Compiled by Solomon Shaw (1854-1941)
When Mr. R____, from Baltimore, was seized with cholera, he sent for me to come and see him, and said to me when I entered his room, "My wife, who is a Christian woman, has been writing me ever since I came here to make your acquaintance and attend your church, but I have not done it; and what is worse, I am about to leave the world without a preparation to meet God." He was as noble-looking a man as could be found in a thousand, and knowing' many of his friends in Baltimore I felt the greatest possible sympathy for him; my soul loved him, and I determined, if possible, to contest the devil's claim on him to the last moment of his life. But he was in despair, and after laboring with him about an hour, in urging him to try to fix his mind on some precious promise of the Bible, he said:
"There is but one passage in the Bible that I can call to mind, and that haunts me. I can think of nothing else, for it exactly suits my case: 'He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his heart; shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.' Mr. Taylor," continued he, "it's no use to talk to me, or to try to do anything further; I am that man, and my doom is fixed."
The next day when I entered his room he said to a couple of young men present, "Go out, boys, I want to talk to Mr. Taylor." Then he said, "I have no hope, my doom is fixed; but, for the warning of others, I want to tell you something that occurred a few months ago. I was then in health, and doing a good business, and a man said to me, 'Dick, how would you like to have a clerkship?' and I replied, 'I wouldn't have a clerkship under Jesus Christ.' Now, sir, that is the way I treated Christ when I thought I did not need Him; and now when I'm dying, and can do no better for this life, it's presumption to offer myself to Him. It is no use; He won't have me."
Nothing that I could say seemed to have any effect toward changing his mind. A few hours afterward, when he felt the icy grasp of death upon his heart, he cried, "Boys, help me out of this place!"
"O no, Dick, you're too sick; we cannot help you up."
"O do help me up; I can't lie here."
"O Dick, don't exert yourself so; you'll hasten your death."
"Boys," said the poor fellow, "if you don't help me up, I'll cry Murder!" and with that he cried at the top of his voice, which was yet strong and clear, "Murder: murder! murder!" till life's tide ebbed out, and his voice was hushed in death. How dreadful the hazard of postponing the business of life, the great object for which life is given, to the hour when heart and flesh are failing! - California Life Illustrated.
Mrs. Dorcas Eskridge, of Blue Grove, Texas, writes us as follows:
My father, Willison Foster, who was a licensed exhorter in the M. E. Church South, died near Chico, Texas, April 2, 1887, aged seventy-one years. He was one of the purest Christians I ever knew, was often made happy in a Savior's love and died shouting. His last words were, "My heaven! Heaven! Glory!" I had often heard him remark that he did not believe that the dying saints ever saw departed spirits, while dying. I believed they did. To satisfy myself on this subject, I made the request during his sickness that if he came to die and should see spirits near him, that he would raise his hand in token that he saw them, if he was unable to speak. Sure enough, just before consciousness left him, he raised his right hand and pointed upward. I do praise the Lord for the dying testimony of one in whom I had so much confidence. Dear, precious one! My mother also went home shouting.
This holy woman of God was born at Astley, England, Dec. 14, 1836. She was the youngest daughter of Rev. Wm. II. and Jane Havergal. Her father was a distinguished minister of the Episcopal Church. She was baptized in Astley Church by Rev. John Cawood, Jan. 25, 1837. She bore the name of Ridley in memory of the godly and learned Bishop Ridley, who was one of the noble army of martyrs. Many have been greatly helped by her writings in prose and verse.
She was translated to heaven from Caswell Bay, England, June 3, 1879. A short time before her death she spoke to her sister Ellen and said, "I should have liked my death to be like Samson's, doing more for God's glory than by my life; but He wills it otherwise."
Ellen replied, "St. Paul said, 'The will of the Lord be done,' and, 'Let Christ be magnified, whether by my life or by my death.'"
I think it was then my beloved sister whispered, "Let my own text, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin,' be on my tomb; all the verse if there is room."
She said to her sister, "I do not know what God means by it, but no new thoughts for poems or books come to me now." At another time she said, "Spite the breakers, Marie, I am so happy; God's promises are so true. Not a fear." When the doctor bid her good-bye and told her that he really thought she was going, she said, "Beautiful, too good to be true! Splendid to be so near the gate of heaven! So beautiful to go!"
The Vicar of Swansea said to her, "You have talked and written a good deal about the King, and you will soon see Him in His beauty. Is Jesus with you now?"
"Of course," she replied; "it is splendid! I thought He would have left me here a long while; but He is so good to take me now." At another time she said, "Oh, I want all of you to speak bright, bright words about Jesus, Oh, do, do! It is all perfect peace, I am only waiting for Jesus to take me in."
Afterward she sang the following stanza:
The parting scene is graphically described as follows:
"There came a terrible rush of convulsive sickness; it ceased, the nurse gently assisting her. She nestled down in the pillows, folded her hands on her breast, saying, 'There, now it's all over. Blessed rest!'
"And now she looked up steadfastly as if she saw the Lord; and, surely, nothing less heavenly could have reflected such a glorious radiance upon her face. For ten minutes we watched that almost visible meeting with her King, and her countenance was so glad, as if she were already talking to Him. Then she tried to sing; but after one sweet, high note, 'He-," her voice failed; and, as her brother commended her soul into her Redeemer's hand, she passed away. Our precious sister was gone - satisfied - glorified - within the palace of her King! - Life of Frances R. Havergal.
