THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN
THE HOUR OF DEATH (continued); THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES
"Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses."
A great many delightful records of the death bed scenes of martyrs,
ministers of Jesus Christ, and private Christians, who have enjoyed the
presence of Christ in a dying hour, who have felt his love manifested to
them, and have received his consolations, might be adduced to corroborate
the assertions we have already made, and to confirm the truth, that Christ
does thus manifest his love to dying believers. We shall introduce the
1. Lambert, a martyr under Henry VIII, while he was cruelly mangled by the
soldiers' halberts, and consuming in a slow fire, raised his burning hands
amid the flames, and, with a distinct voice, exclaimed, "None but Christ;
none but Christ!"
2. Lawrence Saunders, suffered martyrdom under the "bloody Queen Mary." He
kissed the stake at which he was bound, and cried aloud, "Welcome the cross
of Christ! Welcome the cross of Christ! Welcome life everlasting!"
3. John Knox, the Scottish Reformer's dying words, were, "Come, Lord Jesus,
sweet Jesus! into your hands I commend my spirit." Again he said, "I have
tasted of the heavenly joys where presently I shall be! Now, for the last
time I commit soul, body, and spirit into his hands." Uttering a deep sigh,
he said, "Now it is come!" His attendant desired him to give his friends a
sign that he died in peace. On this he waved his hand, and uttering two deep
sighs, he fell asleep in Jesus.
4. John Welsh, the son-in-law of John Knox, was one of the most eminent
ministers that the Church of Scotland ever produced. He died in great joy.
On his death-bed, he seemed to feel himself on the very threshold of glory:
he was filled and overpowered with the sensible manifestations of God's love
and glory. His last words were uttered in an ecstasy of joy: "It is enough,
O Lord, it is now enough! hold your hand; your servant is a clay vessel, and
can hold no more!"
5. Samuel Rutherford, professor of divinity in the University of St.
Andrew's, was one of the most resplendent lights that ever rose in Scotland
He died a triumphant death. His last moments, he was favored with a most
wonderful manifestation of Christ's love. He felt that Christ was with him,
and that he manifested his grace to him; and he was, through that manifested
love and grace, enabled to exclaim with his dying breath, "There is none
like Christ. I feel, I feel, I believe, I joy, I rejoice, I feed on manna!
My eyes shall see my Redeemer, and I shall be ever with him! And what would
you more want? I have been a sinful man; but I stand at the best pass that
over a man did. Christ is mine, and I am his! Glory, glory, to my Creator
and Redeemer forever! Glory shines in Emmanuel's land! O for arms to embrace
him! O for a well-tuned harp." He continued exulting in God his Savior to
the last, as one in full vision of joy and glory. At length he entered into
the joy of his Lord.
"In vain my fancy strives to paint
The moment after death;
The glories that surround the saints,
When yielding up their breath.
One gentle sigh their fetters breaks;
We scarce can say 'they're gone,'
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne."
6. James Durham, on his dying bed, was at first in much darkness of his
mind. He said to a friend, "For all that I have preached and written, there
is but one scripture that I can think of, or dare to lay hold of. Tell me,
brother, if I may dare lay the weight of my salvation on it: "Whoever comes
unto me, I will in nowise cast out!" "That you may depend on," said the
minister in reply," though you had a thousand salvations at hazard!" Having
remained some time in silence, he at length came joyfully from beneath the
dark cloud, and cried, in a rapture of joy, "Is not the Lord good? Is he not
infinitely good? See how he smiles! I do say it, and I do proclaim it!"
7. The noble Marquis of Argyle, on the morning of his execution, while
settling his worldly business, was so overpowered by the manifestation of
divine love and goodness, that he broke out in a holy rapture, and said, "I
thought to leave concealed the Lord's goodness; but it will not do. I am now
ordering my affairs; and God is sealing my charter to my heavenly
inheritance, and is just now saying to me, Son, be of good cheer; your sins
are forgiven you!"
