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    LAST WORDS

    On his deathbed, British preacher Charles Simeon smiled brightly and asked the people gathered in his room, "What do you think especially gives me comfort at this time?"

    When they all remained silent, he exclaimed, "The creation! I ask myself, 'Did Jehovah create the world or did I?' He did! Now if He made the world and all the rolling spheres of the universe, He certainly can take care of me. Into Jesus' hands I can safely commit my spirit!"

    Source Unknown.


    Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, in the closing months of his life said to a friend, "I am so weak. I can't read my Bible. I can't even pray. I can only lie still in God's arms like a little child and trust."

    Our Daily Bread, January 1, 1994.


    Thursday, December 21, 1899, after cutting short a Kansas City crusade and returning home in ill health, D. L. Moody told his family, "I'm not discouraged. I want to live as long as I am useful, but when my work is done I want to be up and off." The next day Moody awakened after a restless night. In careful, measured words he said, "Earth recedes, Heaven opens before me!" His son, Will, concluded his father was dreaming. "No, this is no dream, Will. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go." 

    Moody, December, 1993, p. 70.


    John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley's heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn't even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man's misfortunes. "And what else do you thank God for?" he said with a touch of sarcasm. 

    The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, "I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!" Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness. 

    Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley's extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, "I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath." 

    Our Daily Bread.


    John Bacon, eminent 18th-century English sculptor, said on his deathbed, "What I was as an artist seemed to be of some importance while I lived, but what I really am as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing of importance to me now."

    Source Unknown.


    English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was asked, "Have you ever pondered by yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?" Faraday hesitated awhile and then responded, "I shall be with Christ, and that is enough."

    Source Unknown.


    The 17th century Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford gave this triumphant testimony before he stepped into eternity:

    "Mine eye shall see my Redeemer. He has pardoned, loved, and washed me, and given me joy unspeakable and full of glory. Glory shines in Immanuel's land!" 

    Daily Walk, April 10, 1992.


    On the day of her (Idelette's) death, John Calvin was impressed with her serenity. "She suddenly cried out in such a way that all could see that her spirit had risen far above this world. These were her words, 'O glorious resurrection! O God of Abraham and of all of our fathers, the believers of all the ages have trusted on Thee and none of them have hoped in vain. And now I fix my hope on Thee.' These short statements were cried out rather than distinctly spoken. These were not lines suggested by someone else but came from her own thoughts." 

    An hour later she could no longer speak and her mind seemed confused. "Yet her facial expressions revealed her mental alertness," John recalled later. "I said a few words to her about the grace of Christ, the hope of everlasting life, our marriage and her approaching departure. Then I turned aside to pray." Before long she quietly "slipped from life into death."

    Christian History, Vol. 5, No. 4, p. 15.


    The last days of British statesman and colonial leader Cecil Rhodes were marked by grave disappointment. He died from heart disease at a time when he was beset by personal scandals and discredited by unwise political decisions. Lewis Mitchel, who was at Rhodes's bedside in his cottage near Cape Town, South Africa heard the dying man murmur, "So little done, so much to do." Yet there's more than this to the story of Cecil Rhodes.

    He migrated to South Africa from Britain for health reasons. It was there that Rhodes made a vast fortune in gold and diamond mining. Even though he died feeling he had much more to do, he has left a lasting legacy because he used part of his fortune to endow the famous Rhodes scholarship program. 

    Today in the Word, July 28, 1992.


    My days are numbered. For the first time in 50 years I find myself in the slough of despond. All about me is darkness...

    Ghandi.


    I have only a little longer of earthly darkness, and then the sunshine of the Father's throne. God is love. Good night, good night. 

    Ira Sankey, who lived in Brooklyn the last years of his life and after years of blindness died in 1908.


    Let me pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.

    General T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson--wounded by his own men, he died shortly after.


    I am not come hither to deny my Lord and Master.

    Anne Askew--July 16, 1545/burned at the stake after torture on the rack, at the age of 25.


    "Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord by whom we escape death." 

    Martin Luther.


    "Live in Christ, live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death." 

    John Knox.


    "Thou, Lord, bruisest me; but I am abundantly satisfied, since it is from Thy hand." 

    John Calvin.


    "The best of all is, God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!"

    John Wesley.


    "I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness--satisfied, satisfied!" 

    Charles Wesley.


    Herman Lange, a German Christian was to be executed by the Nazis during WWII. In his cell on the night before he was to be killed, Lange wrote a note to his parents. He said two feelings occupied his mind: "I am, first, in a joyous mood, and second filled with great anticipation." Then he made this beautiful affirmation: "In Christ I have put my faith, and precisely today I have faith in Him more firmly than ever." Finally he urged his parents to read the New Testament for comfort: "Look where you will, everywhere you will find jubilation over the grace that makes us children of God. What can befall a child of God? Of what should I be afraid? On the contrary, rejoice!" 

    Michael, Green, Running From Reality.


    A few days before his death, Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote a very dear friend these words: "I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don't trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning." 

    quoted in Consolation, by Mrs. C. Cowman, p. 70.


    John Wesley, just before he died in his 88th year, sat up, looked at his loved ones weeping at his bedside, and said, "Best of all, God is with us."

    Source Unknown.


    Mark Twain, became morose and weary of life. Shortly before his death, he wrote, "A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;...they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; ...those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. It (the release) comes at last--the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them--and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,...a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever."

    Mark Twain.


    John Wesley preached his last sermon of Feb 17, 1791, in Lambeth on the text "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isa 55:6). The following day, a very sick man, he was put to bed in his home on City Road. During the days of his illness, he often repeated the words from one of his brother's hymns: I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me! His last words were, "The best of all is, God is with us!" He died March 2, 1791. 

    W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, p. 245.


    "Some day," D.L. Moody used to say, "you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don't believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now!" He preached his last sermon in Kansas City on Nov 23, 1899, from the text Luke 14:18: "And they all with one consent began to make excuse." When he gave the invitation, fifty stood to their feet and went across the street into the inquiry room. He was too ill to continue the Kansas City campaign, so he took the train back to Northfield. On Friday, Dec 22, he went "home." Five years before his home going Moody had said, "If it can be said, faithfully said, over my grave, 'Moody has done what he could,' that will be the most glorious epitaph." Instead, 1 John 2:17 was chosen: "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." 

    W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 209.


    When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, "I am still in the land of the living."

    "Stop," said Owen. "Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living."

    John M. Drescher.


    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out ...Father of heaven, receive my soul!

    Hugh Latimer--October 16, 1555/burned at the stake for the gospel.


    Lord, however Thou dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for them. Pardon Thy foolish people! Forgive their sins and do not forsake them, but love and bless them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of reformation; and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on Thy instruments, to depend more upon Thyself...And pardon the folly of this short prayer. And give me rest for Jesus Christ's sake, to whom, with Thee and Thy Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever! Amen.

    Oliver Cromwell--September 3, 1658/died as a result of a fever.


    Since it is God's will that you should outlive me, remember our friendship. It was useful to God's church and its fruits await us in heaven. I do not want you to tire yourself on my account. I draw my breath with difficulty and expect each moment to breathe my last. It is enough that I live and die for Christ, who is to all his followers a gain both in life and in death.

    John Calvin--May 27, 1564/died of old age.


    In age and feebleness extreme,

    Who shall a sinful worm redeem?

    Jesus, my only hope thou art,

    Strength of my failing flesh and heart;

    Oh, could I catch a smile from thee,

    And drop into eternity!

    Charles Wesley--Late March, 1788/died of old age.