"During the summer of 1862, I became acquainted with a Mr. A____, who professed infidelity, and who was, I think, as near an atheist as any I ever met. I held several conversations with him on the subject of religion, but could not seem to make any impression on his mind, and when a point was pressed strongly he would become angry.
"In the fall he was taken ill and seemed to go into a rapid decline. I, with others, sought kindly and prayerfully to turn his mind to his need of a Savior, but only met with rebuffs. As I saw that his end was drawing near, one day I pressed the importance of preparing to meet God, when he became angry and said I need not trouble myself any more about his soul, as there was no God, the Bible was a fable, and when we die that is the last of us, and was unwilling that I should pray with him. I left him, feeling very sad.
"Some four weeks after, on New Year's morning, I awoke with the impression that I should go and see Mr. A____, and I could not get rid of that impression; so, about nine o'clock, I went to see him, and as I approached the house I saw the two doctors, who had been holding a consultation, leaving. When I rang the bell, his sister-in-law opened the door for me, and exclaimed, 'Oh! I am so glad you have come; John is dying. The doctors say he cannot possibly live above two hours, and probably not one.' When I went up to his room, he sat bolstered up in a chair, and appeared to have fallen into a doze. I sat down about five feet from him, and when in about two minutes he opened his eyes and saw me, he started up, with agony pictured on his face and in the tones of his voice, and exclaimed, 'O! Mr. P____, I am not prepared to die; there is a God; the Bible is true! O, pray for me! pray God to spare me a few days till I shall know I am saved!'
"These words were uttered with the intensest emotion, while his whole physical frame quivered through the intense agony of his soul. I replied in effect that Jesus was a great Savior, able and willing to save all who would come unto Him, even at the eleventh hour, as He did the thief on the cross.
"When I was about to pray with him, he again entreated me to pray especially that God would spare him a few days, till he might have the evidences of his salvation. In prayer I seemed to have great assurance of his salvation and asked God to give us the evidence of his salvation by granting him a few more days in this world. Several others joined in praying God to spare him a few days, till he should give evidence of being saved.
"I called again in the evening; he seemed even stronger than in the morning, and his mind was seeking the truth. The next day as I entered, his face expressed the fact that peace and joy had taken the place of fear and anxiety. He was spared some five days, giving very clear evidence that he had passed from death to life. His ease was a great mystery to the doctors. They could not understand how he lived so long; but his friends, who had been praying for him, all believed it was in direct answer to prayer." - Wonders of Prayer.
A Mr. H____, a wealthy planter in South Carolina about forty years since, came to the dying hour. He had made this world his god, and used his influence and money against the religion of the Bible. When the last hour came, he felt that he was a ruined man and requested his wife, who was as sinful as he, to pray for him. Her reply was, "I can't do it. I don't know how. I never prayed in my life."
"Well," said he, "send for one who is a Christian to pray for me."
She replied, "For whom shall I send?"
"Send at once," said he, "for Harry, the coachman; he is a man of God."
"No," she replied, "I'll never do that. It would be an everlasting disgrace to have a Negro pray for you in your house."
"Then you will let me die and go to hell before you will suffer a Negro to pray for me!" And she did. - Written for this book by Rev. E. G. Murrah.
What a multitude are kept from coming to God by their pride and by the pride of other friends! "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Prov. 16: 18.)
The noted evangelist, Rev. E. P. Hammond, sends us this touching experience:
A lady from Brooklyn, New York, has just sent me a most touching story about a little cousin of hers, only nine years old. I could scarcely keep the tears from my eyes while reading it.
This little boy's praying mother had been called to part with five of her children. This, her youngest, she dearly loved, and when he showed signs of having learned to trust and love the dear Jesus, she loved him all the more.
I will let you read a part of this kind lady's letter, just as it was read to me:
"One Sunday evening, last spring, he was left alone with his sister, whose husband had died a few weeks before. After endeavoring to comfort her in various ways, he suddenly said, 'Sister, have you heard me tell a lie for a long time? I used to tell a great many, but I don't think I have now for six months, and I don't think God will let me tell any more; I don't want ever to do another wrong thing.' When he went to bed that night, she heard him pray that God would soon make him fit for those mansions that eye had not seen, nor ear heard about.
"On Thursday of that week he went with two little boys to get some fireworks, that he might 'amuse sister' on the fourth of July. The railway train was going very slowly up a long hill, and for amusement the boys stepped off the back platform and on to the front one, when Charley slipped, and the wheel of the carriage passed directly over his hip, crushing the bone to powder. He uttered one scream, and then never complained again; but when a policeman was lifting him from his dreadful position, he opened his eyes and said, 'Don't blame anybody; it was my fault. But tell my mother I'm going right to my Savior.'