8. James Guthrie, a godly minister, the companion of the noble Argyle,
exclaimed, when on the scaffold, "Jesus is my light and life, My
righteousness my strength and salvation and all my desire! Him, O Him do I
commend with all my soul unto you. Bless Him, O my soul, now and forever!
Now, O Lord, let your servant depart in peace; for my eyes have seen your
9. The pious Hervey closed his life in peace. His last words were: "How
thankful am I for death! It is the passage to the Lord and Giver of eternal
life. O welcome, welcome death! You may well be reckoned among the treasures
of a Christian– to live is Christ; to die, is gain! Lord, now let your
servant depart in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation!" Then he fell
asleep in Jesus. Oh, what a happy death; to die unto the Lord- to sleep in
10. William Romaine was an eminent preacher of the gospel of Jesus, and died
a joyful death. He had the love of Christ in his heart; and He was very
precious to him in the hour of death. "I have," said he, "the peace of God
in my conscience, and the love of God in my heart. Jesus is more precious
than rubies; and all that can be desired on earth, is not to be compared to
Him." Being near his dissolution, he cried out, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God
Almighty! Glory be to you on High, for such peace on earth, and goodwill to
men." One time he said, "I have much of the presence of Jesus with me."
11. Doddridge, an eminent servant of Christ, said, on his death-bed, "I am
full of confidence: there is a hope set before me; I have fled; I still fly
for refuge to that hope. In him I trust. In him I have strong consolation,
and shall assuredly be accepted in the beloved of my soul."
12. The immortal Baxter closed his course full of joy and peace. To some
ministers around him, he said, "I have peace, I have peace!" "You are now
drawing near your long- desired home," said one. "I believe I believe," was
the reply. When the question was put to him, "How are you?" he promptly
answered, "Almost well!" To a friend who entered the chamber, he said, "I
thank you, I thank you for coming." Then fixing his eye on him, he added,
"The Lord teach you how to die!" These were his last words.
13. John Janeway, a young minister of England, died one of the must
triumphant Christian deaths on record. Not a word dropped from his lips,
which did not breathe of Christ and heaven. His Savior was with him in the
hark valley; the arms of Christ supported him; the love and smiles of Christ
cheered his departing soul, and made death itself sweet to him. He broke out
in such words as these: "O, he is come! he is come! O, how glorious is the
blessed Jesus! How shall I speak the thousandth part of his praises! O for
words to set out a little of that excellency; but it is inexpressible! O, my
friends, come look upon a dying man, and wonder! I myself cannot but wonder!
Was there ever greater kindness? Were there ever such manifestations of rich
grace? O, why me, Lord; why me? If this be dying, dying is sweet! Let no
Christian be afraid of dying. O, death is sweet to me! This bed is soft!
Christ's arms, his smiles, his visits; surely they would turn hell into
heaven! What are all human pleasures compared to one glimpse of his glory,
which shines so strongly on My soul? I shall soon be in eternity! I shall
soon see Christ himself, who died for me, who loved me, and washed me in his
blood! I shall soon mingle in the hallelujahs of glory! I think I hear the
melody of heaven, and by faith I see the angels waiting to carry me to the
bosom of Jesus, and I shall be forever with the Lord! And who can choose but
rejoice in all this?"
Often he would say, "O, that I could but let you know what I now feel! O,
that I could express the thousandth part of that sweetness that I now find
in Christ! You would all then think it well worth while to make it your
business to be religious. O, my dear friends, we little think what Christ is
worth upon a death bed! I would not for a world, no, for millions of worlds,
be now without Christ and pardon." To those around him, he said, "O that
glory, the unspeakable glory that I behold. My heart is full! my heart is
full! Christ smiles, and I cannot but smile. The arms of my blessed Savior
are open to embrace me; the angels stand ready to carry my soul into his
bosom. O, did you but see what I see, you would all cry out with me, 'How
long, dear Lord? Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!' O, why are his chariot
wheels so long in coming? I so long to be with Christ, that I would be
contented to be cut in pieces, and to be put to the most exquisite torments,
so that I might but die and be with Christ! O, how sweet is Jesus! 'Come,
Lord Jesus, come quickly!' Death, do your worst. Death has lost its
terribleness. Death! it is nothing to me! Death is nothing (through grace)
to me. I can as easily die, as shut my eyes, or turn my head and sleep. I
long to be with Christ: I long to die."
