficient for me. It's all joy now. I like a faith good for a cloudy day, as well as a sunshiny day." Some one said "Frank, the Lord is blessing you now." He replied "He has always blessed me when I trusted Him." Then he said "If there are any here unsaved, let them come around the bed, for if we come unto the Lord He will in no wise cast us out, for whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Then he sang:
One of the attending physicians seeing the power on him, said: " Frank, your work is not done; the Lord can use you yet. Don't you believe He is able to raise you up? He answered "Yes, if he is willing." "But," said the physician, "don't you think he is willing? The Bible says 'whatsoever you ask in my name believing ye shall receive." Frank replied "I look at it in this way: Sometimes God can get more glory out of a man's death than his life. Sometimes one prays for healing and God gives him the assurance before he gets the healing; another man just as good as him, may pray for the same but gets no assurance and can't claim the promise. If all could pray the prayer of faith no good man would ever die." A little later Judge Major said to him: " Frank, you will soon be with little John and Ethel and Pa. Tell them I'm coming." Smiling he nodded assent. A few moments later when his niece came in he took her by the hand and sung in a low, sweet voice:
A moment later he said, "I can see through. I am going now." Then, after a severe paroxysm, with the chill of death upon him, he said, "I am so tired. I have my stick and gown; I am going;" and he fell asleep in Jesus.
"O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
These were among the last words of a young girl seventeen years of age whose mother died when she was a babe. Her name was Susie Craig. Her home was in Muddlety, Nicholas County, West Virginia, and the facts were given us by her older sister, Mrs. Aggie Thomas of Erbacon, in the same state. For three years she had been an earnest, devoted Christian. After three weeks illness of typhoid fever, it was evident she was very near death. Her father was weeping in a room adjoining the one in which she was lying. She heard him and said, "Tell him not to cry - tell them all not to shed a tear for me." Then after speaking of the band of angels all around her she added: "Yes, there's ma - I'm coming ma," and then "O, Maggie," and thus greeting the friends from the other shore, she went to be with them and with her Saviour.
Her words, "O Maggie" were the more remarkable from the fact that Maggie was a cousin - also an earnest Christian - who had died only two days before, and of whose death the dying girl had not been informed.
Mrs. Fannie D. Bailey, of Kirksville, Mo., furnished us the following account of the illness and death of her little son, Willie Emmett, when six years and six months old.
His sickness was characterized by much patience and sweetness of spirit which could not fail to impress every beholder with an influence for God and heaven. On Sunday morning preceding his death, which occurred that night about midnight, we thought he was going - as his whole appearance gave evidence that death was doing his final work. He requested us to send for one of the neighbor women and also for a minister and his wife with whom he was well acquainted. We complied with his request. Then he wished us to place many chairs in the room and send for his schoolmates and a "lot of people." We understood that he wished us to have a gospel service which we did, and while the singing and prayers were in progress he remained perfectly quiet as if comforted and calmed and satisfied.
When I asked him to whom I should give his pretty blocks, he said to give them to Jewell (his little cousin) and he then said, "You can give the rest of my things to whoever you want to." I said, " If the Lord takes you to heaven, darling, do you want Brother Thorson to preach your funeral?" He nodded yes, but after a little pause he said in tones that still ring in my soul, "I want you to."
About midnight while we were watching the little sufferer as he sat in his arm chair (he could not lie down as his disease was dropsy) he said, "I have to go." I said, "Where are you going, darling?" He answered, "Home." He would look all around the room with an upward gaze and then exclaimed, "See! see! they are coming." These we doubt not were the angelic messengers that were waiting to convey him to glory. He said, "Where's mama? " I sat in front of him and he said, "I like mama." He always used "like" for "love." He then pointed his forefinger toward Mr. Bailey, his step-father, and said, "I like you too." He then pointed towards Sister Ludden and repeated the same words; also to his Aunt Minda who sat near him he said, "I like you too," and pulled her down to kiss her. Then after a pause he lifted both hands high above his head and looking upwards he exclaimed, with angelic sweetness in his face and voice, "I like you too," then closed his eyes and fell asleep in Jesus.
These were the last words of little Maud Henderson, of Higdon, Arkansas, only seven years of age. Evangelist R. E. Smallwood, who preached the funeral sermon, writes us that during her last illness her parents bought for her a copy of our Children's Edition of "Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer," and that it was through hearing it read that little Maud learned to pray and trust in Jesus, and was enabled to so gloriously triumph when death came to her. Six days before her death she said she was going to be with her" brother in heaven.
" I shall soon be with Jesus. Perhaps I am too anxious. Can this be death? Why, it's better than living! Tell them I die happy in Jesus."
"Rest, happiness and peace forever."
"O! What a blaze and a shout there will be when old John gets to heaven."
"Oh! how beautiful. The opening heavens around me shine."
"How bright the room; how full of angels! "
"Glory to God, I see the heavens open before me."
"They sing! The angels Sing!"
"I shall receive the crown of glory."
"Is this dying? Is this dying? No, it is sweet living."
"Do you see that bright light? Do you see those angels?"
"We shall meet ere long to sing the new song, and remain happy forever in a world without end."
" I am sure of heaven, and will not have to wait long till I get there."
"I see Jesus."
"Eternity rolls up before me like a sea of glory, and so near. Oh! that blessed company of redeemed sinners, and the glorious Jesus! What a Savior; and He is mine. Oh! what a speck of time is the longest life to prepare for that blessed world."
"Oh, I see such a fullness in Christ as I never saw before. Tell the people I am trusting in a full salvation."
"I am on the border-land. All is well, all is well. Is this death? IF this be death, then it is pleasant to die."
Welcome, thou cross of Christ!" After the fire was kindled, she said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior."
When the flames were rising about him, he slipped from under the chain which held his body to the stake, and, falling on his knees amidst the burning pile, his spirit wrestled with God. The martyr arose and exclaimed, "Now, I thank God, I am strong, and care not what man can do to me!"
"O, what a ground of hope there is in that laying of an apostle, that God is in Christ, reconciling the guilty world to Himself; not imputing their trespasses unto them! In God I have placed my eternal all, and into His hands I commit my spirit!"
"I have pain, there is no arguing against sense, but I have peace."
"If this is death, there is no valley. This is glorious. I have been within the gates and I saw the children, Dwight and Irene" (his two grandchildren who had died). "Earth is receding. Heaven is approaching. God is calling me."
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