"The rough policeman in telling of this said, 'We all felt that there must be some reality in that boy's religion.' He gave his name and residence while they were carrying him to the hospital. The sad news was told to his mother by two little street children, who expressed it in these terms: 'Does Charley H____ live here? Well, he's smashed.' She followed the children and literally tracked her child by his blood to the hospital. When she entered the room where he lay, he opened his eyes and said, 'Mother, I'm going to Jesus, and He's here in this room, all around me. Oh, I love Him so much! Don't let them cut off my leg; but, if they do, never mind - it won't hurt me as much as Jesus was hurt.' When his father arrived, he looked up and said, 'Papa, I am going to my Savior; tell my brother Eddy if he feels lonely now, because he has no brother, to learn to love Jesus, and He will be his brother, and love him so much.' These were the last words he said, for in about two hours he bled to death. The hospital nurse said, as she closed his eyes, 'He has gone to that Savior he talked so much about, and I will try to love Him too.' When his mother returned to her home, her only words were, 'The Lord has taken my Charley though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.'"
Little Charley was very fond of the sweet hymns he had learned. Though he was but nine years old, he loved the Sunday school, where he heard so much about how Jesus died on the cross that our sins might all be washed away, and we be taken home to heaven to live with Him for ever.
The noted evangelist, Rev. E. P. Hammond, sends us this touching experience:
At a time when a great many little children were seeking the precious Savior, the following lines were handed to me. I am sure they will interest every little reader.
I must tell you the story about this dear "child angel." She lived near Barnet, where I think she learned to love the Savior. She used to learn little hymns about Jesus. Before she was five years old, she grew very sick. But though she could hardly speak, she was often heard lisping sweet hymns about Jesus. Only an hour before she died, she rose up and asked for her best clothes; "for," she said, "I am going a long journey." She then walked up and down the floor of her room repeating the hymn, "Gentle Jesus." She soon grew very weak and had to be put into bed. After lying there awhile, she raised herself a little and turning to the wall lifted up her hands, as if she saw some one in the distance, and repeated, again and again, "I am ready! I am coming!" till her sweet voice was hushed in the silence of death, and she was led by Him who carries the lambs in His bosom, to the mansions above.
About fifty years since, there died in Middle, Georgia, a Mr. F____. He began in his early manhood to lay up riches upon earth, and having labored to this end for forty years, came to the dying hour.
Just before his final departure he called his wife to his bedside and said, "I would rather lie on that bed of coals (pointing to the grate) and broil for one million years than go into eternity with the eternal horrors that hang over my soul! I have given my immortality for gold! I have enough of the sordid stuff to make you a horse block upon which to mount your horse, and its weight sinks me into an endless, hopeless, helpless hell!"
In those days horse-back riding was very common and to enable people to mount with ease they had what was called horse-blocks, made of the body of a forest tree, about two feet high, with a step on one side midway between the bottom and top. To this the dying man alluded. - Written for this work by Rev. E. G. Murrah.
"And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12: 15-21.)
This sainted bishop of the Methodist Church entered his episcopal office in 1872. One of his biographers says, "He was the most intense man of his generation." He could not rest night or day unless he saw the work of God prospering. His rest was in the Lord's work. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." He was a very affectionate man. We read "that he mourned the death of his wife so intensely that he would spend whole nights at her grave in tears and groans." "I will lay my head in her lap for a thousand years in heaven and rest it," said he in a time of longing and accusation. In the end of 1879 a medical man of Cincinnati pronounced him suddenly worn out, and he hastened to his family home at Melden, Mass., to die. Crowds of friends came and his last days were a continual levee. He died in glorious peace, Jan. 3, 1880. In his last moments he said to his physician, "Good night, doctor: When we meet again it will be good morning!" His last words were, "There is no river here! All is beautiful."
An aged and rebellious infidel died in Freedom, a few years ago. Whilst he lay sick he refused any Christian the privilege of talking with him on religious subjects. Shortly before he died he started suddenly up in his bed, screaming, "The devils are come, the devils are come, keep them off me!" and then fell into a swoon. Just before he died he seemed to summon all his strength, rose up in his bed, shouted "Hell and damnation, hell and damnation!" fell back, choked, strangled and died. - Rev. Thos. Graham.
The death-scene was in harmony with his life experience. Taken suddenly and violently ill, he was composed amid his acute sufferings, and without alarm as to the issue. When his physicians informed him they had no hope of his recovery, he received the information without agitation and continued tranquil and happy. I have seen many Christians die happily, but I never witnessed such perfect naturalness. He conversed and acted in the same manner, with the same tone of voice, the same pleasant countenance, and the same cheerful spirit which characterized him in health. In his sickness, from first to last, everything he said and did was perfectly Wakeleyan. It really did not seem like a death-scene. It appeared more like the breaking of morning and the advancing of day than the approach of evening and the gathering of the night shadows.
At my first interview with him he said, "The doctors tell me there is no hope of my recovery; but I can say with Paul, 'I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought good fight; I have (almost) finished my course; I have kept the faith.' I see my crown and mansion and inheritance." I said to him, "Yes, but you must die to possess them."
He instantly responded:
At another time he said, "I have fought long, fought honorably, fought heroically, fought successfully, fought for God, fought for Jesus, fought for Methodism, fought for Christianity. I have not gained all I wished; but, through Christ, I have taken great spoils."
He quoted, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." Looking at me very earnestly, he said, "Believest thou this?" I said, "With all my heart." He responded, with much emotion, "So do I." Lifting up his hand, he said,
"The spiritual kingdom of Christ in the earth is a mighty one. It must be set up in all the earth. It will over all prevail."
