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,Ary. 4^r /f(fr
I TTtE NEW YORK
' ;";r'!JC LIBRARY
• ^.-■->^v. l-''^>;OX AND
i (LD-.N FOUNDATIONS
•1 , \
T^ TJ j; I- Jl-SLID 3E-E.E K
THE LAST WEEK
IN THE LIFE
DAVIS JOHNSON, JR,
J. D. WELLS,
PABTOK OF THE SOUTH THIBD 8TSBKT PRBSBTIEBIAN OHUBOE,
WILLIAUSBTJReu, L. I.
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
No. 630 BROADWAY.
Entered, according to Act of- Congress, in the year ld<M>, by
ROBERT GARTER A BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's OfBoe of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
SMITH & McDOUQAL,
82 & 84 Beekman-st
E. O. JENKINb,
9)^t j$Hcrtb ^robibmcc, fo^o from tnb ia tvSn,
^irottglg anb sbettig motrest! 8^11 | brxte,
^\xb not of S^ee, tl^rougl^ fol^om mg fiitgtra teitb
So ^olb mg qaill ? b^ ll^tg nol bo ®^ee rigljt ?*'
L — ^iNTBODUCnrOBT, 7
II.— Thx Bath-Housb, 11
IIL — ^Thb Dat of Pbepaiiation, 21
IV. — ^Thb Awaksnixo, 29
y. — OoNYionoN Prolonged, 45
YL — A Fatal Delusion. — ^The Crihis, 67
VIL— Saltation, 81
Yin. — ^Patixnt in Tribulation, 96
IX. — SUBMIflSION, 103
X — ^Dabk Hours, 123
XI.— The Furnaob of Affliction, 137
Xn. — ^Faithful unto Death, 153
XTU. — Sown in Oobbuption, 165
XrV. — ^Thb Voice of Wabnino, 175
XV.— Childhood, 193
"Be tb thbbefobe beadt also: foe the Sox of Man
ooxeth at an houe when te think not." jesus.
§1 gotit|[ of noble form anb fcalurt,
^ being setit lo bless t||id foorlb, anir probe
So scoffers, tl^t t^ere is a (Sob bj^o roles
^bobe; for fol^o but tiiob coulb foorh t^us noblg?''
On Saturday, the 18th of July, 1857,
Davis Johnson, Jr., received a mortal hurt
while bathing in the East River, WiUiams-
burgh. Long Island.
At the post-mortem examination, it was
found, that the sixth cervical vertebra was
broken into six pieces, and thrown out of
place. There was consequently a compres-
sion of the spinal cord, and an entire paral-
ysis of the nerves of motion and sensation,
below the chest.
In this condition of body, and in the full
possession of all his mental powers, he lived
a whole week, expiring on Saturday, the
25th of July, just before night. He was
not quite twenty years old.
10 THE LAST WEEK.
The following pages are a simple record,
chiefly from notes taken at the time, of
his experience, the efforts made for his sal-
vation, and the result, which, through the
tender mercy of God, it is believed was
secured, during that last week of his life.
And this record is now published, with
the humble hope and prayer, that God may
bless it to young men, and others into'
whose hands it shall fall.
SATURDAY— JULY la
"A&B KOT TWO 8PAKR0WB BOLD FOB A FABTHINO t AND
09X OF THEM SHALL NOT FALL ON THX GBOUND WITHOUT
TOOK Fatheb." JESUS.
"Sroktn in ptcn nil asnn&tr,
ITorbt ^nnt mt not,
^ ilpxii forgol;
Amx B poor crtBtttit, nob a foonbtr, —
^ foonber, lortnrtb in ll^t spnct
SeUoixt t\ns borib anb t^ of gxact.''
Davis left the office of the "Atlantic Mu-
tual Insurance Company/' in Wall Street,
New York, where he held a responsible
position, a little earlier than usual, to enjoy
the luxury of a bath. His parents, and a
younger brother, boarded in Williamsburgh,
L. I., while his boarding-house was in
Brooklyn. For a reason which will be
stated in the sequel, he was anxious to
take his brother with him to a sanctuary
in Brooklyn, where he had attended the
Sabbath before. This reason revealed, I
think, the beginning of a gracious work in
his soul, before the awful week, during
which it was destined to be developed and
14 THE LAST WEEE.
matured for eternity. His plan, as stated
by himself, was this : — to come over to
Williamsburgh, enjoy the bath with his
brother, and then take him to Brooklyn.
But God's plan was different.
The brothers entered the bath-house,
then lying at the foot of South Eighth Street,
Williamsburgh, and, in company with sev-
eral other young men, indulged in the
manly sport of swimming and diving.
There was one part of the house, to which,
on account of its elevation, bathers were
sometimes tempted to climb, for the pur-
pose of diving; but they were excluded
from it, by printed regulations, because of
the possible exposure of their persons.
To this place, Davis climbed ; and when
told by the attendant that he was doing
wrong, he instantly plunged into the water,
and this was his fatal plunge. He soon
rose to the surface; but his head, and
THE BATH-HOUSE. 15
hands, and feet hung heavily down. At
first, his brother, who was not in the bath
at the moment, thought he was sporting, as
he was perfectly at home in the water.
Perceiving however, that he was hurt, he
hastened to his assistance. On raising his
face from the water, he was told that he
must carry him out, for he could not help
It is cause for wonder and gratitude, to
this day, that the younger brother should
have been able to carry Davis on his shoul-
der, through the water and up the steps of
the bath-house, to the platform; and still
more, that he should have done it without
destroying the precious life which had re-
ceived so fearful a blow. It was clear
afterwards, that the slightest change in the
relative position of the head and body, must
have been attended with the risk of instant
death. And it is a greater wonder than
16 THE LAST WEEK.
even this, that the younger brother and his
associates, without knowing the extent of
Davis's injuries, should have safely removed
him, as he was, to a carriage, and so con-
veyed him to the boarding-house of his
parents in Washington Place, a distance of
several blocks, and then up the stone steps
in front, and the long flight of stairs leading
to the second floor of the house. There
was no skillful surgeon to give directions
and help, in this most delicate task; but
surely the angels of God had him in
charge, or he must have been killed.
It was a very merciful arrangement for
the mother, that she was absent from the
house, when her wounded boy was brought
home to die. And on her return, shortly
after, she was prepared for the tidings
awaiting her, by the younger son, who con-
siderately and tenderly met her at the door,
and told her not to be alarmed, that Davis
THE BATH-HOUSE. 17
was hurt, but they hoped not seriously.
And this was the impression of Davis him-
self. He was not overcome, therefore,
when his mother, to whom he was bound
by a filial love that I have never seen sur-
passed, came to his bed-side. His fine face
was not marred, and there was no bruise
on any part of his body. He said himself
that he did not strike his head on the
bottom of the bath ; and this was manifestly
the case, because there was not the slight-
est abrasion of the skin perceptible, and
there was no pain. An intelligent physi-
cian expressed the opinion, that his fore-
head struck the water a little at one side,
and when his head and body were not in a
right line with each other. The conse-
quence was, that his head was thrown vio-
lently back, and also to one side ; and the
cartilage uniting the bones not giving way,
the sixth vertebra of the neck was literally
18 THE LAST WEBK.
pulled asunder and broken into six pieeesu
It was also twisted around, so that the
spinous process was quite out of line with
the spinous processes of the other vertebrae
of the spinal column.
The pain that Davis felt was not great at
first, and it was confined to one little spot
in the neck. He could talk, and move his
arms at will. His respiration was easy,
and his heart beat with its usual force and
regularity. And yet his body, below a line
crossing the chest near the nipples, was
dead; the process of digestion was per-
manently interrupted, and all sensation and
power of motion were gone forever.
In this condition of body, and with no
serious thoughts about his soul, he entered
upon his last earthly Sabbath.
It is proper to add here, that to the last,
Davis persisted in taking upon himself, all
the blame of his fatal injury. More than
THE BATH-HOUSE. 19
once he exclaimed in my hearing : " I
brought it all on myself." And this is now
recorded, as a frank acknowledgment, alike
honorable to him and due to the proprie-
tors of the bath-house. He felt and said,
that if he had obeyed the known laws of
the place, he could not have been hurt.
"As MABT AB I UOfTM, I mKBOKS AKD dUSTKH.*
JTfiil^, JtaUonr, Icab^ mnib l^c cndrdhig 9(00111,
ITtab t^on me on:
C|c log^ b bark, anb J am &r from ^omt,
ITcab t^oa me oa.
yittf i\im ntg feet; | bo not ask to sec
C|e Mstant scene — one step, tvam%^ tat me.''
This was a day of solemn preparation for
the scenes that followed.
It is one of the precious truths of the
Scriptures, that, '' Like as a father pitieth
his children, so the Lord pitieth them that
fear him." — Ps. ciii., 13. We ought not to
explain these words away. It is our duty,
and privilege, to rise from our parental
pity, of which we are so keenly sensible, to
that of our Heavenly Father, of which we
have need to assure ourselves.
The parents of Davis were not forgotten
of God. They spent the day in ministering
to his wants, and in yielding their hearts,
hour after hour, more fully to the distress-
ing conviction that he must die. He re-
tained his consciousness throughout the
day, while lying perfectly helpless. In-
deed, his mind seemed to be active and
clear, untU he was struck with death.
You could puncture his cold flesh with a
pin, at any point below the line of sensibil-
ity, across his chest, without his know-
ledge; but the instant you crossed that
invisible, mysterious line, he would cry out
with pain. His arms and fingers obeyed
the dictates of his wUl, and retained their
sensibility, though not wholly unimpaired,
for at times they tingled as if " asleep ;" and
again they were acutely sensitive, so that
he could not bear to have them touched.
This morbid sensibility was particularly
distressing in the wrists, and palms of the
hands. His head was, of course, immov-
able, because of the fracture of the neck ;
THE DAY OF PREPARATION. 25
hut, his vocal powers, and the muscles of
his face, were as true to his volitions as
ever. He could, therefore, talk freely with
physicians and friends, about his changing
sensations, and the thoughts and emotions
of his soul.
Recourse was had, during the day, to
various means, and among them, electricity,
with the hope of restoring the lost powers
of sensation and motion, to his body and
legs, but without effect.
His removal, from the bed to a cot, cost
him indescribable suffering, and confirmed
the judgment of the physicians, that his
injury must soon prove fatal; and they
thought it clearly their duty, to reveal
their fears, and the ground of them, to the
distressed parents. This they did ; but it
is easy to understand how, against hope,
they still clung to hope ; for, to the eye,
26 THE LAST WEEK.
there was no wound upon the person of the
sufferer. He looked the very picture of
health. I had not seen him, indeed, up to
this point; but the same healthful appear-
ance of his face and body continued, till the
powers of life were exhausted. It was
only at intervals, and when he was greatly
prostrated, that we could persuade our-
selves of the approach of death.
Had he been a youth of feeble constitu-
tion, he must have sunk much sooner ; but
he had the vigour and muscular develop-
ment, of a man several years his senior.