To his Christian friends who came to see him, he said, "O help me to praise
God, I have nothing else to do, from this time to eternity, but to praise;
and love God! O, praise, praise, praise, that infinite boundless love that
has to a wonder, looked upon my soul, and done more for me than for
thousands of his children! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within
me, bless his holy name! Help me, help me, O my friends, to praise and
admire him that has done such astonishing wonders for my soul– he has
pardoned all my sins; he has filled me with his goodness; he has given me
grace and glory, and no good thing has he withheld from me."
On another occasion, he uttered such words as these, "Admire God forever and
ever, O you redeemed ones! O, those joys, the taste of which I have! The
everlasting joys which are at his right hand forever more! Eternity,
eternity itself is too short to praise God in. O bless the Lord with me!
Come, let us shout for joy, and boast in the God of our salvation. O, help
me to praise the Lord, for his mercy endures forever." Again he said, "I
shall presently behold Christ himself who died for me, and loved me, and
washed me in his own blood. I shall, before a few hours are over, be in
eternity, singing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb. I shall
presently stand upon Mount Zion, with all innumerable company of angels, and
the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of the new
covenant. I shall hear the voice of many people, and be one among them, who
shall say, hallelujah, salvation, glory, honor and power, unto the Lord our
God! And yet a little while, and I shall sing unto the Lamb a song of
praise, saying, Worthy are you to receive praise, who was slain, and has
redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and
people, and nation, and have made us unto our God, kings and priests, and we
shall reign with you forever and ever."
A few hours before his death, he said, "And now, dear Lord, my work is done.
I have finished my course, I have fought the good fight; and henceforth
there remains for me a crown of righteousness. Now come, dear Lord Jesus,
come quickly." At length his course was completed, and this lovely servant
of the Lord fell asleep in Jesus.
14. The great Thomas Halyburton, one of the most learned divines of
Scotland, and professor of divinity in the University St. Andrew's, breathed
out his soul to God in a triumphant death. The following were his last
words: "I dare look death in the face, in its most ghastly shape, and hope
soon to have the victory over it. Glory, glory to him! O, what a God do I
see! I have never seen anything like it. The beginning and the end of
religion are wonderfully sweet! I long for his salvation: I bless his name,
I have found him! I am taken up in blessing him; I am dying rejoicing in the
Lord! O, I could not have believed that I should bear, and bear cheerfully,
as I have done, this rod which has lain long on me. This is a miracle! Pain
without pain! You see a man dying; a monument of the glorious power of
Some time after, he said, "When I shall be so weak as no longer to be able
to speak, I will, if I can, give you a sign of triumph when I am near to
glory." He did so: for when one said, "I hope you are encouraging yourself
in the Lord," being now unable to speak, he lifted tip his hands and clapped
them, and in a few moments expired.
15. Augustus Toplady closed a long and eminently holy life, by a very
triumphant death. He said, "O how this soul of mine longs to be gone: like
an imprisoned bird, it longs to take its flight. O, that I had the wings of
a dove, I would flee away to the realms of bliss, and be at rest forever! I
long to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord." At another time
he said, "O what a day of sunshine has this been to me! I have no words to
express it; it is unutterable! O, my friend, how good our God is! Almost
without interruption his presence has been with me." Being near his end, he
said, "O what delights! Who can fathom the joys of the third heavens!" And
just before he expired, he said, "The sky is clear; there is no cloud; come,
Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
16. Thomas Scott, the commentator, died a happy, triumphant death. The love
of Christ filled his soul; and his dying bed may be said to have been
sublimely Christian! Among the last words he uttered were these, "Lord
support me! Lord Jesus receive my spirit! Christ is my all! He is my only
hope! O to realize the fullness of joy! O, to be done with temptation! This
is heaven begun! I am done with darkness forever! Satan is vanquished!
Nothing remains but salvation with eternal glory, eternal glory!"