A few hours before his exit I said to him, "What shall I say to your brethren in the ministry from you?"
"Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine"; repeating the words "with all long-suffering" three times. After a few moment's rest, he added, "Tell them what Peter says, 'If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.'"
After a moment's rest, while panting for breath, he added, "Tell them to preach the old gospel; we want no new one. The old gospel is to save the world; it can't be improved. One might as well attempt to improve a ray of sunshine while vivifying a flower. The grand old gospel forever!" After a short pause, to take breath, he said, "Tell them to go where they are sent."
Speaking of his whole case, all the interests involved in his demise, he said, "I leave all with God. I want it distinctly understood, I do so without any fear, without any cowardice, without any alarm; I do it with the boldness of an old soldier, and with the calmness of a saint."
He said, "They will inquire in the morning, 'Is Brother Wakeley dead?' Dead? No! Tell them he is better, and alive for evermore."
I said, "Yes, and a higher and nobler life."
He replied, "Wonderfully enlarged! Oh, wonderfully enlarged!"
"Let me have a little plot in the quiet cemetery, and let me sleep there until the great rising day."
"I know the old ship. The Pilot knows me well. He will take me safe into port. Heavenly breezes already fan my cheeks."
"I shall not be a stranger in heaven. I am well known up there."
"Like Bunyan, I see a great multitude with white robes, and I long to be with them. To depart and be with Christ is far better."
"When you go to the grave, don't go weeping. Death hath no sting. The grave hath no terror.
Eternity hath no darkness. Sing at my funeral,
For many years neither death nor the grave had any terrors for me."
"Hark! hark! hear ye not the song? Victory is ours. There is great rejoicing in heaven. Roll open, ye golden gates, and let my car go through! I must wait until the death-angel descends" Soon the death-angel came. The silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was broken, and his freed spirit ascended to glory and to God. - Bishop Janes.
Near L____ lived P____ K____, talented and wealthy, but a hater of God, of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Bible. He talked, lectured and published books and tracts against the Savior and the sacred scriptures, circulating them freely wherever he could. His influence for evil had been very great in all that country for years.
From a near neighbor and from members of his household the following facts are learned concerning his death:
His death-bed beggared description. He clinched his teeth, and blood spurted from his nostrils while he cried "Hell! Hell!! Hell!!!" with a terror that no pen can describe. A neighbor declared that he heard him a quarter of a mile away. His family could not endure the agony of that death-bed scene. They fled to an adjoining wood across the road, and there remained among the trees until all became quiet at home. One by one they ventured back, to find the husband and father cold in death. He literally had been left to die alone, abandoned of God and of man. - Written for this work by Milburn Merrill, Denver, Colorado.
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., of Allentown, Penn., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
Little Mary was an attendant of an industrial school in New York City. In her last moments she sang, "Come to Jesus," when the angels carried her to heaven.
Two years after the mother died. As death drew near she exclaimed, "Don't you hear my child singing? She is singing the same sweet song, 'Come to Jesus,' that she learned at school."
Thomas Wolsey, a distinguished person in the reign of Henry VIII., was born in the year 1471; and it is said he was the son of a butcher at Ipswich. Being made chaplain to the king, he had great opportunities of gaining his favor; to obtain which he practiced all the arts of obsequiousness. Having gradually acquired an entire ascendency over the mind of Henry, he successively obtained several bishoprics, and at length was made archbishop of York, lord high chancellor of England and prime minister, and was for several years the arbiter of Europe. The emperor, Charles the fifth, and the French king, Francis the first, courted his interest and loaded him with favors. As his revenues were immense and his influence unbounded, his pride and ostentation were carried to the greatest height. He had eight hundred servants, amongst whom were nine or ten lords, fifteen knights and forty esquires.
From this great height of power and splendor he was suddenly precipitated into ruin. His ambition to be pope, his pride, his exactions and his opposition to Henry's divorce occasioned his disgrace. This sad reverse so affected his mind as to bring on a severe illness, which soon put a period to his days. A short time before he left the world, the review of his life and a consciousness of the misapplication of his time and talents drew from him this sorrowful declaration: "Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my incessant pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my prince." - Power of Religion.
Sister Kate H. Booth, of Buffalo, N. Y., sends us the account of her sister's happy death. She says:
My sister was a devoted Christian. To show the depth of her piety, we quote from her diary:
"Friday, Aug. 22, 1879 - I consecrated myself anew to follow God. The fire came down and consumed the sacrifice. All was put on the altar and remains there.
Tuesday, Aug. 26 - I received such a baptism as I never received before, and today I say,
She was constantly praising the Lord for His mercy and grace. She was thankful for every kindness shown. Some of her expressions were: "It's all right, it is all clear, death has lost its sting, almost there."
One evening while the sun was setting and the autumn leaves were tinged with a golden hue, she said, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me."
She had a vision of the unseen world. While her face was radiant with a divine halo, and it seemed as though she was about to leave us, I called, "Oh, Jennie, what are your last words?" She revived and said, "Be true; but what made you call me back?" I said, "What did you see?" She replied, "It's all right there," and waved her hand in token of victory.