This proved an unspeakable mercy to him,
in the end, though it prolonged and greatly
aggravated his sufferings. As a lost sin-
ner, on the borders of eternity, he needed
all his strength, physical and mental ; and
that this was continued, until, through
grace, he was enabled to lay hold on eter-
THE DAY OF PBPARATION. 27
nal life, was the occasion, at last, of many
thanksgivings nnto God.
But he had no serious apprehensions of
danger, and no thought of pleading for
mercy, up to the close of the Sabbath.
MONDAT— JULT M.
*'AirD WHKK He is ooms, Hk will bbpbote thk wobld
OF Snr, AND OF BIGHTEOUSNESSi AND OF JUDGMENT."
Skbs on t^t sons of flesl^;
^tta mobeb rII t^e carnal mtitb,
^tib forms ti^t man afrtsl^."
This wbs the first day^ marked by deep
Bpiritaal concern on the part of Davi's, and
by the earnest efforts of Christian friends,
for his salvation.
As he awoke about 3 o'clock in the
morning, his mother, watching beside him,
" You are very ill, my son !"
" Not very," he answered cheerfully.
"But you are very ill, Davis. Don't
you feel that you are ?"
" No ! I am not much hurt ; I shall be
out in a few days."
If his mother had cared only for his
present comfort, she would have left him
THE AWAKENING. 81
under the illusion that his injury was slight.
This, alas ! is the frequent treatment of the
sick ; they are robbed of the golden hours
that remain to them of life, lest the use of
those hours in preparing for death, should
hurry their passage to the grave.
Mrs. Johnson had reason to believe that
her son .was unreconciled to God; she
thought of his soul, and of the infinite
value of even moments of time, to one in
his circumstances ; and again, with a bleed-
ing heart, she pressed upon him the fact of
his extreme danger.
^* You will not be well in a few days,
and you may never recover."
He asked with kindling emotion, *^ Why
do you say so, mother ?"
" Because it is the opinion of your phy-
This was a moment of bitter anguish to
both mother and child ; and it was followed
82 THE LAST WEEK.
by many hours of greater anguish; but
how salutary and necessary !
His next words were these, "I can't die."
With a fearful emphasis breathed into the
utterance, he exclaimed more than once, ^' I
can't die !" " I carit die !"
" Can't you pray, my son ?"
" Pray !" said he ; " God knows I wouldn't
have been praying, if I hadn't been hurt.
I can't pray. Do pray for me. Now pray
His mother knelt by his cot, and besought
the Lord to have mercy on her djing son ;
she also begged him to join her in praying
for himself, which he tried to do.
After this, the agitation of his mind was
somewhat calmed, and when he was asked
if he would like to see me, he answered
quickly : " Oh yes ! do send for him as
soon as you can in the morning."
Thus far in the narrative I have relied
THE AWAKENING. SS
upon the vivid recollections of Mrs. John-
son, for what has been said of the state of
Beyond this point, my dependence is al-
most exclusively upon notes taken by my-
self, after each interview.
And I may as well say here, and once
for all, that having come to the conclusion,
after much reflection, that I ought to publish
this account of Mr. Johnson's awakening
and conversion to God, as I believe it was,
I shall not spoil the narrative by constant
apologies for speaking so much in the first
person. I am obliged to speak in this way,
or not at all. It is a very humble agency
any one has, in winning a soul to Christ.
The new creation of the sinner, and his
eternal union to the person of the Re-
deemer, can be ejBTected only by the Holy
Spirit : and it is my earnest desire to bring
this young man before my readers as in
84 THE LAST WEEK.
ihe hands of the Spirit of God, and passing
from stage to stage of his short and painftQ
course, drawn irresistibly forward, by the
attractions revealed to him in the cross and
the Person of Christ. Succeeding in this,
I shall be satisfied, and cherish the hope
that some who read these pages, will bless
God forever, that they were written.
I proceed with the narrative.
Early in the morning of this day, I was
requested by Mr. Davis Johnson, who with
his wife, is a member of my Church, to visit
his son. I had heard nothing of his injury.
As we walked together towards his board-
ing-house, he told me the facts, in brief, of
the distressing accident ; also that a council
of physicians had expressed the opinion
that Davis could not possibly recover, and
that he would not probably live more than
three or four days. A few words were add-
ed about the painful agitation of his mind.
THE AWAKENINa. 3$
I need not say that the responsibility of
becoming his spiritual guide in these dis-
tressing circumstances, weighed heavily
upon me. I told the father that I could not
think of assuming it, without being faithful
to his son from the first ; that I must tell
him of his sins with very great plainness,
and not leave him in ignorance of the opin-
ion expressed by the physicians, that he
must soon die.
On coming to his cot, therefore, I at
once threw myself on the judgment of his
physicians, and • begged him to regard him-
self, as near the eternal world.
He was silent and intensely earnest, in
his attention to what I said.
I then asked him as tenderly as possible,
if he thought himself ready to stand before
God, and give account of his life? His
answer was a loud wail that pierced my
heart like a knife. He cried out in agony —
86 THE LAST WEEK.
he said that he could not die — ^he had broken
God's commandments, and must go to hell.
His mind sprang to this conclusion with
awful precision and swiftness, and his lips
uttered it without the slightest hesitation.
Moreover, he justified God, saying then
and often afterwards, that it was right and
necessary that he should perish, for he
would not mind God, and was not prepared
to be happy in heaven.
Distressing as it was to witness his an-
guish, I was constrained to believe that he
was even then, the subject of a true awaken-
ing by the Holy Ghost, and that He who
had begun, would complete His own gracious
and wonderful work. Pointing him to
Christ the compassionate, almighty, and ac-
cessible Saviour, to whom the Holy Spirit
then convincing him of sin, was waiting to
lead him, and praying with him, I left,
promising to call again in the afternoon.
THE AWAKENING. 87
As it is my purpose to make known the
means used for securing the salvation of
this young man, I attach great importance
to the following statement. Whatever may
be thought of it by the world, I am per-
suaded that the Christian reader will under-
stand and appreciate it.
The Church of which I am pastor, was
enjoying at the time of Davis's injury, the
reviving presence of the Holy Spirit. The
Sabbath before the Monday on which I
first visited him, was one of unusual so-
lemnity and interest, in our sanctuary.
We were occupied all day, in contemplating
our royal priesthood in Christ, and with
special reference to the duty, and power, of
intercession for others.
Accordingly, when I left Davis, I went
immediately to some of my beloved people,
who were prevalent in prayer, with the
earnest request that they would take his
38 THE LAST WEEK.
soul upon their souls, and plead for him.
And as I met others through the day, I
suggested that the Providence of our Lord,
was conspiring with his word and the Holy
Spirit, to teach us the efficacy of inter-
cessory prayer, and that we must not rest
while the sufferer lived. From that time,
till he slept in Jesus, " prayer was made,
without ceasing, of the Church unto God
for him," and it was not made in vain.
Calling in the afternoon, according to
promise, I found that Dr. Mott, of New
York, was with him, trying to reduce the
dislocation of the neck. This, of course,
precluded my seeing him, and led me to
adopt the plan of writing letters, to be read
in my absence, and as his strength would
permit. I felt that he needed instruction
out of the Scriptures, and that just as fast
and long as he could receive the truth, it
should be freely communicated to him, as
THE AWAKENING. 39
the instrument, in the hands of the Holy
Spirit, not only of his regeneration and
union to Christ, but also of his sanctifi-
cation and comfort. And I believe now that
these letters were a blessing to him.
My first letter was accompanied by the
following note to his parents, which is pub-
lished, with their consent, because it ex-
presses clearly the conviction of my mind,
that Christian parents should cooperate
fully with ministers in giving their dying
children plain instruction from the Bible,
though it may pain them to do so.
"July 20, 1867.
^' My dear Mr. and Mrs. Johnson :
" My heart bleeds for you, and pours
out prayer in your behalf. May God sup-
port you, and make you faithful to your
dear, dying son.
" I need not pray you not to heal slightly
the hurt of his poor soul. You would not
40 THE LAST WEEK.
for worlds do this, and I would not for the
treasure of the universe.
" I have written a letter which I hope you
will first read by yourselves, and then may
you have strength to read it to your son.
Do not keep back the truth of God from
him. He will bless you eternally for faith-
ful instruction, and warning, and entreaty,
and for fervent, believing prayer.
" Do not divert his mind from his sins. It
is the Holy Spirit, I trust, who quickens
his conscience. He must see, and feel, and
deplore his sins. TeU him this, and when
his soul is in agony, point him to Christ,
and lead him to Christ. Take his soul
upon your souls, and go before him to Je-
sus, in faith and prayer ; and though you
bury your dear boy, you shall find him in
"Again I beseech you not to withhold
from him the truth that tells him of his
THE AWAKENING. 41
sins. I will call in the morning, if spared,
and will continue to write the truths that I
hope and pray God may bless to your
dying son. Affectionately, your pastor,
"J. D. Wells."
In printing this note, it is hardly neces-
sary to say, that the parents of Davis most
earnestly and gratefully seconded all that
was done to lead him to Christ ; while they
also went before all others, in personal de-
sires and efforts for his salvation.
The first letter to him was as follows :
" Paesonage, July 20, 186*7.
"My DEAR Mr. Johnson:
" I called this afternoon, but could not
see you, without interrupting those who
were trying to relieve your wounded body.
"May I take this way of addressing you ?
Most truly can I say, that you have lain
upon my heart, from the time that I first
42 THE LAST WEBK.
heard of your injury. Never have I felt
a greater and more painful responsibUity
thrown upon me, than now. You would
justly despise me for ever, if I should keep
back any of those great and precious truths,
by which, through God's blessing, you may
be saved from eternal death, though at the
last hour of your earthly life. I think I
hear you say to parents, minister, and
friends : ' Do not trifle with me. Tell me
the truth, and tell it plainly, while God
gives me strength to hear it ; and when I
cannot speak to you any more, still speak
to me the words of eternal life, and pray for
me.' We will do this, my dear young friend,
" Let me beg you, first of all, to believe
that your injury is so serious, that all the
ground of hope you can have of living
more than a few days, is as nothing. I
write this with deepest grief; but you do
not wish to be deceived.
THS AWAKENING. 43
"I pray you next to believe, that though
your sins be as scarlet and crimson in the
sight of the Holy God, to whom your spirit
will soon return, there is a way made very
plain in the Bible, in which you may even
now be freely pardoned and made holy; for
without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
"And now do not refuse to believe exact-
ly what God says of your sinfulness. He
knows your heart, and He tells you what is
in your heart. He lays it bare. The Holy
Spirit comes as Jesus said He would, to
* reprove the world of sin, and of right-
eousness, and of judgment.' You know,
dear sir, that;^ you have broken God's law.
It is holy, just, and good. But you have
not loved it, and you have not kept it.
*The carnal mind is enmity against God;
for, it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.' And thus you are
lost. You are under the curse of God's
44 THE LAST WEE&.
law, and near eternity. But, oh, my djdng
and lost friend, God Himself offers to save
you. He tells you of His dear Son. He
invites, and commands, and entreats you to
look and come to Jesus.
" ' Behold the Lamb of God that taketh
away the sin of the world. His blood
cleanseth us from all sin. He is able to
save to the uttermost all that come unto
God by Him. Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Repent
and believe the Gospel.'
"J. D. Wells."
