« PreviousContinue »
heaven-help-Bible—now—come;" and then, turning her eyes upon me, she said :
“I do want—to come—to Christ-and rest on him. -If my God—will accept-such-a vile sinner-I give myself—to him—for ever !-oh!-he will—accept me -by Christ—who died !--Lord-save me~ I lie on thee -to save me.” She sunk back upon her bed, with her eyes
lifted to heaven and her hands raised in the attitude of prayer, while her countenance indicated amazement.
I knelt by her bed, uttered a short prayer, and left her, to return at sunset.
As I returned, the old Welshwoman met me at the door, her eyes bathed in tears, and her hands lifted to the heavens. I supposed she was going to tell me that the sick woman was dead, but with uplifted hands she exclaimed, “Blessed be God! blessed be God! The poor thing is happy now, she is so happy! Thank God! she is so happy! she looks like an angel now! she has seen Christ, her Lord, and she will be an angel soon! Now I can let her die ! I can't stop weeping ! she has been a dear creature to me! but it makes my heart
weep for joy now when I see what God has done for her and how happy she is.”
She conducted me to her sick friend's room. As I entered, the dying woman lifted her eyes upon me with a smile :
" The Lord-has made me happy!-I am—very happy. I was afraid—my wicked heart—never would -love God. But he has led me to it. Christ is very dear—to me. I can lean on him now. I can die in peace.”
I conversed with her for some minutes, the “old lady" standing at my elbow in tears; she was calm and full of peace; she said, “ All you told me—was true. My heart finds it true. How good—is Jesus to save such sinners !-I was afraid—to fall upon him, but I know now—that believing is all. My heart—is different. I do love God. Jesus Christ is very dear to me." She appeared to be fast sinking. I prayed with her and left her. The next day she died. I visited her before her death. She was at peace.
She could say but little, but some of her expressions were remarkable. She desired to be bolstered up in her bed, that she might“ be able to speak once more.”
She seemed to rally her strength, and speaking with the utmost difficulty, the death-gurgle in her throat, and the tears coursing down her pale, and still beautiful cheek, she
" I wonder—at God.-Never was there such love.He is all goodness. - I want-to praise—him.-My soul
- loves him.-I delight—to be his.—He-has forgiven me--a poor sinner-and now-his love exhausts me. — The Holy Spirit—helped me—or my heart-would have held—to its own-goodness-in its unbelief. God has—heard me.—He has come-to me,—and now
- I live-on prayer.—Pardon me-sir,-I forgot-to thank you,-I was—so carried off—in thinking-of my God. He will—reward you—for coming—to see me. -I am going—to him-soon—I hope. Dying will be sweet—to me for Christ–is with me."
I said a few words to her, prayed with her, and left her.
As I took her hand at that last farewell she cast upon me a beseeching look, full of tenderness and delight, saying to me: “May I hope-you-will always -go to see dying sinners ?”—It was impossible for me to answer audibly,—she answered for me, “ I knowyou will—farewell.”
She continued to enjoy entire composure of mind till the last moment. Almost her last words to the cold lady" were, “My delight is—that God-is king-over all, and saves sinners—by Jesus Christ.”
I called at the house after she was dead, and proposed to the “old lady” that I would procure a sexton and be at the expense of her funeral. Lifting both her hands towards the heavens, she exclaimed."No, sir ! indeed; no, sir ! You wrong my heart to think of it! God sent you here at my call, and the poor thing has died in
peace. My old heart would turn against me if I should allow you to bury her! the midnight thought would torment me! She has been a dear creature to me, and died such a sweet death. I shall make her shroud with my own hands; I shall take her ring money to buy her coffin, I shall pay for her grave, and then, as I believe her dear spirit has become a ministering angel, I shall hope she will come to me in the night, and carry my prayer back to her Lord.”
She had it all in her own way, and we buried her with a tenderness of grief which I am sure has seldom been equalled.
If this was a conversion at all, it was a death-bed conversion. A suspicion or fear may justly attach to such instances perhaps, and persons wiser than myself have doubted the propriety of publishing them to the world. But the instance of the thief on the cross is published to us; and if the grace of God does sometimes reach an impenitent sinner on the bed of death, why should we greatly fear the influence of its true history? The wicked may indeed abuse it, as they abuse everything that is good and true; but it must be an amazingly foolish abuse, if on account of a few such instances, they are induced to neglect religion till they come to die.
It is very rare that a death-bed is like this.
I deemed it very important to convince her it was not too late to seek the Lord, and I found it a very difficult thing. The truth, that it was not too late, came into conflict with the unbelief and deceitfulness of her heart. It seems to me that we ought not to limit the Holy One of Israel, leading sinners to believe that even a deathbed lies beyond hope. Truth is always safe; error, never. And if there is good evidence of a death-bed conversion, why should it be kept out of sight ?
And yet it is no wonder that careful minds are led to distrust sick-bed repentance. It seldom holds out. Manifestly, it is commonly nothing but deception. Health brings back the former impiety, or that which is worse.
It does not appear that the dying thief knew anything about the Saviour till he was dying, and this woman seems to have been like him. And what a lesson of reproof to Christians, that this woman, living for twenty years among them, and in the sight of five or six Christian churches, “should never have been inside of a church in her life," and that “nobody asked her to go." Year after year she was in habits of intimacy with those who belonged to Christian families, she associated with the children of Christian parents, and yet she never had a Bible-she never read the Bible-she never was exhorted to seek the Lord! and probably she would have died as she had lived, had not divine Providence sent her in her poverty to be the tenant of the “old lady” who loved her so well. Oh! how many are likely to die soon,
“old lady” to bring them the Bible and pray
for them in faith and love.
GOING OUT AND COMING IN.
In that home was joy and sorrow
Where an infant first drew breath,
Near unto the gate of death :
And his eye was growing dim,
When they brought the babe to him ;
On the little one he tried,
Press'd it to his lips and died ;
An awful darkness resteth
On the path they both begin,
Going out and coming in,
Going out unto the triumph,
Coming in unto the fight;
Going out unto the light;
In the moment of eclipse,
With the blessing on his lips ;-
As he conquer'd in the strife,
· Death is but the gate of life.
On the path we all begin,
HUMAN LIFE, THE JOURNEY OF A DAY.
DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
OBIDAH, the son of Abensina, left the caravansera early in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Hindostan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest; he was animated with hope; he was incited by desire; he walked swiftly forward over the valleys, and saw the hills gradually rising before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of Paradise; he was fanned by the last flutters of the sinking breeze, and sprinkled with dew by groves