During her illness she would express the desire that she might retain her consciousness to the last, and she requested the members of her family to pray that her wish might be fulfilled. She did not want them to give up praying till the answer came.
Her desire was granted. In full possession of her faculties she came to the river brink. She would say.
She asked me to read the hymn commencing,
She thought it was so beautiful that she requested it to be sung at her funeral. On Tuesday night she said, "It is a hard struggle tonight, but a glorious victory tomorrow." Wednesday was her last day on earth; a bright and glorious one, for she felt she was soon to enter into the presence of her Lord. It was the first of October and her father's birthday. In the evening, an hour or two before her departure, the doctor came in and she looked up at him with a smile and said, "Doctor, how am I?" The tears were coursing down his cheeks, when she said, "The angels say there is plenty of room up there." Thus she neared the crossing.
Thomas Paine was born at Thedford, England, in 1737. He is widely known by his connection with the American and French revolutions and by his infidel writings.
In 1791 he published his work, entitled, The Rights of Man. In 1793, while in a French prison, he wrote his famous work, The Age of Reason, against atheism and against Christianity and in favor of deism. In 1802 he returned to the United States, where he died in 1809. We take the following from Farrar's Critical History of Free Thought:
"In Paine, who wrote in France in the midst of the French convention, we meet a reproduction of the spirit of early English deism, animated by the political exasperation which had characterized the French. His doctrines come from English deism; his bitterness from Voltaire; his politics from Rousseau. To Paine are due the socialistic schemes of Owen, which in some respects seem to be derived by direct lineage from him, also the expression of unbelief in the poetry of Byron and Shelley. . . . During the session of the French Convention, Paine composed his infidel work, Age of Reason, by which his name has gained an unenviable notoriety; and after the alteration of political circumstances in France he returned to America and there dragged out a miserable existence, indebted in his last illness for acts of charity to disciples of the very religion that he had opposed."
Again we quote from McIllvaine's Evidences:
"Paine's first wife is said to have died by ill usage. His second was rendered so miserable by neglect and unkindness that they separated by mutual agreement. His third companion, not his wife, was the victim of his seduction while he lived upon the hospitality of her husband. Holding a place in the excise of England, Paine was dismissed for irregularity; restored and dismissed again for fraud without recovery. Unable to get employment where he was known, he came to this country, commenced as a politician, and pretended to some faith in Christianity. Congress gave him an office, from which, being soon found guilty of a breach of trust, he resigned in disgrace. The French revolution allured him to France. Habits of intoxication made him a disagreeable inmate in the American minister's house, where out of compassion he had been received as a guest. During all this time, his life was a compound of ingratitude and perfidy of hypocrisy and avarice, of lewdness and adultery. In June, 1809, the. poor creature died in this country."
The Roman Catholic bishop Fenwick says: "A short time before Paine died I was sent for by him. He was prompted to do this by a poor Catholic woman who went to see him in his sickness and who told him if anybody could do him any good it was a Catholic priest. I was accompanied by F. Kohlmann, an intimate friend. We found him at a house in Greenwich (now Greenwich street, New York), where he lodged. A decent-looking elderly woman came to the door and inquired whether we were the Catholic priests, 'for,' said she, 'Mr. Paine has been so much annoyed of late by other denominations calling upon him that he has left express orders to admit no one but the clergymen of the Catholic Church.' Upon informing her who we were, she opened the door and showed us into the parlor... 'Gentlemen,' said the lady, 'I really wish you may succeed with Mr. Paine, for he is laboring under great distress of mind ever since he was told by his physician that he cannot possibly live and must die shortly. He is truly to be pitied. His cries when left alone are heart rending. "O Lord, help me!" he will exclaim during his paroxysms of distress; "God, help me! Jesus Christ, help me!" - repeating these expressions in a tone of voice that would alarm the house.
Sometimes he will say, "O God! what have I done to suffer so much?" Then shortly after, "But there is no God"; and then again, "Yet if there should be, what would become of me hereafter?" Thus he will continue for some time, when, on a sudden, he will scream as if in terror and agony, and call for me by my name. On one occasion I inquired what he wanted. "Stay with me," he replied, "for God's sake! for I cannot bear to be left alone." I told him I could not always be in the room. "Then," said he, "send even a child to stay with me, for it is a hell to be alone." 'I never saw,' she continued, 'a more unhappy, a more forsaken man. It seems he cannot reconcile himself to die.' Such was the conversation of the woman, who was a Protestant, and who seemed very desirous that we should afford him some relief in a state bordering on complete despair. Having remained some time in the parlor, we at length heard a noise in the adjoining room. We proposed to enter, which was assented to by the woman, who opened the door for us.