TUESDAY— JULY 21.
"Fob I WAS ALIVE without the law onor: but whbn
THE OOiaCAin>MENT OAMB, SIN REYIYED AKD I DIED."
** l^oox, l0st, bmgl^teb soni, ait ii^aix
SBiUing to finb galbatioir nob? —
C^tre get 10 \oft, — ^ear mcrtg's tall, —
Sntt^, lift, figl^t, foag, in Christ is allt
Paste ia him, ^asUT'
My interview with Davis this morning
was very affecting. At his request, his
younger brother, and he alone, remained in
the room with us. The reason for this he
gave, revealing not only a true fraternal
devotion, but, I had almost said, a Christian
love, which grew stronger and stronger to
the last. He expressed the hope that his
brother might be profited by the conversa-
tion. He wished him to hear what he was
about to say with eternity in view, and also
what I might say, as a Christian minister,
in the name of Christ.
Having thus arranged everything for our
interview, he. proceeded, without the least
48 THE LAST WEEK.
hesitation, and with great solemnity, to say
to me, as if no one else had been present, '
"I know that I must die very soon, and
that I am lost ; I am not fit to die ; I cannot
go to heaven; I must go to hell. It is
right that I should; I deserve to perish;
I would not mind God; I would not be
good ; I knew what God said I must do,
but I would not do it ; I did not like to."
In very simple words like these, he utter-
ed again and again his own condemnation ;
while, in terms as clear and strong as could
be used, he justified God. This was a
striking and hopeful feature of his ex-
perience from the first; and it was the
more impressive, because, not being accus-
tomed to express himself on such subjects,
there was nothing technical or set in his
phrases. I could not resist the conviction,
that the Holy Spirit was leading him safely
into the truth ; though it was most distress-
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 49
ing to witness his anguish, and to hear the
words in which he poured out his com-
plaint ; nor was it possible to give him
relief. Grod's time had not yet come for
revealing the Saviour to him. Full and
free salvation was offered him in the name
of Christ. I told him the story of the cross
as simply and tenderly as I could ; he was
reminded of the personal glory of the liv-
ing and accessible Redeemer, of His oflSces,
His work, and His death ; the very words
of Jesus and His inspired servants, were
repeated and explained, to allure and help
him; and then fervent intercession was made
for him. But the sentence of his righteous
condemnation, was written before the eye
of his consciousness too plainly to be over-
looked; the wrath of God was revealed
from heaven against him. Though young,
he was made to feel that he had treasured
up wrath against the day of wrath. I know
60 THE LA8T WEEK.
of no scriptural terms that are too strong to
express his conviction of personal guilt and
vileness, and helpless exposure to punish-
ment, as a sinner. The commandment, seen
as he had never seen it before, to be holy,
just, and good — ^though very imperfectly
known yet, in its spirituality and breadth,
as the experience of another day will show —
was in the hands of the Holy Spirit to
slay him. He was killed, and I could not
make him live and rejoice before God, as
a renewed and pardoned sinner.
He expressed the opinion, without re-
serve, that God could not possibly receive
him as a child, and pass by his transgres-
sions. He must undo his wrong, and lead a
different life. And then, remembering that
his days were numbered, he exclaimed,
" Oh, if I could live eight or ten years, and
show God that I would be good, I might be
saved, but now I must die."
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 51
"Davis/' I said, "if you could live a
thousand years, you must be saved by com-
ing to Christ as you are, and resting upon
Him. AU that you can do is utterly worth-
less to commend you to God. Tou must
count your very righteousnesses as filthy
rags, and, casting all away, accept of the
perfect righteousness of God's dear Son, as
a free gift to you personally. Do not yield
to the dreadful thought that you must per-
ish, because you have not years of life in
prospect, when Jesus says, ^ I am the resur
rection and the life; he that believeth iu
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live :
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die.' Tou know that His blood
cleanseth us from all sin."
Still he did not, and could not consciously
come to Christ. The perfect freeness of
salvation, the accessibility of Jesus, the
possibility of his having a full and eternal
62 THE LAST WEEK.
pardon on account of the Saviour's sacrifi-
cial death, and merely for the taking, were
great mysteries, above his comprehension.
His eyes were holden that he could not see.
It pleased God to leave him a little longer
under the guilt of his sins, before shining
into his mind to give him the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God, in the face
of Jesus Christ. And painful as it was, I
think his experience was most salutary, at
this time. He learned, so as never to for-
get or doubt the great truth, that no man
can come to Christ, except he be drawn by
the Father ; and that we can so discern the
glory of Jesus as to call him Lord, only by
the Holy Ghost. It was truly refreshing,
after Jesus Christ was revealed to him, and
in him, to hear his unreserved and unquali-
fied ascription of all the praise to God. He
could not withhold the ascription, because
he had effectually learned his helplessness.
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 63
After the interview of the morning, I
remained to witness the examination of
Davis's neck, by eminent surgeons of New
York and Brooklyn. And I feel it to be at
once a duty and pleasure, to state here,
that Dr. T. L. Mason, of Brooklyn, who
had the case in charge, manifested to the
last, the most tender concern for the salva-
tion of his patient. Believing his injury to
be fatal, he deeply felt, as a Christian man,
that everything should be made subordinate
to his reconciliation with God. And he
acted accordingly, sharing fully in the great
joy of many hearts, when the salvation of
God came, as we all believed, to the suf-
ferer. He has never known, perhaps, how
his Christian consideration comforted the
family and friends of Davis, and drew forth
prayers and thanksgivings on his account.
The examination had at this time re-
vealed the fact, that the sixth cervical ver-
54 THE LAST WEEK.
tebra was drawn forward and sideways out
of its place, but not the fact afterwards
learned, that it was broken into several
pieces. And as this latter fact was not
known, the thought was entertained of an
operation, having for its object the restora-
tion of the bone to its true place in the
It was distressing to leave Davis, so near
the eternal world, writhing under the strong
conviction of his exposure to God's just
wrath, and unable to see the way of life.
But there was no alternative. We may not
dictate to God, as to the fact, the time, or
any of the circumstances of a sinner's con-
version. We can instruct the sinner, and
plead with him to be reconciled to God.
We may send up our petition to the throne
of the heavenly grace, putting it into the
hands of our Great High Priest, who ever
liveth to make intercession for us. But
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 65
what then? We may not clamour to be
heard. We must not abuse the privilege
of holy importunity. We are to wait on
God, and wait for God. And many suppli-
ants did this in behalf of Davis. His case
excited extraordinary interest, and for the
simple reason that, in every respect, it was
an extraordinary case. He was the subject
of special prayer that evening, and after-
wards, in at least two sanctuaries ; while
his name was mentioned at many domestic
and private altars.
The Rev. E. L. Janes, at that time pastor
of the South Fifth Street M. E. Church,
Williamsburgh, was a friend of the family,
and manifested a very tender and intelli-
gent interest in the welfare of Davis; in
his church, therefore, prayer was offered.
And as for my own Church — our usual
lecture was omitted, that we might fully
consider the condition of the sufferer, and
bring his case before God in prayer.
66 THE LAST WEEK.
I told the people aU that the physicians
had then discovered and made known^ as to
his physical condition; of the probability
that the proposed operation to reduce the
dislocation of the neck, would result in in-
stant death; and that for this reason the
operation would be postponed till the latest
possible moment, in the hope that he might
be prepared for his change.
I told them also, particularly, of the deep
and distressing convictions under which I
left him in the morning. And then we
tried to reflect upon the relations of an un-
pardoned soul to God, to all the provisions
of grace revealed in the Scriptures, and to
eternity. It was a night to be remembered.
Our hearts were still under the influence of
the great truths relating to our royal priest-
hood, that had been considered on the Sab-
bath; and the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete,
was with us. Seldom is a company of sup-
CONVICTION PBOLONQED. 57
plicants placed in circumstances to see so
vividly, that an immortal soul, trembling on
the verge of the eternal world, without
hope, must be rescued by their faith or lost
forever; and most tender, fervent, and
reverential intercessions went up to God
from many hearts.
Dr. Duff, y^ars ago, wrote of the effect
produced in Calcutta on large numbers of
the Hindoo young men, by the instructions
of the missionaries. They were brought, in
many instances, apparently to the verge of
the kingdom of heaven, but there they
stopped. Across the invisible line that
divides that kingdom from the world, no
demonstrations of science subverting their
old superstitions, and no persuasions of
love, could move them. Till God interposed
in the sovereignty and might of His won-
drous grace, they were lost, though ration-
ally convinced of the truth of Christianity,
58 THE LAST WEBK.
We deeply felt that, till God interposed
to draw Davis to Christ by His word and
Spirit, he was lost.
We can never know in this worid, what
connection the intercessions of that night,
and the innumerable prayers of God's
people in the closet, the family, and the
sanctuary, had with the result soon to be
mentioned. But I should think myself
guilty of a sinful omission, if I did not give
them a very prominent place among the
divinely appointed and honoured means of
And I venture to close the records of
this day with a few inquiries that often
press themselves upon my own heart for
Why should we not feel as intense a de-
sire for the salvation of every unpardoned
sinner, to whom we have access, as for one
in the appalling qircumstances of Davis?
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 59
The perils of the soul are always great
beyond conception, till refuge is found in
the living Redeemer. How can we endure
to see the destruction of our kindred ?
How can we rest, while scores of our
friends and neighbours, Uving in pleasures,
are dead, according to the divine and pub-
Where are the bowels of our compassion
for the whole world lying in wickedness ?
The wail of a single dying sinner, dis-
tinctly heard, drives sleep from our eyes,
and draws us together as earnest suppli-
ants around the mercy-seat; but we have
only to listen, and we shall hear the groans
of thousands dying in their sins, shrink-
ing back from the grave, not only with an
instinctive horror, but with dark and
reasonable forebodings of the eternal con-
sequences of leaving this world as they are.
Why are we not in sympathy with Jesus,
60 THE LAST WEEK.
who, giving us life in His blood, andin eter-
nal connexion with His Person, by the in-
dwelling of the Holy Ghost, asks and ex-
pects ns to come to His help for the saving
of the world ? I pray that God may make
any impressions the reader has received, in
looking upon the dying youth of whom I am
writing, minister tg a permanent and ever-
increasing desire for the salvation of souls.
The letter that follows was the second
left with the parents of Davis, to be read
to him in my absence :
" Tdesdat Mokning, July 21, 1867.
" My dear Mr. Johnson :
"You are still spared, in the great mer-
cy of God, and can cry unto Him to save
you. If He had wished your destruction,
how easily could He have taken away your
reason and consciousness ! Be persuaded
to believe that He now waits to be gracious ;
and do not deky a moment longer to flee
CONVICTION PROLONGED. * 61
for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set
before you in the gospel.
"Let me urge you, first, to turn away
from father, mother, ministers, and friends ;
for they cannot give relief to your poor
body ; much less can they save your soul
and body from the curse, the power, and
the vileness of sin. Your only help is in
the very God whose law you have broken,
and whose dear Son you have refused to
believe and obey. ^
"And I beg you next, not to form your
opinion of your character from the judg-
ment of men, and the commendations of
friends who tenderly love you ; but from
the true, and searching, and blessed word
of God. Dismiss the thought from your
mind, that you are fit to appear with joy
and safety before God. Remember, I en-
treat you, that though you had been kept
from all immoralities, from profaneness, sab-
62 THB LAST WEEK.
bath-breaking, and other open transgres-
sions, you have not been kept from the sin
of rejecting the Son of God as your Saviour.