17. Dr. Condict, President of Queen's (now Rutger's) College, New Jersey,
was known to be much afraid of death, but he died triumphantly. Raising
himself from his pillow, he stretched out his quivering hands, and
exclaimed, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me." Then he added, "Let us
pray;" and having uttered a brief and solemn prayer, he gently leaned back
on his billow, and closing his eyes with his own hands, soon fell asleep in
18. Dr. Dwight, President of Yale College, closed his useful life by a
peaceful and happy death. He requested his brother to read to him the 17th
chapter of John. While listening to the latter verses of that chapter, he
exclaimed, "O, what triumphant truths!" Some one recited to him a part of
the 23rd Psalm, and asked "Can you now say, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me?" He
replied, "I hope so." He died in peace, cheered by his Savior's presence and
19. Dr. Edward Payson was an eminent Christian, and a devoted minister of
the Lord. He died a most triumphant death. When about to finish his course,
he thus commenced a letter- "Dear sister, were I to adopt the figurative
language of Bunyan, I might date this letter from the land of Beulah, of
which I have been for some weeks a happy inhabitant. The celestial city is
fully in my view; its glories beam upon me; its breezes fan me; its odors
are wafted to me; its sounds strike upon my ears; and its spirit is breathed
into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of death, which
now appears but as an insignificant brook that may be crossed at a single
step, whenever God shall give permission. The Sun of righteousness has been
gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as he
approached; and now fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of
glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the beams of the sun,
exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness,
and wondering with unutterable wonder why God should condescend thus to
shine upon a sinful worm. A single heart, and a single tongue, seem
altogether inadequate to my desires; I want a whole heart for every separate
emotion, and a whole tongue to express that emotion."
Among the last words of this excellent and pious divine, are the following:
"A young man, when about to leave the world, exclaimed, "The battle's
fought, the battle's fought; but the victory is lost forever!" But I can
say, "The battle's fought, the battle's fought, and the victory is won! The
victory is won forever! I am going to bathe in an ocean of purity, and
benevolence, and happiness, to all eternity!"
Again– "Hitherto I have viewed God as a fixed star; bright indeed, but often
intercepted by clouds. But now he is coming nearer and nearer; and he
spreads into a sight so vast, and so glorious, that the sight is too
dazzling for flesh and blood to sustain!"
On one occasion, when laboring under vary acute pains, he exclaimed, "These
are God's arrows; but they are sharpened with love." Once he exclaimed,
"Victory, victory! Peace, peace!" The last words he was heard to whisper,
were these: "Faith and patience, hold out!" Thus died Dr. Payson; and he has
left a glorious testimony to the truth of the religion of Jesus.
20. Harlan Page was an eminent Christian, and used great personal efforts
for the souls of individuals; and in his death, Christ was with him. "A
death-bed," said he, "is a precious place, when we have the presence of
Christ– then to wake to a glorious immortality." Again, "I feel as if I had
got half way home. I cannot bear to stop. It would be a pity to have the
flesh return on these limbs again." Again he said, "I commit myself to you,
Jesus, Savior of sinners. O the infinite love of Christ! I may stop my
mouth, and lie in the dust." He appeared to feel that he had obtained a new
view of the love of Christ; therefore he said, "It seems as if I never knew
before what it was to love him. O, who can help loving such a blessed
Again he repeated these words: "O when shall I go home? How long must I be
burdened with this body! The Lord knows how much suffering I need, to
prepare me for his kingdom." A little before his death, he exclaimed, "Home!
home!" and prayed: "O for a free and full discharge! Lord Jesus, come
quickly! Why wait your chariot wheels so long? I dedicate myself to you. O
may I have the victory. O come quickly! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
21. David Brainerd died a happy death. With perfect composure of mind, this
eminent servant of God saw the approaches of dissolution. To him, death was
not an enemy, but a friend– it was the long expected messenger, sent to
convey him home to his heavenly Father's house. He would exclaim, "Oh! why
is the chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of his chariot? Come,
Lord Jesus; come, quickly!" In this happy frame of mind, he expired.