A more wretched being in appearance I never beheld. He was lying in a bed sufficiently decent in itself, but at present besmeared with filth; his look was that of a man greatly tortured in mind, his eyes haggard, his countenance forbidding, and his whole appearance that of one whose better days had been but one continued scene of debauch. His only nourishment was milk punch, in which he indulged to the full extent of his weak state. He had partaken very recently of it, as the sides and corners of his mouth exhibited very unequivocal traces of it, as well as of blood which had also followed in the track and left its mark on the pillow. Upon their making known the object of their visit, Paine interrupted the speaker by saying, 'That's enough, sir, that's enough. I see what you would be about. I wish to hear no more from you, sir; my mind is made up on that subject. I look upon the whole of the Christian scheme to be a tissue of lies, and Jesus Christ to be nothing more than a cunning knave and impostor. Away with you, and your God, tool leave the room instantly! All that you have uttered are lies, filthy lies, and if I had a little more time I would prove it, as I did about your impostor, Jesus Christ.' Among the last utterances that fell upon the ears of the attendants of this dying infidel, and which have been recorded in history, were the words, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'"
Through the kindness of Mrs. T. W. Roberts, of East Nashville, Tenn., we furnish our readers with the following:
My little sister, Minnie Chatham, was born in 1861 and died in the spring of 1873, aged twelve years.
During her sickness, which lasted for two weeks, she was a great sufferer, Our father and mother were with her constantly night and day during her illness.
Minnie was always of a sweet, gentle and religious nature. She dearly loved her Sabbath school and teachers and was always present when her health would permit. Her constant prayer was, "O God, give me a new heart." Sometimes her older friends would say to her, "Why, Minnie, you are a good little girl, you don't need to pray for a new heart"; and she would reply, "Yes I do, there is none good, we are all sinners."
One day during her illness, with the consent of her parents, she managed to get out of her little bed and kneel down at the foot-board on the floor. With her hands clasped and eyes lifted toward heaven, she prayed the most earnest prayer that [ have ever heard. Her petitions were, "O Lord, give me a new heart," after which she repeated the Lord's Prayer through. She then arose, clapped her hands and said, "Oh, I am so happy!" Returning to her bed, she lay down and was as peaceful and quiet as though she had never experienced any pain. Her mother had told her that Jesus could ease her pain, so often when she was suffering you might have seen her little hands clasped in prayer. Sometimes she would sing a verse or two of her Sunday school songs that she loved so well. She called for her Testament and Sunday school papers, which she placed under her pillow and kept there until she died. Shortly before she breathed her last she sat up in her bed and said, "The angels have come for me, I must go! They are at the door waiting for me. Do, ma, let me go! Why do you want to keep me here in this wicked world? I would not want to stay here for anything." And then she looked up toward heaven and continued, "Look at the little children! O ma, I must go! I would not want to do anything to displease my dear Savior." After this she called her father to her bedside, requested him to be good and meet her in heaven and then added, "I want you all to be good."
The next morning she said to her mother, "Now, ma, if you had let me go, I would have been with the angels this morning." The day before she died, she sang her favorite Sunday school song:
We love to sing around our King.
And hail Him blessed Jesus,
For there's no word ear ever heard
So dear, so sweet as Jesus."
Not long after this she closed her eyes and breathed her last as peacefully as though she had just fallen asleep. Her public school teacher came to see her the day after she died and as she gazed at the little silent face in the coffin she wept as though her heart would break. She said Minnie was the brightest and sweetest child she had ever met and was a perfect example for all her classes.
Rev. Thomas Graham, the well-known evangelist, is authority for the following:
When I was holding a protracted meeting in Middlesex, Mercer county, Pa., December, 1843, a man named Edwards died under the following circumstances: He had killed his hog and was preparing the sausages. He took of the ground pepper and introduced it into the nostrils of several persons to make them sneeze. One of the company succeeded in doing so to him, which made him sneeze twice, He broke a blood vessel. The doctor was sent for, but to no beneficial purpose. The rupture was so far up in the head that nothing could be done for him. When he was told that he must die, he shrieked so that he could be heard almost a mile, crying "Then I am damned to all eternity!" and continued this fearful exclamation until he died - being an awful warning to others not to defer the time of their return to God.
This great German reformer was born at Eisleben (a town in Saxony not far from Wittenberg), November 10, 1483. Died at the same place. February 18. 1546. We take the following from Schaff's encyclopedia.
Luther stands forth as the great national hero of the German people, and the ideal of German life. Perhaps no other cultivated nation has a hero who so completely expresses the national ideal. King Arthur comes, perhaps, nearest to Luther among the English-speaking race. He was great in his private life as well as in his public career. His home is the ideal of cheerfulness and song. He was great in thought and great in action. He was a severe student and yet skilled in the knowledge of men. He was humble in the recollection of the power and designs of a personal Satan, yet bold and defiant in the midst of all perils. He could beard the Papacy and imperial councils, yet he fell trustingly before the cross. He was never weary, and there seemed to be no limit to his creative energy. Thus Luther stands before the German people as the type of German character. Goethe, Frederick the Great, and all others, in this regard, pale before the German reformer. He embodies in his single person the boldness of the battle-field, the song of the musician, the joy and care of the parent, the skill of the writer, the force of the orator and the sincerity of rugged manhood with the humility of the Christian.
His last words were, "O my Heavenly Father, my eternal and everlasting God! Thou hast revealed to me Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! I have preached Him! I have confessed Him! I love Him and I worship Him as my dearest Savior and Redeemer! Into Thy hands I commit my spirit."