This is the great sin of men, aU unbelieving
men, in a Christian land. So the Saviour
"Remember, further, my dear sir, that
you must be convinced of sin, your own sin ;
that you are such a sinner as God says you
are; that your sins make you vile in the
sight of God ; that they justly expose you
to the displeasure of God ; and that you
are helpless, lying before God, at His mercy.
" These are great and distressing truths,
but they are salutary; and may our gra-
cious God bless them to ycu. And now,
will you pray for the Holy Spirit to give
you this conviction ? It is His work ; and
you must, you will, look to Him. Let your
dying breath be spent in pleading for the
Holy Spirit. He will not only convince
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 63
you of sin, but effectually change your
heart, and lead you to Christ. Tou must
he horn again. You must receive and rest
upon Jesus Christ as your own Saviour.
My heart is grieved for you, that you have
delayed this momentous work till now; but
do not delay another moment. Though
your sins be as scarlet, and your time so
short, Jesus can and will save you, if you
will cast yourself upon Him alone for salva-
tion. Once more I beseech you to do this,
and I pray that you may be persuaded and
enabled to do it.
" Sincerely your friend,
" J. D. Wells."
There is one point in this letter, on which
I am constrained to remark, in a sentence
or two. Possibly some awakened sinner
reading it, may have his mind confused, as
to the precise thing he must do to be saved.
64 THE LAST WEEK.
"Let your dying breath," I wrote to Davis,
"be spent in pleading for the Holy Spirit."
Taken in their connexion, especially in con-
nexion with the repeated oral instructions
he received, to look to Jesus, to come to
Jesus, and to believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, I do not think there was any danger
that these words would divert his attention
from Christ. And now, what the reader
must do to be saved, is to believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ. Apply to Him at once,
and, of course, just as you are. Tou need
a broken heart, and the pardon of your
sins; but He is exalted a Prince and a
Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and
forgiveness of sins. Remember that He
baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, and that it
is right to ask Him for this baptism. Your
asking for it is an application, a coming to
Him. Rest upon Him, then. It is the
Living Person you want. Seek Him, rather
CONVICTION PROLONGED. 66
than salvation, and you will have salvation,
in Him, " Who of God is made unto us wis-
dom, and righteousness, and sanctification,
and redemption; that, according as it is
written. He that glorieth, let him glory in
WEDNESDAY MOENINQ, JULY M.
"Insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall Da<
OnVE THE YEBT ELECT." JESUS.
**^axb lesu, tl^ott hiimi bofa
9'te bging l^eab wpoit ll^t tree:
0^, be tuA xioia
Port btab 10 mel
IFxrrb, l^im 1 Slfeall f e ll^at mabt tl^e ear ttot l^ear ?''
At the morning visit I found Davis not
perceptibly weaker in body than yesterday.
He was still suffering under the crushing
weight of his unpardoned sins. He could
not find the way of life. All the energies of
his soul seemed to be expended on the
momentous inquiry, "What must I do to
be saved ?"
He had been thinking deeply on the sub-
ject, and startled me at last by saying with
perfect frankness :
" I DO NOT SEE THAT GrOD CAN RECEIVE ME,
TILL AFTER I HAVE SUFFERED IN HELL."
This sentence alone, of all that Davis ut-
tered duiing that remarkable week, shocked
70 THE LAST WEEK.
and alarmed me. It showed that he was
not yet really slain by the law of God, and
that he knew but Httle of its holiness,
spirituality, breadth, and pure justice. It
was a revelation of very imperfect views of
the malignity and vileness of his sins, and
of his own ill desert on account of them.
It implied a rejection of the plainest truths
of the Scripture, as to the eternity of future
punishments. And then it showed that
notwithstanding his bitter anguish of soul,
and his apparently sincere approval of God's
condemning sentence under which he lay,
he was still so blind as utterly to overlook
the Person and the atonement of the Lord
Jesus Christ, as his only hope.
Most earnestly did I labour to show him
that he was hiding in a refuge of lies ; that
his doom was indeed sealed forever, if, with
the Bible in his hands, and the opportunity
of knowing the truth as it is in Jesus, he
A FATAL DELUSION. 71
should die clinging to the wretched hope he
had just expressed. It was shown to be a
false hope. I did not know at the time its
origin in his heart ; it seemed to me like a
strong delusion — a fiery dart injected into
his mind — to destroy him at the last mo-
I have since learned that some of his
associates were Universalists and Restora-
tionists. He had heard their views thrown
out in the freedom of debate, and though
he did not consciously embrace them, they
left their deadly impress on his heart. And
how congenial to the human heart are such
views ! It is a marvellous demonstration of
the power of truth, the supremacy of con-
science, and the grace of Jesus, that there
are no more Universalists and Restoration-
ists in Christendom. But how should our
sons and daughters be grounded in the
truth, before they are, exposed in society,
72 THE LAST WEEK.
to the remotest suggestions of this most in-
sidious and dangerous of all heresies !
In Davis's mind there was a distinct,
though not hitherto influential impression,
that sinners might possibly be saved after a
period of suffering — ^longer or shorter, ac-
cording to their deserts — ^in hell. Driven
by the truth and Spirit of God to the
borders of despair, and ready to catch at
any straw of hope, rather than fall, as he
was, into the arms of Christ, he caught at
this straw. "The heart," I believe, "is
deceitful above all things and desperately
wicked." I believe also in the personal
agency of Satan, and that he employed all
his wiles and power at this fearful crisis, to
deceive and so destroy one whom God
loved; but he was foiled, and his power
was broken by a stronger than he. To our
conquering Lord be all the glory.
The mind of Davis had great vigour, and
A FATAL DELUSION. 7S.
he was remarkably candid and open to con-
Tiction ; moreover he was intensely anxious
to know the truth. When, therefore, it was
spoken to him with authority and love, in
the name of Christ, his whole nature bowed
before it, as a tree is moved by the wind of
heaven. And though it cost him the pang
of renouncing aU the hope he had — ^a hope
that was indeed a lie and would soon have
made him ashamed — ^he was enabled to do it.
He was in total darkness, struggling with
the waves of despair and death. For the
moment his hand had found what seemed
to support him, and though it was piercing
him through with many sorrows, he could
not leave it. But when he heard the voice
of the Beloved, louder than the noise of
many waters, saying to him tenderly yet
firmly: "Look unto me and be saved;"
"Come unto me;" he did leave it. He
bravely let go his hold, to struggle on tow-
74 THE LAST WEEK.
ard Jesus, with only His voice to guide him
through the billows and the darkness.
When I parted with him after prayer, his
soul was searching as never before, for
Christ, the only name under heaven, given
among men, whereby we must be saved.
The time of his deliverance was at hand.
The following letter, the last that I* had
occasion to write, was left with his mother,
and read to him :
**PABBoirAGB, Wednxsdat MoBNOrG, Jlllj 22, 1857.
**Dear Mr. Johnson:"
" The Lord Jesus is able to save to the
uttermost all that come unto God by Him.
He is God's own and only Son; and He
became flesh and dwelt among men full of
grace and truth. But this is not all the
wonder of his condescension ; He died upon
the cross. He loved us and gave Himself
for us. He was wounded for our transgres-
sions. He was bruised for our iniquities,
A FATAL DELUSION. 76
and the chastisement of our peace was upon
Him. It pleased God to put Him to shame,
and to make Him to be sin for us, that we
might be made the righteousness of God in
Him. He was delivered for our offences,
and was raised again for our justification.
And now He is exalted at the right hand
of God, a Prince and a Saviour to give
repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins,
and His blood cleanseth us from all sin.
" This is good tidings of great joy for you ;
you may be saved from aU the consequences
and vileness of your sins, by faith in Jesus
Christ. The plan is God's; the offer of
eternal life is made by God Himself, who
knows all your sins ; and will you not be-
lieve that He is willing to save you ? Do
you ask : ^What must I do to be saved ?' I
answer in the words of inspiration, ' Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be
saved,' Acts xvi. 31. Here, my dear friend,
76 THE LAST WEEK.
is Q-od in your own nature, who has died on
purpose to save sinners. He can save you ;
and if you will just believe on Him, cast
yourself upon Him, quietly rest upon Him,
you shall be saved. Do not delay, and
do not doubt. You have not to earn your
salvation ; you cannot ; no one can or ever
did. We are all to be saved in the same way,
by accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour,
and giving ourselves up to Him, to change
our hearts; to make us truly penitent for
sin ; to secure the pardon of all our sins ;
to make us holy ; to support us in death ;
to receive our souls and present them to His
Father in heaven; to raise us from the
dead ; and to acquit us at the judgment.
" Do not wait to be any better, before
hoping that God will accept you for Jesus's
teke. He will accept you only as a sinner.
' They that be whole need not a physician,
but they that are sick.' Jesus said that.
THE CRISIS. 77
And now, it is the poor sinner that worketh
not, but believeth on Him that justifieth
the ungodly, that is accounted righteous and
shall be saved.' — ^Romans iv., 5.
"With much sympathy and prayer,
"J. D. Wells."
Here, perhaps, better than elsewhere, I
may state, that an extraordinary interest
was shown by many persons in the welfare
of young Mr. Johnson.
He received this day an excellent letter
from a Christian gentleman, Ipng his friend,
urging him to apply to Christ for eternal
life, and assuring him of earnest prayer in
But the most affecting tribute to his
worth, outside of his own family, was that
which came from the officers, and many of
the clerks, of the "Atlantic Mutual Insu-
78 THE LAST WEEK.
ranee Company." Day and night they were
with him. To one of the Vice-Presidents
he was dear as a son ; and he^ with some
of his associates, manifested an interest in
his recovery, or his preparation for death,
rarely witnessed. One cannot but ask why
it is so rare ? And why does it not reveal
itself before death is at hand to dissolve
their relations forever ? Surely the ofl&cers
of our Insurance Companies, Banks, and
other corporate bodies, together with Mer-
chants and Masters of all grades, are sol-
emnly bound to watch for the souls of their
young men, as they that must give account.
Davis had the confidence and love of his
employers. Apt to learn, and reliable, he
was rapidly advanced to a place of great
responsibility, performing duties never be-
fore intrusted, in that company, to one so
He had his faults ; but when told of them
THE CRISIS. 79
in the spirit of kindness, he frankly owned
the truth, and promised not to repeat them.
Nor was he known to break his word. The
law of truth was in his lips.
When he was stricken down, therefore,
manly tears were shed for him, and prayers
were breathed for his salvation, by Chris-
tian gentlemen, who had hitherto known
little more of him, than that he was doing
excellent service for them. And when it
was known that, after his fearful anguish
of spirit, he was rejoicing in hope of the
glory of God, there was great joy among
them, as well as in many other circles on
earth, and in the presence of the angels of
God in heaven.
