The Gospel 24/7
MRS. SARAH L. HUNTINGDON SMITH
From An Antique Book in Webmaster's Library - Editor Unknown
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"She slept but not kind nature's sleep;
Friendship could only hope and weep,
That hope was vain; the vital spark
Was wasting, with the wasting hour.
Her lids unclosed. She breathed no sound,
But calmly looked on all around,
And each in silence sweetly blest
Then closed her eyes and sank to rest.
"Gone was the life sustaining breath;
But oh, how beautiful was death!
Mortality had passed away,
And there a sleeping angel lay.
No voice the slumbering silence broke,
But life in every feature spoke;
For death itself appeared to be
Radiant with immortality."
"September 25, Sabbath. --- She said to me, 'This is the precious Sabbath.' 'Yes,' said I, 'I was going to remind you of it.' 'Oh,' she replied, 'I have been thinking of it all night.' After a while she added, 'This is a desirable day in which to die. How should I be disappointed not to be called away today!'
"She sent her love to her missionary friends in Smyrna, Cyrus, and Syria. Then turning to me said, 'Tell my friends I would not for all the world lay my remains any where but on missionary ground!' (*The remark had previously been made to her, "That her remains would probably lie not far from the ashes of Polycarp, and other sainted members of that ancient apocalyptic church." She only replied, "All sinners saved by grace.")
After a good many remarks, showing the brightness of her views of spiritual things, some of which could not be distinctly heard, she exclaimed, 'What a goodly company of ancestors shall I meet there! Yes, and the holy angels, and the Son of God! Oh, the Almighty God! You know nothing of his glorious majesty. I cannot express it, but I wanted to speak of it, that you may think that yourselves are nothing. I have thought too much of myself. In this sickness I have thought it too important that my case and wants should be consulted. We all think that we are of more importance than we are. Beware of pride.' Her mind seemed now, and at times subsequently, to be burdened with presentiments of inexpressible grandeur, in anticipation of being ushered into the immediate presence of God.
"We sung that beautiful hymn of Doddridge on the eternal Sabbath, commencing,
" 'Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love.'
To my surprise her voice, which she had so long been unable to use in singing, was occasionally heard mingling with ours. Her face beamed with a smile of ecstasy; and so intense was the feeling expressed in her whole aspect, that we stopped after the first, verse, lest she should even expire while drinking the cup of joy we had presented to her. But she said to us 'Go on;' and though all were bathed in tears, and hardly able to' articulate, we proceeded. I was sitting with her hand in mine. While singing the second verse she pressed it, and turned to me at the same time such a heavenly smile as stopped my utterance. Before we reached the end, she raised both her bands above her head and gave vent to her feelings in tears of pleasure, and almost in shouting. After prayer she said, 'I have had a little glimpse of what I am going to see. . . . Tell Mr. Sarkis, (an Armenian present, who she knew, had read Pilgrim's Progress with particular interest,) I have had a slight view of something like what befell Christian after he had crossed the river of death.' During this deeply affecting scene, there were standing by, besides ourselves, three Greeks, an Arab, an Armenian, and a part of the time a Persian, while tears flowed freely from almost every eye.
She said, 'I have had some sublime conceptions today of what I shall see when I enter the world of spirits.'
"September 26. --- Early in the morning she seemed much revived. . . . A sweet expression of pleasure was on her face the whole day, and she often smiled so cheerfully as to make us all happy. It was religious joy that cheered her. She said to me early in the day, ' Perfect happiness, what an idea! The perfection of bliss! It is worth waiting a day or two for.' And again 'I thought a little while ago, that I was ushered into the presence of Almighty God, and saw the all-seeing eye!' But there was none of the excitement of yesterday. She even had a more than natural, I may say heavenly, calmness. She proposed uniting with us in the holy communion, which she thought herself unable to bear before; saying, she thought she should enjoy it, seeing that our Saviour had said, 'Do this in remembrance of me.' Accordingly, at four o'clock in the afternoon we celebrated that solemn ordinance in her room. Mr. Temple officiated with great solemnity and appropriateness of remarks. Hers were almost the only dry eyes in the room; not from any want of enjoyment, for a heavenly expression of countenance showed what she afterwards said --- that she enjoyed it highly. But it appeared rather that her nature had, since yesterday, undergone a change, and received some of the peace and calmness of the glorified state.
September 27. --- She said to me, 'I have been thinking to-night, that there is nothing at all gloomy in the death of a Christian, either to himself or to others, I feel very happy in the prospect of death.'
"Sept. 28. --- She requested me to pray that if God had anything more for her to do, for which he was thus keeping her here, he would lead her to do it; and this she again asked me to petition for, when I prayed with her at the close of day.
* * * "The family soon assembled, including the servants and our Armenian friend already mentioned. It would have been a gratifying circumstance had her last hours been passed in the midst of the nation to whose spiritual good she had devoted her life. As it was, her own faithful and kind-hearted servant was the only Arab that witnessed her dying scene. He took his position by the side of her bed, and there stood until the last; showing, by uninterrupted tears and suppressed sighing, how thoroughly she had won his attachment. * * * *
"Involuntary groans were occasionally uttered in her convulsions. These, as we were listening to them with painful sympathy, once, to our surprise, melted away into musical notes; and for a moment our ears were charmed with the full, clear tones of the sweetest melody. No words were articulated, and she was evidently unconscious of every thing about her. It seemed as if her soul was already joining in the songs of heaven, while it was yet so connected with the body as to command its unconscious sympathy. A smile of perfect happiness lighted up her features. She looked deliberately round upon different objects in the room, and then fixed upon me a look of the tenderest affection. Bending over her, I touched her lips with mine, and she returned my token of love. It was her farewell. Her frequent prayers that the Saviour would meet her in the dark valley, have already been mentioned. By her smile, she undoubtedly intended to assure us that she had found him. * * * *
"Twenty minutes before eight o'clock, her affectionate heart gradually ceased to beat, and her soul took its final departure to be forever with the Lord."