Mrs. Jewett suffered with cancer in her throat, and starved to death. I called to see her. Upon hearing my voice she said, "Come to me." She threw her arms around my neck, saying as she did so, "Kindred spirit, I wanted so much to see you. I am sanctified. I have kept the faith. I am starving to death, but in a little while I shall pluck the fruit of the tree of life." She reached out her hand as if already doing so, saying, "Sweet, O, how sweet!" Then dipping her hand she said, "And I will drink of the water of life even now; good-bye for a little while," and died victoriously. - Written for this work by Mrs. H. A. Coon, Marengo, Ill.
About twenty years ago, while we were doing some evangelistic work at L____, early one morning a little boy with a very sad heart called at our room, saying that his mother was dying and wished to see us. We hurried to Mrs. B____'s home, and as we opened the door we beheld a sorrowful sight - a woman in despair. The expression on her face and the sad look in her eyes told of great agony. We were at a loss to know just what to say or do. Our heart was full. We said to her, "You are in great pain." With a wild look she replied, "Yes, I am in great pain; but that is nothing compared with the thought of going to meet God unprepared. What is this physical suffering compared to the remorse of conscience and the dark future before me? Then she cried out in agony, "All is vanity, all is vanity! 1 have lived for self and tried to find pleasure at the dance and other places of amusement. I have neglected the salvation of my soul! I am unprepared to meet God! Pray for me, oh, pray for me!" While we prayed she responded, "Amen, amen! God help me! What shall I do? Is there any hope for a poor sinner like me?" and many other similar expressions. Her ungodly husband cried bitterly while she told of their past sinful life. Her heart was hardened with sin, her ears were dull of hearing and her eyes too blind to see the light of God.
Her friends were coming in from the village and surrounding country to see her die. As they entered the room, she would take each one of them by the hand and plead with them not to follow her example, not to live as she had lived. Holding an uncle by the hand, a man deep in sin and who seemed to be far from God, she said, "Uncle, prepare to meet your God. Don't wait until you come to your dying day, as I have done. When you plow your ground, pray. When you plant your corn, pray. When you cultivate the same, pray. Whatever you do, pray! (She died in the month of May, the season for corn planting.) Many of her friends wept and promised to live better lives. Her mental agony was so far beyond her physical pain that she seemed to be unconscious of her intense bodily suffering. Her sins seemed to loom up before her as a great mountain, hiding from her the presence and love of God. As long as she was able to speak, she prayed and requested others to do so. In a few hours the voice, that had been pleading so pitifully for mercy, and warning others by the example of her ungodly life was hushed in the silence of death,
The pastor of the Methodist Church, whom we were helping, preached at her funeral. As e listened to his words of warning, we resolved as never before to further our efforts in warning lost humanity to flee from the wrath to come.
Soon after her death we called on her husband and reminded him of his wife's dying testimony and urged him to attend the revival meetings that we were holding in the town, but he seemed to be full of prejudice against Christianity and gave us no encouragement, and still continued to walk in the same sinful path as heretofore.
We trust that our readers will take warning by the sad experience related in this sketch. God help us all to redeem the time as we see eternity drawing near. Amen. - Editor.
Through the kindness of L. B. Balliett, M. D., of Allentown, Penn., we furnish our readers with this touching incident:
Some years ago a steamer was sinking with hundreds of persons on board. Only one boat-load was saved. As a man was leaping into the tossing boat a young girl who could not be taken into the boat handed him a note, saying, "Give this to my mother." The man was saved. The girl, with hundreds of others, was drowned.
The mother got the note. These were the words written: "Dear mother, you must not grieve for me; I am going to Jesus."
This loved friend's last day of time was May 24, 1898, and then she passed on to that fairer country whose inhabitants count not the days nor the years.
Only twenty-four years of the earth-life were given her; but, "How long we live, not years, but actions tell."
In early girlhood she learned the beauty of a life in God's service, and became so willing "to spend and be spent for Him." A part of her service for Him was evangelistic work, and only the last great garnering time will tell how many soul-sheaves ripened from seeds of her sowing. And when she saw the field of labor widening, she consecrated her life to mission work in foreign lands, should God lead the way.
Upon graduating from the Evansville (Wis.) Seminary, a little less than a year before her death, she returned to her home near Reedsburg, Wis. She was weary and worn from work and study, but was so certain rest was all that was needful. She felt that life was before her and that she was just ready to live.
Love from one worthy - life's richest gift - had come to her, and her heart was satisfied.
But it was not long ere she knew that the weariness was consumption, and that life's plans must be put aside. In a letter written in January she says, "Oh, it would be easy to go, so easy, if it were not for my life-work all undone. I cannot but feel that it would please Him to let me live and work for souls who know not my Jesus." But later, that unfinished work was given up to Him, and all was at rest. Dreams of heaven came to her, and she was ready, yes, glad to go.
The last months of her life were very full of suffering, but there was no complaint.
"Everyone is so kind," often fell from her lips at some attention from those who tenderly ministered to her wants.
Very precious is the memory of some days spent with her, three weeks before her death. She was so pure, so gentle, so thoughtful of others, so like Him who had put upon her "The beauty of the Lord."
As the end approached, her sufferings became intense. The Sunday night before she went home, all thought the death-angel very near. She asked her friends to sing the beautiful hymn,
For days she had scarcely spoken above a whisper but now the Spirit of the Lord came upon her in blessing, and as she raised her hands she repeated, in a voice clear and strong, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
She was so eager for the release, asking those near her if they thought it the last, and saying, "Oh, I hope I won't be disappointed." But not until Tuesday afternoon did the end come, when the soul escaped as u bird from its prison of pain.