WEDNESDAT AFTEBNOON— JX7LT tL
''And thib is the will or Him that sent mi, that eyest
ONE which SEETH THE SoN, AND BELIEYETH ON HIM, MAT
HAVE EYEBLASTING LIFE; AND I WILL KAISE HIM UP AT
THE LAST DAY." JESUS.
** 9\, t\psd I mtg^ Btmt ot^er ^tarts ttmbtxt,
^nb BO iakt nf, at vlbz, goob sion;
S^at to S^g c^t0t0, t^txt mig^t ht coming tn,
Slot^ all mg prabe, aitb mou 1''
The morning interview left a painful im-
pression on my mind. The frightful delu-
sion, under which Davis had fled to a refuge
of lies, was broken indeed ; but I greatly-
feared some other snare might be spread by
It was with deep solicitude, therefore,
that I called in the afternoon. Before
reaching his room, I was met by the mo-
ther, wearing a joyful countenance, who
" Davis will be so glad to see you ! A
great change has come over him. He has
been filled with' joy since the middle of the
forenoon ; and it began in this way. I was
84 THE LAST WEEK.
sitting beside him, in company with my
younger son, when he suddenly exclaimed,
* Oh, mother, Jesus is precious to me ; why.
He is precious to me. I am so happy ! I
wish I could go to Him now ! Don't you
see the angels !' And then, at short inter-
vals, he broke out spontaneously, as if look-
ing directly upon the Saviour, ^Precious
Jesus ! Precious Jesus !' "
The tidings of this change seemed too
good to be true. I could not believe, for
joy. Rather, my 'mind was preoccupied
with the scene of the morning. I was
afraid, for the moment, that another, and
still more subtle and mighty delusion, must
be encountered and broken.
I was alarmed at his reference to the
angels. He spoke of them as "% angels,''
and seemed to wonder that his mother could
not see them. My fear was, that he was
about to rely upon visible appearances and
wonderful revelations, apart from the Scrip-
tures, as the ground of his hope.
I know that an angel appeared to the
holy women at the sepulchre of Jesus. I
know that He is Lord of Angels, and can
just as easily show to his servants, their
glory, as his own. I know that they are
" all ministering spirits, sent forth to minis-
ter for them who shall be heirs of salva-
tion," and that they are glad when sinners
are brought unto Jesus with tears of peni-
tence. I know too, that Christians of former
generations made much more of angelic
agency than we do, for I have read " The
Ministration of, and Communion with. An-
gels ;" by Isaac Ambrose ; and havQ often
heard the venerable Dr. Archibald Alex-
ander pray in the Oratory of Princeton
Seminary and elsewhere, with the simplicity
of faith, for holy angels to be sent as at-
tendants and guardians. I once witnessed
86 THE LAST WEEK.
a scene in which an intelligent Christian
youth, about to die, startled every one in
the room by calling us together around his
bed, and exclaiming — his eye that could
not see the sun at midday, being intently
fixed in an upward gaze — " Hush ! Hark !
Spirit !" Of all this, and more, relating to
the appearance and agency of holy angels
about the beds of the dying " heirs of sal-
vation," I have often thought since the
time of which I am writing; and I have
come to the conclusion not to be alarmed
by such references to angels as Davis
made, if there are satisfactory proofs that
Jesus is seen and trusted and embraced.
I do not know that he did not see an-
gels, and " big angels," angels excelling in
But I was alarmed then ; I was afraid of
some new delusion; and the time was so
short. It seemed to me, that the responsi-
bility of guiding this one soul, was greater
than I could bear.
As I approached his cot, he received me
with great affection and immediately spoke
of the change that had taken place in his
views and feelings. The ecstasy of his first
look at the Person and glory of Christ, had
so far subsided, that he could speak calmly
and intelligently of his experience; his
countenance always fine, even when shaded
with the distressing apprehension of deserv-
ed wrath, was now lighted up with the joy
and peace of a believer, and he expressed
very decidedly the hope of pardon and ac-
ceptance with God, for the sake of Christ.
I asked him the ground of his hope. He
replied : " You told me that God was so
willing to save me, that He wanted to save
me, and that He would save me, if I would
stop trying to save myself and trust in the
> ,'. >^.,
- " I' '.I -
^^^mcHl to bo
,pe i^ai K ^ "^Pel. X wte corn-
to ^iiiti§\ ^^ iJideed taught of
that y^ ^^l»eL
«ss into tho
^itlx v\ ^^ ^^''s of joy »nd
88 THE LAST WEEK.
Saviour; and this I do; there is nothing
else I can do."
I then pressed him with many inquiries,
to learn how far he had scriptural views of
Christ, His Living Person, His oflSces, and
His sacrificial death ; and whether he was
really drawn to Him, and constrained to re-
ceive and rest upon Him alone for salvation,
as He is revealed and offered to sinners in
I was careful to ask him about his views
of sin, whether he adopted God's views,
scriptural views of his great sinfulness, of
the malignity and vileness of his sins, of
the justice of his condemnation on account
of them, of his entire helplessness, and of
the necessity of his being cleansed from the
pollution, as well as delivered from the
punishment of his sins, in order to enter
heaven ; and whether he was looking unto
Jesus to do all this for him.
To these inquiries, and to many others,
relating to the renewing and sanctifying
work of the Holy Spirit, his answers were
clear and most satisfactory. From Monday
till the hour of this interview, he had been
patiently instructed, both in writing and
orally, on all the points of evangelical doc-
trine referred to in these questions ; and
when the divine illumination came, the shin-
ing of God into his soul, he seemed to be
translated at once out of darkness into the
marvellous light of the gospel. I was com-
pelled to hope that he was indeed taught of
God, and to mingle my tears of joy and
thanksgiving with those of the mother over
her son that was dead and lost, at length,
through the infinite mercy of God, made
alive and found. And I could easily be-
lieve, that whether he saw angels or not, in
the first flood of light that reached him
from the Person and throne of his Lord,
90 THE LAST WSEK.
they saw him and rejoiced over him with
exceeding great joy. "There is joy in
the presence of the angels of God over one
sinner that repenteth."
' The closing sentence in the record of my
visit to Davis, on this occasion, made im-
medijitely after returning to my room, was
as follows :
" I was almost overpowered with the in-
terview, and with the evidence that his
mind had apprehended the great mystery
of a free salvation."
Tears have passed since that interview.
The evidence of his regeneration and union
to Christ hy the power of the Holy Ghost,
accumulating rapidly till he was struck by
death, has been often reviewed. I am not
wholly ignorant of Satan's devices, nor of
the great danger of self-deception, in what
are called death-bed repentances.
I believe that many persons, after having
long trampled under foot the precious blood
of Christ, and despised His authority and
love, are left, at the end, to " strong delu-
sions to believe a lie."
I am sure that our Adversary the Devil
has cunning, malignity and power enough,
when he is not hindered by Jesus, to trans-
form himself into an angel of Ught, and
stand by the dying sinner, on purpose to
lure him to hell, by leading him to think
and say he is going to heaven.
And I believe still further that under the
influence of disease, some persons apparent-
ly go through the successive stages of
awakening, conviction, conversion, and ra-
pid sanctification, while they have no true
self-control. If they die, they are believed
to be safe; but if they recover, they not
only give melancholy proof that they are
not Christ's, but they retain no recollection
whatever of their own professions of attach-
92 THB LAST WEEK.
ment to Him, made while they were sick.
Such instances are not unknown in pastoral
experience. Therefore let no one delay
his own application for mercy ; it is a vain
and dangerous expectation you cherish, that
you will be inclined and able to come to
Christ, when you are sick and dying.
But now having said all this, I must add,
that I do not believe the case of Davis be-
longs to either of the above classes. It
must be possible for the Holy Spirit to au-
thenticate His own work, when it is a short
work. He that wrought effectually in the
dying malefactor, convincing him of sin,
constraining him to look and cry unto
Jesus, bleeding at his side, and uniting him
for ever to His Person, may still exhibit
in His dealings with sinners about to die,
the power of grace, reigning through right-
eousness unto eternal Hfe, by Jesus Christ
The following chapters, contain abundant
proof, I think, that Davis had become a
child of God by the renewing of ijie Holy-
Ghost and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
justifying the strong language of an ex-
perienced minister, who often saw him, and
whose letter is given later in this volume :
" I doubt hot, we coincide in the opinion,
that while many, if not most cases, of death-
bed repentances are deceptive, this was
THUBSDAT UOBNING, JULY 23.
f ati^nt in tS>xihnXntitin,
"FOS OUR LIGHT AFFLICTION WHICH IS BUT UOS A MOMENT,
WOUEETH FOS US A FAB MOBB BXCBEDINQ AND ETERNAL
"WmQBT OF GLOBY; while we LOOK NOT AT THE THINGS
WHICH ABE SEEN, BUT AT THE THINGS WHICH ABE NOT SEEN.**
SEll^tti onr caus 00 00011 sl^all tense,
^rvd l^e l^eart t^nt sobs iit atrgnisl^
Sl^all l^ereafler reap iit peaa?"
I HOPE the reader will not take up the
record of this day's experience without a
It is no imaginary sufferer, or ideal Chris-
tian, that lies before you. He is a man sub-
ject to like passions with yourself. A thou-
sand ties are binding him to the earth. You
probably never saw more manly vigour and
beauty in one so young. I know, that you
cannot be more tenderly loved by parents,
sisters, brothers and friends, and that you
cannot more fully reciprocate love, than he ;
nor can your earthly future be brighter
now, than was his at the hour of his hurt.
What can you say of the endless future
98 THE LAST WEEK.
that opens beyond you, and of your pre-
paration for a conscious and accountable
existence, as long as it lasts ?
Davis is very near the grave. Death has
possession already of more than half his
body, while it is fiercely contending for the
rest. He has fearful agonies to bear, be-
fore his week is spent, and his endless Sab-
bath with God conies.
Observe how patiently he sufiers; how
serenely he waits upon God; how cheer-
fully he walks with Jesus his Lord through
the fire kindled to refine him, as silver, and
purify him as gold.
I have seen many Christians of mature
experience, enduring the chastenings of the
Lord, and glorying in tribulation; but I
never saw one, of any age, more truly, in
every way, "an example of suffering aflBiic-
tion, and of patience.'*
When I called in the morning, I found
PATIENT IN TRIBULATION. 99
him still cheerful and bright. His face
beamed with intelligence and contentment,
though marks of great suffering had begun
to appear. Christ was bearing him ten-
derly in His arms, as a shepherd a wounded
lamb, causing him to know that he was
perfectly safe. And he had great need of
the humble consciousness of such a relation
to the Redeemer, to make him strong for
the duties and sufferings of the day.
His Brooklyn physicians, Drs, Mason and
Isaacs, had already decided upon a final
consultation with Drs. Mott, Carnochan,
and Watson, of New York, at four o'clock
in the afternoon. The object of this con-
sultation was to ascertain, after a careful
examination, whether an operation for re-
storing the displaced vertebra to its true
position, could avail to preserve, or materi-
ally prolong his life. I spoke to him of
this, and told him frankly, at the request
100 THE LAST WEEK.
of Dr. Mason, that an operation would not
be attempted, unless it was found that
nothing else could save him ; also, that if it
was resorted to, the probabilities were very
much against its success ; and that it might
be attended with instant death.