22. Risdon Darracott, an eminent servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, said on
his death-bed, "I am going to that Jesus whom I love, and whom I have so
often preached. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Why are your chariot wheels
so long a coming?" The night before, he died, he said, "O what a good God
have I in Christ Jesus! I would praise him, but my lips cannot. Eternity
will be too short to speak his praises." He related his experience of the
goodness of God to him during his sickness, and said, "If I had a thousand
lives to live, I would live them all for Christ! I have cast anchor on him,
and rely on his blood, and am going to venture my all upon him. There is
nothing on earth I desire! Here I m waiting! What a mercy to be in Jesus!"
He then threw abroad his arms, and exclaimed, "He is coming! he is coming!
But surely this can't be death! O how astonishingly is the Lord softening my
passage! Surely God is too good to such a worm! O speed your chariot wheels!
Why are they so long in coming? I long to be gone." At length he fell asleep
in Jesus, whom he so much loved, and who manifested such tender love to him
in the hour of death.
23. Mrs. Catharine Brettergh, a singular Christian of Lancashire, England,
was blessed to die a comfortable and joyful death. The following were some
of her last words: "O the joys that I feel in my soul! O my sweet Savior,
shall I be one with you, as you are one with the Father? O wonderful is your
love me, who am but dust! To make such a one as I a partaker of your glory!
O that my tongue and heart were able to sound forth your praises as I
24. The amiable and pious Hannah Housman, when on her death-bed, often said,
with smiles in her face, and transports of joy: "Come, Lord Jesus; come
quickly! Why tarry the wheels of your chariot? O, blessed convoy! come and
fetch my soul, to dwell with God, and Christ, and perfect spirits, forever
and ever! When I join that blessed society above, my pleasures will never
end. O, the glory, the glory that shall be set on the head of faith and
25. Jeremiah Evarts, so well known by every friend of missionaries, died a
triumphant death. Feeling the love of Christ in his last moments, he broke
out into rapturous expressions: "Praise him, praise him, praise him in a way
which you know not of." Some one said to him, "You will soon see Jesus as he
is, and know how to praise him." He replied, "O wonderful, wonderful,
wonderful glory! I will praise him! I will praise him! Wonderful glory!
2O. Richard Cecil often exclaimed on his death-bed, with the martyr Lambert,
"None but Christ; none but Christ!" As he drew nearer and nearer to death
Jesus Christ was his only topic, and a short time before he died, he
requested one of his family to write down for him in a book the following
sentence: "'None but Christ, none but Christ,' said Lambert, dying at the
stake; the same, in dying circumstances, with his whole heart, says Richard
27. John Rees, of London, uttered the following words on his death-bed:
"Christ in his person, Christ in the love of his heart, and Christ in the
power of his arm, is the rock on which I rest; and now, (reclining his head
on the pillow,) "Death, strike!"
28. Mrs. Hannah Woodd, repeated the following words, when near her
dissolution: "Oh! I am very happy! I am going to my mansion in the skies.
Thank God, I have a hope built on the Rock of ages. I am dying, but I am
going to glory. I shall see Him as he is. I shall be forever near him, and
behold his face. Blessed be God! Blessed be God!"
29. Mrs. Atthans, an excellent Christian lady, left this testimony to the
cause of Christianity: "I bless God, I have not one fear concerning dying.
That Almighty Lord, who has so wonderfully preserved me to the present
moment, will not forsake me in my last extremity. No! when flesh and heart
fail, he will be the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."
30. We shall close our records of triumphant deaths, with an account of the
last hours of a remarkably pious young lady, who lately went to glory; and
whose death-bed scene, it was the privilege of the author to witness.
He had often read accounts of the triumphant deaths of believers, but never
before had he seen such an illustrious exhibition of divine grace, and love,
manifested to a saint, in the hour of death. Not until then, did he feel
that there was such power in the religion of Jesus, to sustain, and to cheer
in the hour of dissolution. This young lady had been confined to a bed of
severe suffering for one year. At last her soul was ripened for glory. The
time came that she must die and her death-bed was a scene of triumph. Christ
was very precious to her; and his love was wonderfully manifested to her
soul. She often exclaimed, "My beloved is mine, and I am his."