And we, who await this "dawning light" that so thrilled her soul, treasure the memory of one "faithful unto death," our sainted Gertrude. - Written for this work by Cora A. Niles.
A Christian worker observed: I once went to visit a soldier who had bought himself from the army. He was dying, but did not know it. I sat down by his side and said, "I will read a bit of the Bible for you." "Oh, you need not trouble; I am not so ill as all that," he replied. Poor fellow, he thought that he must be very ill before any one need offer to read a part of the Bible for him. Next morning when I called I found him much worse. I learned that he was a Welshman, and his mother was a Christian. Suddenly he threw himself back in bed, and wringing his hands he cried, "Oh, what shall I do, what shall I do! I am as a dead man; the mark of death is upon me, and I am not saved." There is a time when Christ may be found, but there is also a time when He may not be found. It is one of the saddest sights that one can look upon to see a soul seeking for Christ but unable to find Him. And this young dying soldier sought and sought for Christ, but it was all in vain; Jesus had passed by. He became delirious and died in agony. "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near." - Crown of Glory.
The death of Lovic Pearce Thompson, as related for this book by his brother, Rev. S. M. Thompson, of the M. E. Church, South, Tenaha, Texas:
Lovic was what you would call a bad boy. It was his very nature to be bad. He was rough-spoken, grum and snappish when he was mad. When in a good humor he was kind and affectionate. As long as everything went his way, there was peace; when it did not, there was war. If ever a seventeen-year-old boy was dominated by Satan, it was Lovic. His mother would oftimes remonstrate with him about his wicked ways, and often went to God in earnest prayer in his behalf. Yet Lovic, despite the loving words of a mother's counsel, and the fervent petitions of a mother's heart, remained in the "gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." It seemed that he was incorrigible. But who knows the destiny of men? One thing is certain, God will not damn a man until he has given him a fair chance be saved, and that man willfully refuses all offers of mercy.
Old Forest Academy camp ground was a favorite place of resort for the old and young alike. Thither hundreds went in the summer; some in quest of pleasure only, while scores of others went in search of spiritual blessings.
In August, 1887, Lovic attended this camp of the saints. Faithful ministers proclaimed the gospel of peace and earnestly exhorted all sinners to "flee from the wrath to come." It was a Methodist meeting, and all Methodist meetings are provided with an "altar," commonly called a "mourner's bench." On Sunday night, after an earnest, pathetic sermon, sinners were invited to come to the "altar," seek Christ and be saved. Many came, among the number being Lovic. He tarried there, but no peace received. Again and again during the meeting he went to the altar, but no blessing did he receive. The last night of the meeting came. The benediction was pronounced, but poor Lovic went home unsaved.
But there had been an impression made. Verily,
Such was the case with Lovic. At that camp-meeting, at that altar, at some lonely hour, he drank the dregs from the cup of repentance, renounced his sins and vowed allegiance to the Savior of men. And being of strong determination, he went home that lonely night with no other thought than to keep the vow which he so faithfully at the altar made. Ever afterward, during his short stay on earth, his life was a complete transformation. He was not the same boy. He had lost all his roughness. He was not snappish as he used to be, and his temper had been subdued. The rough ashlar had become the perfect ashlar. A polishing had taken place, but by whom, or when, or how he did not seem to know.
On Friday night, October 5, he had a presentment that he was going to die, and so informed his mother on the following morning, though he showed no signs of being sick. His mother remonstrated with him, but to no avail. He still said, "I'm going to die."
His father was a farmer, and the farm made a gradual slope from the house to the back side of the field. Saturday evening Lovic was picking cotton down in the valley; and as he was a great singer, just as the shadows of the western trees were stretching out across the farm, with a strong, mellow voice he began to sing, "Shall we meet beyond the river," the chorus being, "Yes, we'll meet," etc. He sang the song through, and as he would say, "Yes, we'll meet," away in the distance the echo answered, "Yes, we'll meet." He came home that night, ate a hearty supper, went to bed, slept soundly, got up in the morning; but took to his bed that evening, from which he never rose till strong hands carried his lifeless form to the hearse that bore his body to the "silent city of the dead."
What about his death? Well, listen. He had been sick for several days, most of the time unconscious. But a few hours before he died he seemed to be in great agony, throwing his hands about as if trying to fight off something. He seemed to be struggling with some powerful giant. At times you could see despair written on his face, at other times he seemed to be overcoming. But when spoken to, not a word would he utter. At last, after frightful gesticulations, he suddenly awoke from his unconscious sleep and began shouting, "I have whipped him. I have whipped him. See the devil; he tried to take me, but I have whipped him. I am happy, I am happy! Glory to God!" He then exhorted all in the room to meet him in heaven, asking all to promise him by giving him their hand. An infidel came into the room, and he exhorted him to be religious, assuring him that there was devil, a hell and a heaven. After a few hours of perfect peace he closed his eyes in death, leaving a smile on his face, which was, no doubt, a sign that he had vanquished the enemy and passed out into the spirit world bearing the laurels of victory.
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