I could hardly suppose that one so im-
mature in Christian experience, and having
so much to make life sweet, would hear
this statement without alarm. I therefore
tried to fortify Mm, as far as possible,
against the dread of death, by assuring him
that Christ would never leave nor forsake
him ; that He had promised this in a great
variety of terms ; and that He had been
with others who trusted Him, in times of
the deepest distress, giving to His faithful
martyrs the grace of joyfulness, even when
they were dying in the flames and on the
rack. But he did not seem to need such
comforting suggestions from me. Already
PATIENT IN TRIBULATION. 101
he had been led, by the Holy Spirit, into
the depths of Divine consolation, and had
no fear of the worst that could happen to
him. He therefore waited calmly for the
hour of the "final consultation," ready to
do and sufier the will of his Heavenly Fa-
ther concerning him.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON, JULY 28.
"Oh, mt Father, if this oup mat not pass awat faoic
ME, EZOEPT I DaiNK IT, ThY WILL BE DONE." JESUS.
"SSIjett nil trcaleb slrtams nxt hxizb,
S^5 Mnus is tht game;
g.nb glorg in S^g mxatJ'
I WENT early, and remained with Davis
till half-past six o'clock. The Rev. Mr.
Janes was there when I arrived. Knowing
the fearful ordeal through which Davis was
about to pass, he had endeavoured to draw
from him a reason for the hope that was in
him. The result, as he assured me, was a
deep conviction that the sufferer had be-
come a beloved child of God.
Shortly before the physicians met in his
room, I asked him if he was willing to trust
himself in their hands, knowing, on t&eir
authority, that any operation they might
decide to perform, would be a last resort,
and that the result would probably be in-
106 THE LAST WEEK.
Btant death ? He answered promptly, and
cheerfully, "Yes;" and then added, "I
would a little rather live than die, though I
do not know that I have any choice on my
own account. My parents and friends are
very anxious to have me live, and I would
like to live for their sake; otherwise, I
would quite as soon die. Life is very
short, at longest. I have lived twenty
years, and they are nothing, and if I am
spared now, I must soon die."
In this strain he spoke with great sweet-
ness and liberty. He also expressed the
thought, that he was gaining a wonderful
experience of life, as it were, in a few mo-
ments. Frequently, indeed, his mind was
absorbed with this thought; and several
times, he exclaimed, "I seem to be forty
years old." And no marvel. The sudden
interruption of all his earthly plans; his
experience of protracted suffering; the
crowding of numerous friends and ac-
quaintances around him, anxious to minister
to his comfort; and, above all, his new
views of himself as a sinner, of Christ as
his Saviour, and of eternal -things, revealed
to him in their vastness and power, added
many years to his short life, if years can be
measured by thoughts and experience.
Finding him steadfast and immoveable in
view of death — cheerfully assured that no-
thing could harm him — I asked him on
what his hopes for eternity rested. He
answered : " Simply on the promise of God.
He always keeps His word." And to many
other questions, meant to assist him in the
work of self-examination, he gave ready and
satisfactory answers. It was a rare privi-
lege to hear him express his love for the
Lord Jesus Christ, and to see him as he
drank in the sweet truths of the gospel.
Expecting every moment to have our
108 THE LAST WEEK.
interview broken off, by the arrival of the
physicians, and wishing to give Davis as
much instruction and consolation as possible,
in final preparation for his great trial, Mr.
Janes and myself read and repeated appro-
priate passages of Scripture, and portions
of hymns, and prayed with him. While we
were thus engaged, he gave himself up,
most intently, to the hearing and reception
of the truth. I thought of him then, and
have often thought of him since, as a living
receptacle for the truth, prepared by God
Himself, "a vessel unto honor sanctified,
and meet for the Master's use." I received
new impressions of the adaptation of truth
to the human soul, and of the power of a
gracious soul to receive and appropriate, or,
if I may use the word, assimilate the truth.
His eye was fixed steadily on us, as we
spoke in turn, each suggesting the thoughts
that occurred at the moment, as most im-
portant for him to have in mind. And
although these thoughts were drawn from
the Scriptures, and we expressed them
chiefly in the words of the Holy Ghost, —
words, which, in some instances, he had not
heard since his experience of the new life
— ^he received them all with indications of
intelligence and delight that were sur-
The words of Holy Writ, " Swift to hear,"
express the exact truth of the experience I .
am now describing. He was "swift to
hear ;" and I think that if there had been
any method by which we could have brought
much larger portions of the Scriptures be-
fore his mind, during the few moments of
our interview — such was the gracious apti-
tude of his soul for divine things — ^he would
have received all, with very little, if any,
interpretation on our part.
Shortly after four o'clock, the physicians
110 THE LAST WEEK.
came into his room, and proceeded to ex-
amine his neck and spine with great care.
On being raised from a horizontal position,
though he was supported with the utmost
skill of those accustomed to the sick room,
he suffered intensely, and almost fainted.
His pulse went down to twelve. He soon
rallied, however, and bore the examination
with great fortitude^
As Dr. Isaacs moved his fingers down
the spine, toward the small of the back,
there seemed to be faint indications of sen-
sibility; but they were deceptive. The
paralysis was final, and hopeless ; and the
surgeons knew that the case was beyond
After they retired, and had been in con-
sultation some time, word came to us, —
waiting in painful suspense to know the
result, — that they had decided not to ope-
rate. At this word, and the apparent sen-
sibility along the spine, the mother caught
as a straw of hope, and said to Davis,
" This is encouraging ;" turning to me, with
the inquiry, "Do you not think so?" I
-was compelled to say, that I thought it
important to have no impression conveyed
to the mind of Davis, regarding his physical
condition, except by his physician. And
very soon, alas ! Mr. Dennis, of the " At-
lantic Mutual Insurance Company," told
me, with tears, that "aU hope was gone;
that Davis must die, and die in two or
three days, at farthest."
It was a great relief, at the moment, to
be assured that, from the nature of his in-
juiry, his sufferings would not be great;
that the paralysis would gradually extend
to the parts of his person, still susceptible
of feeling, till life was gently extinguished
like a dying taper.
The result was far otherwise, in con-
112 THE LAST WEEK.
sequence, I suppose, of the remarkable
vigour of his constitution.
With the sorrow of his parents when the
result of the consultation was known, a
stranger intermeddleth not. It fell to my
lot to tell them that Davis was soon to die,
and to witness their grief. But I cannot
speak of it. God was their refuge and
strength; they could not have borne the
strokes of His hand, but for this; and
though they well nigh fainted at first, they
were so helped by His grace, as to endure
their anguish and conceal it from their son.
In nothing, perhaps, was his cheerful re-
signation to the will of God more remark-
ably shown, than in the manner in which
he received the report of the ph^^sicians.
It was communicated to him by a friend of
the family, who had left the house while the
consultation was in progress, and under the
impression that there was some ground of
hope for his recovery. She did not return
till the result was known. As soon as I
told her that Davis could live but two or
three days, at most, she sat for a moment
almost paralyzed with grief, and then, re-
covering herself, hurried into his room.
We had not yet agreed upon any method
of communicating to him the certain know-
ledge that he must die so soon.
This was God's method; and although
at first the mother started to prevent the
sudden communication of the sad tidings to
her son, there was really no time to hinder
it ; and we did not regret that he was thus
made acquainted with the worst.
In a moment his voice was distinctly
heard calling: "Mother! Mother!" As
she entered the room she took her place at
the head of his cot, and behind him, to con-
ceal her emotions; but he immediately
said, "I want you to stand before me,
114 THE LAST WEEK.
mother, and look in my face.'^ He then
gazed up at her intently and continued :
" Mother ! what is this ? Have you kept
anything from me? Is there no hope?
What do they say ?"
"No, my darling, there is none; they
say you must die;" was the only answer
she could give.
Closing his eyes, as if to help the power
of thought, he said with great deliberation,
"Is — that — so? I find that I have been
clinging to hope, more than I thought, but
IT IS ALL WELL."
Thus sweetly did he bow to his Father's
will; there were no tears; there was no
rebellion. Having submitted himself to the
righteousness of God by the power df the
Holy Ghost, renouncing his own will in the
most difficult of all the acts of faith — the
glad acceptance of Christ as his own Sa-
viour — ^he found it comparatively easy to
yield in everything else.
When I entered the room, I found him
trying to calm the grief of the friend who
had told him he must die, and talking to
her of heaven. He seemed to feel no soli-
citude about the future for himself, and his
chief concern now was to persuade her to
prepare for death.
He begged her to come to Christ at once,
that she might be ready to leave the world
at any moment. He tried to tell her just
what she must do to be saved. " Only be-
lieve," he said; "just believe what the
Bible tells you ; this is all I have done ; I
was told to believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and Grod would receive me, and He
has received me."
"But, Davis, you are good and I am
not," was her answer; "I have never
116 THE LAST WEEK.
thought of God ; I have lived in the midst
With great seriousness he said :
"I am not good. Why, I am not good;
but I believe what God says, and then I
just shut my eyes and think, and the angels
are all about me, to carry me to heaven. I
have had evU thoughts and feelings twenty
years ; I have bad thoughts still ; I am not
This last remark was made apparently
under the impression, that a real Christian
was free from sin, while he was painfully
conscious of his depravity. But when I
explained to him that he was a Christian,
if he trusted and loved the Saviour, he was
As this conversation progressed, Davis
occasionally appealed to me to confirm the
sentiments he expressed, thus giving me
the opportunity to speak to both, some of
the precious truths of the Bible, that were
suited to guide their souls into paths of
peace ; and so absorbed was he in the con-
versation, that I am persuaded he did not
dwell painfully upon the tidings so lately
brought to him about his death.
After a while, however, he. turned his
eye to a Christian friend, who felt deeply
for him, and asked :
" Did you ever see any one die ?"
She told him that she had seen several
persons die. He then asked further :
" Are you afraid to die ?" She answered,
*'No!" and immediately asked in turn:
^' Davis, are you afraid to die T He replied
at once :
" No ! I am not afraid to die, but some-
how I dread the last struggle."
And I know that the fear, even of dying,
was more and more taken away, until at
last he watched his changing pulse with
118 THE LAST WEEK.
seeming pleasure, and was obliged to seek
grace, to wait all the days of his appointed
time, rather than dying grace. With many
friends holding him to the earth, and the
Lord of glory drawing him heavenward, he
was in a strait betwixt two ; but his pre-
valent desire was to depart, and be with
Christ, which was far better.
Something led me to ask him at this in-
terview, if he would like to leave any word
with me, for the young men associated with
him in the Company, by which he was em-
With much feeling he said, the tears
flowing down his cheeks, though he had not
wept at any time under his own physical
distresses, and did not weep for himself in.
the near prospect of death :
"Tell them to take warning from me.
Tell them not to put off preparation for
death, for they know not the hour, when
the Son of Man cometh. I might have
been killed in an instant. Only think of
the mercy of God to me, but they may not
have time to prepare for death." And then
he continued : " I have often been to funer-
als and heard what was spoken, just as I
have heard preaching in the church, without
caring to understand and to remember."