The following are among her last words. To her distant brother she thus
dictated a letter. "Dear brother, I know not whether I shall meet you again
on earth; but I hope to meet you in heaven, where we shall be forever
singing the praises of God; where the Lamb, who is in the midst of the
throne, shall feed us, and lead us unto living fountains of waters, and
where God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes." To her father, who said
to her, "I fear I must lose you;" she replied, "Your loss will be my gain! I
have a building from God, a house, not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens." And again when he said, "I think you will fall asleep in Jesus;"
she responded, "It will be a happy change."
As her friends were standing around her dying bed, she said to a brother,
"Have you any words to say?" He immediately repeated Psalm 23:4 "Yes, though
I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for
you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me." These words were
very reviving to her. She seemed to feel that Christ was with her in that
trying moment, that his love was shed abroad in her heart; for, turning
herself, she exclaimed in a transport of joy, "Oh! I would not give up
Christ for all the world!"
"Whom have I in the heavens high,
But you, O Lord, alone?
And in the earth whom I desire,
Beside you there is none."
"I hope that I shall meet you all in heaven, where we shall be forever with
the Lord." She wished that Christ might be praised; and that he might be
magnified by her dying breath. To her brother she said, "I hope you may live
with Christ, and praise him throughout the endless ages of eternity."
She was asked by one, if, during her sickness she had not often experienced
something like heaven upon earth. She replied that she had. Her earthly
course being nearly finished, she opened her eyes, which were soon to be
closed in death, and in the language of strong, unshaken faith, exclaimed
with Job, "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will
stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body
I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own
eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" Once she broke out into a rapture
and exclaimed, "O, to be ever with the Lord, what a happy change!"
A little while before her death, one said to her, "It is a happy thing when
the believer can say when about to leave the world, I have finished the work
which you gave me to do." She said yes; and added, (though with great
difficulty, her breath being almost gone), "I am now ready to be offered,
and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have
finished my course. I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for
me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give
me at that day; and not to me only, but also unto all those who love his
appearing." Her faith remained firm unto the end, and her hope and
confidence unshaken to the last. Her sky was clear and serene, her mind calm
and composed, and thus she fell asleep in Jesus, and entered into the joy of
As the writer gazed upon the solemn scene before him, he could not but feel
the force of Revelation 14:3, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."
A few days before this young lady died, she requested the following verses
to be read at her funeral. They are too beautiful, and impressive to be
To my young companions–
"My youthful mates, both small and great,
Stand here, and you shall see,
An awful sight, which is a type
Of what you soon will be!
I used to appear once fresh and fair
Among the youthful crowd;
But now behold me dead and cold,
Wrapped in a sable shroud!
My cheeks once red, like roses spread,
My sparkling eyes so gay;
But now you see how 'tis with me,
A lifeless lump of clay!
When you are dressed in all your best,
In 'fashion' so complete,
You soon must be as you see me,
Wrapped in a shrouding sheet!
Ah, youth beware, and do prepare
To meet the monster, death!
For he may come when you are young,
And steal away your breath!
When you unto your frolics go,
Remember what I say;
In a short time, though in your prime,
You may be called away!
Now I am gone, I can't return;
No more of me you'll see;
But it is true that all of you,
Must shortly follow me!
When you unto my grave do go,
That gloomy place to see,
I say to you who stand and view,
Prepare to follow me!"
And now, reader, can you not say, "Let me die the death of the righteous,
and let my last end be like his!" How important is it then that you should
now choose Christ in order that you may enjoy his love and presence, not
only through life, but also in the hour of death! If you belong to Christ,
you will find him, in the last hour of life, a friend that sticks closer
than a brother. What an awful thing it is to die without salvation by
Christ, without a saving interest in him; and yet millions live without God,
and without hope in the world; and millions more die in the same awful
condition, and plunge into a dark and miserable eternity. O, be admonished
to choose Christ in time, and he will be yours in death, and in eternity.
