Compiled by Solomon Shaw (1854-1941)
The influence of human testimony and experience has had much to do with the destiny of mankind in all ages of the world.
Multitudes have gone to heaven by giving heed to the testimonies and example of the righteous; and on the other side multitudes have gone into eternity to suffer the torments of hell forever, because they were led astray by the influence and example of the wicked. Yet God has declared that the time will come when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Christ as the Savior of the world and even here God has influenced both the children of God and the children of the devil to witness to their moral condition in health, in sickness in prosperity, in adversity, and at death. Not only have millions upon millions of God's children witnessed in life and death of Jesus' power to save. but most infidels, skeptics and sinners of every grade are constrained to acknowledge the truth of the Christian religion before they die. And surly, if the testimony of mankind is ever to be taken as the truth, it must be when in the presence of death, for most men are honest while dying.
Death is a transition from one degree of spiritual life or death to another. The saved are translated from life to life more abundant, while to the unsaved death is only the entrance upon the second death of eternal separation from God. In the Bible, death is called a sleep, a departure, a translation, etc. Multitudes, while dying, see and hear things that are not seen or heard by others.
Our book reveals the awful contrast between the dying testimonies of the saved and the unsaved. It reveals the inexpressible happiness and joy of the righteous about to be translated from their home on earth to the paradise of God. On the other hand it reveals the awful remorse of conscience and the untold mental agony of souls facing death and the judgment, unprepared.
We have not described the last hours on earth of Bible characters, as everybody has access to the Holy Scriptures and can read for themselves. We have given the last words of many noted skeptics, infidels and atheists, and also of many noted and devoted saints. Some infidel writers have died unconscious, without leaving any dying testimony. The same is true of many of the most noted and devoted Christians. Many great and good men have died unconscious, but they have left their lives to testify of their preparation for heaven. We have omitted the names of the unsaved for the sake of their living friends and kindred, except in the case of noted infidels, and we think that their last testimony should be given in order to as far as possible counteract their ungodly influence.
For over a year we have had the publication of this book upon our mind and heart, and have given much time and thought to the securing of proper material, and have been greatly blessed of God in its preparation. We have endeavored to use nothing that is not well authenticated, and to make the book entirely unsectarian; having used the testimonies of God's children as we have seen able to secure them, without regard to denominational preferences.
Much of the material for this volume has been written expressly for this work by us and our friends. We have advertised in various religious papers, and have in this way received many experiences. Through the kindness of Dr. L. B. Balliett, of Allentown, Pa., we received manuscript that he had designed for a similar work, from which we have selected a number of excellent articles. We have secured and read the biographies of many noted and devoted saints of all denominations, and have carefully quoted their last words. Foxe's Book of Martyrs has also been of great value; also a book entitled The Power of religion; another, The Contrast Between Infidelity and Christianity. We have also received valuable information from the various encyclopedias. We have also been helped by a book of dying testimonies of preachers of the Gospel, entitled From Life to Life, and many other similar books.
We have prepared the manuscript for this book in the midst of many cares, but have done the best we could, with God's help, to make a book that will be used of God in the salvation of many souls.
Our Heavenly Father has done everything that divine wisdom, love and mercy can possible do for the salvation of mankind. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
He has sacrificed His holy patriarchs, prophets and apostles, and-has influenced a multitude of other saints to suffer and die at the hands of wicked sinners; and who can describe the persecution and torture inflicted upon God's children by the enemies of Christ; and all of these sufferings have been endured for the sake of rescuing suffering humanity.
The Word of God tells us that without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness. We live in a world of mystery! We are a mystery to ourselves! All creation is a mystery! Life, death and sin are great mysteries! The best of us know but little, but the way of salvation is so plain that a wayfaring man, even a fool, need not go astray. The most important thing for mankind to know in this world is the way of life and salvation, and this blessed knowledge is not received by tradition; it is not to be found out by tradition; it is not to be found in the school of science or philosophy. Salvation is of the Lord, and a revelation from heaven.
The testimonies of the righteous at the hour of death, and the awful mental agony of the lost as they bewail their lost condition, has caused us to cry out to God in prayer, whole nights at a time, for the salvation of souls and a revival among the professed people of God. O Lord, revive Thy work, should be the earnest prayer of all Christians night and day.
We pray that this work may be greatly used of God in the salvation of a multitude of precious souls, and that Christian workers may be filled with the fullness of God, ready to meet Him when He calls. We are,
Your Brother Saved By Grace,
S. B. Shaw (1898)
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