He was anticipating their attendance
upon his funeral services, and fearing that
they might hear in vain even then.
After this, his mind reverted to the cer-
tainty and nearness of his death ; and he
expressed the fear, that he was not troubled
enough about dying. On this point he made
very particular inquiries of me, remarking
that he had been so many years a great
sinner that it seemed wonderful he should
be now dying, and yet have no fear.
It is well for the reader to search for the
ground of this peace. Davis was calm and
120 THE LAST WEEK.
often exultant, while he knew that death
was steadily approaching, and had come al-
most to his cot. And he found aU his joy
and peace in believing. He was shocked
by the review of his life ; he saw only a
mass of sin. " For twenty years," he said,
^' I have done nothing but sin." This was
the honest confession that more than once
fell from his lips; and yet he had peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Moreover this profound peace was attended
by a painful sense of the vUeness of sin ; he
loathed himself, while he clung to Christ; he
clung to Christ, because he loathed himself;
he could do nothing else. When told that
he need not be afraid to think of his sins,
and that he ought to confess them, he said
that he had no reason or wish, to hide them,
but was glad God knew them all. Still
they grieved him to the heart. This was
apparent from the hour of his espousals to
Christ, and there were times when it seemed
as if his soul would faint under the dis-
covery of indwelling sin. '^Oh/' he ex-
claimed, during the affecting interview of
which this is a very imperfect account, " I
have wicked thoughts now, how shall I get
rid of them ?"
Thus the Holy Spirit revealed to him
more and more the plague of his heart, and
the all-sufficiency and nearness of Christ.
Up to the close of this day, he seemed al-
ways to have the glorious Person of the
Redeemer in full view. But a new ex-
perience awaited him. The early hours of
Friday, were marked by the hiding of the
FBIDAT MORNING, JULY 24
'ElX)I, XLOI, LAMA BABAOHTHANI ?"
JESUS ON THZ oaoes.
"$nt, O MY god! my god! fo^g leHb'gt l^rra me,
Sljg Son, in bljom tl^ou bost beltgljt in be?
My god I MY god!
^tbn bm grief lib mint*"
I WAS sent for at five o'clock in the morn-
ing, in consequence of a season of great
conflict and darkness, through which Davis
was called to pass. The Rev. Mr. Janes,
who lived just at hand, had been called an
hour before, and was the happy instrument,
before my arrival, of leading the sufferer
back to the path of peace.
The following letter contains his account,
of what he appropriately calls, "the temp-
tation by which Mr. Johnson was assailed,"
and of the method of his deliverance. This
view, however, is perfectly consistent with
the idea, that the progress of disease was
intimately connected with the dark hours,
126 THE LAST WEEK.
that cast their shadows over his soul. We
are fearfully and wonderfully made. The
maladies that vitiate our blood, and shatter
our nerves, make it impossible, sometimes,
for even the Christian of longest experience,
to find and enjoy his Beloved.
"New Yoek, Febraaiy 20, 1860.
"Rev. J. D. Wells:
^^Dear Brother : — ^In reply to your note
of the 13th inst., I will say, that I kept no
memorandum of my visits to the bed-side
of the lamented young Mr. Johnson. As
near as I recollect, the point of the tempta-
tion by which he was assailed, at the time
to which you refer, was, — that he had no
right to hope for heaven, as he had done
nothing for the Saviour on earth ; and that
it would be dishonourable for him to receive
in death, the mercy and salvation of that
God, whose claims he had disregarded in
DABX HOITRS. 127
fife; and this awakened in him the desire
to live long enough to do something for
^^I reminded him that faith is the Bible
condition of salvation, and not works ; and
that were he to live a thousand years, and
keep the commandments to the best of his
ability, still it would be necessary for him,
in order to be saved, to cast himself, as a
helpless sinner, by penitence and faith,
upon the mercy of God, through the merits
of Christ. I reminded him that he had
already done this, and had found pardon
and peace; and that he must continue to
rely upon Christ, alone, for salvation, for a
few hours longer, and he should be saved ;
for God had said, ^He that believeth shall
"This view of the plan of salvation
(which, in the hour of conflict, he had lost
sight of), seemed to break the force of the
128 THE LAST W'EK^.
temptation, and he was enabled to replace
Ids wavering faith upon the atonement, and
centre his hope of heaven upon his Re-
'^I then sought to engage his mind, by
quoting passages of Scripture, descriptive
of the sufferings of Christ, and his invita-
tions to the sinner, to share in the benefits
of those sacrificial sufferings. I also quoted,
slowly, and at intervals, as he was able to
listen, the hymn, beginning with ^ Jesus,
lover of my soul,' and at each succeeding
moment, the power of temptation was
weakened, and the power of faith increased,
until he was enabled firmly to trust, and
calmly to wait, for a happy immortality.
"Dear brother, I have no * suggestions'
to make. I was impressed, at the time of
the funeral, that, in your discourse, you
gave a faithful account of that dying seeker,
and a correct analysis of his experience.
BARK HOURS. 129
"I cannot question the propriety of giv-
ing pubUcity to this extraordinary case, in
•which the grace of God is so marvellously
"I doubt not, we coincide in the opinion,
that while many, if not most cases of
death-bed repentance, are deceptive, this
" Yours, in the fellowship of the gospel,
" E. L. Janes."
It was a great mercy to Davis that he
enjoyed the counsels of one skilled in the
blessed ministry of truth, in the time of
his distress. When told that he had only
to be willing to receive Christ as his Sa-
viour, and to rest upon Him alone for salva-
tion, he asked with great eagerness, as I
was informed by one who was present, " Is
that all?" and added immediately, ^^I am
willing, I am willing." And thus ended the
130 THK LAST WEEK.
temptation, never to be renewed. Again
the Beloved stood revealed at his side.
For a small moment He had forsaken His
young disciple, but with everlasting kind-
ness He returned to him again ; and taking
him to His arms, He carried him in His
bosom, as long as we were permitted to ac-
Till his death, Davis never regretted
these dark hours. They were often re-
ferred to; they gave him a profound and
affecting interest in the mysterious suffer-
ings of Christ on the cross, under the
weight of which he cried out : " Eloi, Eloi,
lama Sabachthani? which is, being inter-
preted. My God, My God, why hast thou
forsaken me ?"
They brought him into sympathy with a
multitude of believers, who have been com-
pelled to lament and confess with David,
Ps. xxxviiL 3, 4, " There is no soundness
DABK HOUBS. ISl
in my flesh, because of thine anger ; neither
is there any rest in my bones, because of
my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over
mine head ; as a heavy burden they are too
heavy for me."
But he could also add with them, in the
hour of his deliverance, Ps. xl. 1, 2, " I
waited patiently for the LORD, and he in-
clined unto me, and heard my cry. He
brought me up also out of a horrible pit,
out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon
a rock, and established my goings."
They gave him breadth of experience,
wonderfully increasing his capacity for re-
ceiving instruction and comfort from por-
tions of the Scriptures, which he could not
have understood, under the discipline of
physical suffering only.
There was no difficulty in his embracing
those humbling truths, which the natural
man receiveth not; the desperate wicked-
182 THS LAST WBBK.
ness of the heart ; the pollution of sin ; the
entire helplessness of the sinner; the ne-
cessity of our being sought and saved by
Christ, through the instrumentality of the
truth, and by the power of the Holy Ghost ;
and our absolute dependence upon the grace
of the Redeemer for every mementos con-
tinuance in the path of life.
When I reached the house, Davis had
come out of the conflict, and was resting on
Christ as before ; but he was suffering fear-
fully for want of breath, and from extreme
prostration and nervousness. He could not
bear to have a loud word spoken in the
room ; the powers of life sunk so low in a
few moments, that we thought him dying,
and he evidently thought himself, that he
was about to leave us.
" Put your arms round my neck," he said
to his mother; ^^take my head in your
arms, I am going to sleep. Good-bye
DABE HOUBS. ISS
father ; good-bye mother ; good-bye Lonny"
(his brother Alonzo), and thus he continued
till he had taken leave of every one present.
We all bade him good-bye, and commended
him to God in prayer. But he soon rallied
again, and continued to suffer indescribable
pains. Indeed the entire day was one of
agony for want of breath, his lungs being
partially paralyzed, and the paralysis con-
stantly extending ; and, in consequence of
this impaired respiration, he became so pros-
trated, as to suffer acutely from exhaus-
tion. " I am so tired, oh, I am so tired,"
he would exclaim, scores of times in succes-
sion, though without any signs of impa-
tience. Once, as he opened his mouth and
panted, his broad chest heaving in the effort
to get his lungs filled with air, he said, with
an expression of anguish never to be for-
gotten by those who saw it, ^' I would be
134 THE LAST WEEK.
willing to suffer again all that I have borne,
if I could get one good breath."
It was his earnest desire to be released
from his misery by death. " Is it wrong
for me, not to drink water when I want it ?"
he asked ; '^ I should die without it ; would
it be right for me to hasten my death in
this way ?" This question revealed at once
his agony, and his purpose to wait for
death. I need hardly say that the water
he drank, was always thrown from his
stomach in a few moments, as pure almost
as when he received it.
He was not unmindful, during this day
of ineffable distress, of the kind offices of
those who ministered to his necessities. ^^ I
thank you !" he exclaimed, calling some of
us by name ; " it was very wicked in me,
not to think of it before."
My record of this interview, made at the
time, closed with these words: "I could
DABK HOURS. 135
write a volume almost from the experience
of to-day, from 5 o'clock in the morning till
half past one o'clock in the afternoon, when
I left to return to-night."
At this distance of time, I shall not trust
my memory to add to the account already
given, but proceed with the record made of
his last night.
FSIDAT NIGBT, JULY M.
"She iutnuft ot '^UUftlan"
"Bkhold tht son. * * * Behold tht Mother."
JESUS ON THE Csofls.
PtafreiT 10 mg l^ome;
S^ort is mg ptigrtmage,
P^aben b mg l^omt;
Khne'0 colb aitb fDtntrg blasts
Soon bill be ober past,
I 0)^11 reacl^ l^ome at Ia0t»
ytabtn 10 mg l^omt/'
It was my great privilege to be with
Davis during the whole of this night, and
until eleven o'clock Saturday morning.
There were three other watchers; and
some idea of his physical condition may be
formed from the fact, that it required the
undivided attention of four men to minister
to him. Two had charge of his arms, and
two were needed to care for his head and
The entire night was spent in extreme
suffering. Occasionally, it became neces-
sary to raise his head, that the air might
pass between it and the pillow, to cool the
burning heat, and give a moment's relief to
140 THE LAST WEEK.
the dislocated neck. But this was a work
of great difficulty, requiring the combined
skill and efforts of all the watchers, with
the consent and direction of the sufferer
The scene, precisely as it was then en-
acted, has often presented itself to my mind
since that night. I have thought of the
labor it cost us, to mitigate for a moment,
and to the least degree, the distress of our
dying friend. I have thought, too, of the
rich man's request, that Lazarus might be
sent from the bosom of Abraham, to dip the
tip of his finger in water, and cool his
tongue. It has seemed to me very dread-
ful to bear, or even witness, the sufferings
of the present time, when all that medical
skill, and the tenderest devotion of love,
can do for their relief, is faithfully done.