How unspeakably blessed it is to enjoy the love and smiles of Christ in a
dying hour! Then what can the world do for you? The tears of your friends,
and the exertions of your physicians, will then be unavailing. It is Christ
alone that can make a dying-bed easy and comfortable. His love and presence
will sustain you, and his almighty arms support you.
"Though unseen by human eye,
The Redeemer's hand is nigh,
He has poured salvation's light.
Far within the vale of night;
There will God my steps control,
There his presence bless my soul.
Lord whatever my sorrows be,
Teach me to look up to thee."
"He who is thus with you," says an excellent writer, "will afford all
needful comfort and support in the trying hour. He will open at that time
treasures of grace and strength, to which you had been previously a
stranger. The Redeemer himself is present, not only to guide his saints, but
to infuse that comfort and vigor which will abundantly compensate for the
sinkings of expiring nature. Who but those who have entered heaven, can tell
what unearthly joys are granted the saint in a dying hour? Often, there is
reason to believe, they transcend everything possessed in the present life.
There may be visions of glory realized by the spirit, which are second only
to those of heaven. The dying experience of many saints has been of the most
delightful kind. Whether such hopes and joys as were afforded to Janeway and
others, will be vouchsafed to you, you know not; nor is it necessary you
should know. Whatever is necessary for you in a dying hour, Christ will
bestow. He says, "My grace is sufficient for you." Remember, that he has
said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who
died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and
When we contemplate those, whose deaths we have recorded in this volume, we
may justly say, "These all died in faith." Let us also be "followers of
those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." "Therefore,
since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of
faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin
that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race
that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom
our faith depends from start to finish." If you belong to Christ, he will
love you in life, in death, and in that happy home, which his love has
prepared for you.
In conclusion, Christian reader, you will soon exchange the abodes of
mortality for the regions of bliss. Then look beyond the grave. Do not
confine your thoughts to this earthly gloomy place. Contemplate the sublime
raptures of your future existence beyond the precincts of time. Christ shall
one day break the slumbers of the grave, and you will arise to immortality.
The love of Christ does not stop at death. It extends beyond this solemn
period. It will accompany you into the heavenly world; your everlasting
happy home– and you will soon arrive there. From the valley of the shadow of
death you shall ascend to the summit of Zion. You shall "come to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of
angels in joyful assembly. You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn
children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself,
who is the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of the
redeemed in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus,
the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the
sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives instead of crying out for
vengeance as the blood of Abel did."
For the darkness of mortality, you shall obtain the bright glories of
heaven. "Your eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the
land that is very far off." You will possess the promised land, the heavenly
Canaan. Then shall the days of your mourning be ended. Raised in the
likeness of your blessed Redeemer, you shall, finally, be presented
faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy! Entering the
fair mansions of glory, you shall reign with your glorified Redeemer,
forever and ever! O! happy outcome to the Christian's short pilgrimage on
With such cheering prospects to he realized, can you not also say, in the
prospect of death, with many dying saints, "I have a desire to depart, and
to be with Christ. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
In the following chapters we shall contemplate that happy home which Christ,
in his great love for a lost world, has now gone to prepare for his
children. "For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken
down—when we die and leave these bodies—we will have a home in heaven, an
eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow
weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our
heavenly bodies like new clothing."
"How happy is the dying saint,
Whose sins are all forgiven;
With joy he passes Jordan's flood,
Upheld by hopes of heaven.
The Savior, whom he truly loved,
Now cheers him by his grace;
A glory gilds his dying bed,
And beams upon his face.
Ecstatic joy and heavenly bliss
Swell his enraptured heart;
He views the promised land of rest,
And pants for his depart.
Terror and dread are both unknown;
Sweet peace and hope appear,
To guide the blessed traveler home,
And all his footsteps cheer.
Angels of light attendant wait
His spirit to convey
Beyond this drear abode of night
To realms of endless day.
Oh! may I live the life of faith,
Abound in holy love,
Till death shall bear my joyful soul
To Zion's courts above."