And yet, Jesus bids us not to fear the suf-
ferings of time ; not to fear even those ene-
THE FURNACE OF AFFIiICtlON. 141
mies that have power to kill the body, and
after that, have no more that they can do.
But, at the same time, He forewarns us
whom we shall fear, " Fear Him," He says,
" who, after He hath killed, hath power to
cast into hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear
I beg the reader to look thoughtfully on
this scene, remembering that the principal
person in it is a beloved child of God, and
most dear to many hearts, for his own sake,
and for Christ's sake. He asks us to move
his head. Immediately every watcher
takes his appointed place. One stands at
each side, to raise the arm and shoulder.
Another kneels at his tead, with his hands
gently, but firmly, thrust down almost to
the fracture in the neck. The fourth is
ready for any service to which he may be
called. And now the word is given by the
sufierer himself. He needs great fortitude,
142 THB LABT WEEK.
great confidence in his attendants, and,
above all, great trust in his Saviour, to give
it, for he is' sure to suffer, and may die in
our hands. But, with a cheerful voice,
that helps us in our work, he says, deliber-
ately, " Now lift," at the same time yielding
himself to us. If we begin precisely to-
gether, and do not change the relative posi-
tion of his head and body, we succeed in
raising him so far, that his pillow can be
drawn carefully out and turned, while the
fan is used to relieve, for a moment, the
great heat of his head and neck. And
then, with the utmost caution, he is allowed
to sink down to his place again.
Does the reader imagine, that he could
be in such a case, with no hope or possibil-
ity of relief, just about to encounter the
King of terrors, and yet carry forward, suc-
cessfully, the neglected work of seeking
Ghrist and salvation ?
THS FUBNACE OF AFFLICTION. 148
But look, stm further, at the sufferings
of Davis, as the last long night given him
for the trial of his hopes, wore away.
There was intense wakefulness, an entire
inability to sleep, with the feeling that the
power of thinking, was beyond his control.
There was no mental aberration; but the
stimulus supplied the brain seemed to be
excessive, and the mind could get no re-
pose. There was no perceptible relief,
even during the " sinking turns," when his
pulse was a flutter, and the soul seemed
ready to depart.
Again, at intervals, there were spasms of
extreme sensibility in the wrists and palms
of the hands. For the most part during
this last night, the sensation in his arms
and hands was that of numbness ; they felt
as if they were asleep, and it was a great
relief to have them rubbed and pressed
with the hand, and sometimes very briskly
144 THE LAST WEEK.
excited with a stijQT flesh brash. Bat in an
instant, and freqaently^ the shattered nerves
losing their partial insensibility^ became so
sensitive as not to bear the slightest toach.
Besides this, there was the ever increasing
agony of impeded respiration. Paralysis
was creeping throagh the langs, and shat-
ting oat the vital air, so that the safferer was
forced to distend his mouth to the utmost,
gasping and panting for breath, and often
crying out in the greatness of his agony.
Nor was this all. I have spoken before,
of the prostration of strength consequent
upon his inability to inflate his lungs ; this
steadily increased till the piteous exclama-
tion: "Oh, I am so tired," was repeated
hundreds of times.
And still further, there was the aching
of his shoulders, and sometimes acute pains
in his neck, so fearfully fractured.
, And to all this there must be added, rag-
THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION. 145
ing thirst, that could not be slaked. We
were giving him iced water at short inter-
vals all night, and removing the cloths upon
which it was thrown shortly after he had
Here, then, was a remarkable combination
of distresses, any one of which was enough
to tax the powers of human endurance to
the utmost. Nothing but the pleasant as-
surance of the sufferer's union to Christ, and
nearness to heaven, enabled us to witness
his agony with composure. But as the case
stood, I watched all his changing symptoms,
as well as the attitude of his mind towards
the Saviour, with an interest amounting al-
most to fascination. It was really wonder-
ful, to witness the conflict between the vital
power in his noble frame, and death. Again
and again, when the victory seemed about
to be gained by the destroyer, he was
driven away, and life reigned once more,
146 THB LAST WEEK.
enthroned, to appearance, as firmly as
But I must speak of other things that
occupied our attention, during the night.
Davis was tenderly devoted to his mother.
He loved to have her near him. Indeed,
she was the only person that he would
allow, to sit or * stand before him for any
time, looking into his face. He shrunk in-
stinctively from being a spectacle to be
gazed at, either in pity or wonder ; and he
more than once requested persons to leave
the room, or go behind him ; but always in
such a way as to give no offence. And yet,
as often as his mother appeared, his beauti-
ful face beamed with pleasure. No hands
were so pleasant about his face, as hers.
But his delight in her was so unselfish, that
he would not consent to her remaining long
with him at a time. She was much worn
by constant watching, and needed rest. As
THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION. 147
often, therefore, as he sent her away from
his presence into the adjoining room, he ex-
torted the promise, that she would lie down
and try to sleep. At the same time he
promised to send for her, when he wished
her to come to his bed-side.
This was his own arrangement for the
night. And, four times I think, before the
day broke, he asked that she might be
called. On each of these occasions we
were compelled to witness the same affect-
ing scene, retreating as far as possible to
hide our tears, and prevent his hearing our
sobs. When his mother came in, he im-
mediately asked her to put her head down
and kiss him, not waiting for her to do it
of her own accord. He seemed to be eager
for this embrace of pure love. At the
same time he requested us to lift his arms,
and put them around his mother ; for, though
they still retained a measure of sensibility
148 THE LAST WEEK.
and obeyed his wiU, it was too great a trial
of his strength to move them far. And
holding her in his anns, he would kiss her
lips again and again, as if drinking thus the
very love of her heart. " Oh, if you could
could go with me," he said at one of these
interviews, "how sweet to be together."
And then, rallying, before the thought of
their temporary separation had become
overwhelming to her and himself, he added :
" Never mind, it won't be long."
Each of these interviews was marked by
the utmost cheerfulness on his part ; he did
not shed a tear; and for his sake, his mother
was enabled to repress her emotions, so as
not to weep ; but we who were of necessity
witnesses of the scene, were compelled to
weep like children. Nor was it easy to
recover our self-possession after they were
separated, because of his frank declaration
of filial love, " Oh, I do love my mother
THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION. 149
SO ;" words that seemed to be his apology
to us for the tax he could not but see he
was imposing upon our sensibilities.
It may be properly mentioned in this
connection, as a mark of his good breeding
not only, but of his delicate Christian sensi'-
bility, that he was very mindful of the
attention shown him.
At one time, as I was wiping his face,
and removing cloths, upon which he had
thrown water from his mouth, he said : " It
is very kind in you to do this for me — ^it
must be very unpleasant." I assured him,
that it was far otherwise, that I accounted it
a great privilege to be with him, and to do
anything for his relief; and then I reminded
him that Jesus washed His disciples' feet.
This last suggestion strongly arrested his
attention, and aiforded him a subject of
He could not bear much conversation
150 THE LAST WEEK.
during this last night of his life. For this
reason, it was only now and then that any-
thing was said to him directly upon the
subject of his relations to the Saviour, and
his prospects for the eternal future. But
he was uniformly calm. He watched, with
the liveliest interest, the state of his pulse,
and all the indications of the approach of
Once he lifted up his arms as high as he
could, and cried out (for he was in great
agony), "Oh, that He would let me put
my arms around His neck, and come to
Him now." I asked, "Do you mean the
Saviour, Davis ?" " Of course, I do," was
his quick, and very emphatic answer. This
cry to the Saviour was wholly spontaneous.
It was prompted by nothing said to him;
and it occurred when we did not know
that his thoughts were occupied with any-
thing but his sufferings. Even then, he
THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION. 161
-was looking unto Jesus, gazing steadfastly
into heaven. To his faith, the Lord of
glory was a real, living, and accessible Per-
son, with His two natures inseparable. He
could not quite reach Him with his ex-
tended arms, or he would have embraced
Him in the holy familiarity of a love surpass-
ing the love he had for his mother. But
he could, and did stretch out his arms,
those poor arms, in which so much of the
life in his dying body remained, and ask
that the Saviour would let him come home
And his cry was heard.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, JULY S8.
Jaitltifut ttttto §tsith,
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thxb
A o&owN OF life/* JESUS in globt.
**Sa tIo»«Ig are fee link'b irt lobe,
Sia fe^ollg oire feitl^ f l^ee, .
Sl^t all Thy bliss anb glorg i\jm,
Our brigl^t refearb sball be/'
At eleven o'clock a.m., I very reluc-
tantly left Davis, to get some rest, prepara-
tory to my work on the Sabbath. As I
parted with him, I kissed him good-bye,
and told him how unwillingly I went. The
reader must indulge the freedom of my
narrative. I was parting with one who, I
believed, had become, through grace, an
heir of glory, and a beloved brother, an
eternal brother in Christ. It was, there-
fore, grateful to my feelings, to greet him
with "a kiss of charity," and to have him
assure me, that he fully appreciated the
necessity for my absence; and, the more
so, because he had expressed a desire to
156 THE LAST WEEK..
die, having his mother and father and my-
self with him.
Leaving the request, that I might be
sent for immediately, when the change
came, I withdrew, admiring, and, I hope,
adoring the matchless grace that had
abounded towards this dear young man,
through Jesus Christ. I could not but
review the known history of God's dealings
with him. The first fact, in that short
history, has not been given. It was re-
ferred to on an earlier page (page 4J), but
reserved for this place.
It was this. On Monday, preceding
the Saturday of his fatal injury, Davis
visited his mother. Drawing a low otto-
man near her, he sat down at her feet, and
resting his head in her lap, as he was wont
to do, he said, "What do you suppose
brought me over?"
"You wanted to see your mother, I pre-
sume," was the natural answer.
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. 157
"No!" he said, "that is not just it. I
went to church last night, in Brooklyn, and
heard some of the old hymns and tunes,
that we used to sing when we were all to-
gether, in our own church. This made me
feel very solemn. I thought a great deal
about you. I was in such a hurry to see
you, that I could hardly wait for the day
to pass. Are you going out to-night ?"
His mother asked if he wished her to go
out with him ; when he answered, " Oh no !
I want you to stay home, that we may be
alone and talk."
This was their last evening together,
before he was brought home to die. They
had much conversation on the subject, so
eagerly introduced by himself. He could
hardly tell what it was in the hymns and
tunes that moved him, except that the
associations of earlier years, when the
family were together, and all worshipped
15B THE LAST WEEK.
in the same sanctuary, were powerfully
But there was something more than this.
Later inquiry has led to the knowledge of
the facts. On the night referred to — Sab-
bath, July 12 — ^Davis heard a very impres-
sive sermon, in a Baptist church, on the
subject of Death and Eternity.
It was observed, by the Christian friends
with whom he sat, that he was unusually
attentive and serious throughout the entire
service. They spoke of this to each other^
several days before he was hurt.
His interest in the service was at its
height, I presume, when some familiar
hymns were sung to favourite tunes, which
he had loved to sing, in other circumstances.
It was natural, therefore, that his mind
should fasten upon that part of the service,
in which he had come to the consciousness
of serious thought, and that he should speak
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. 159
to his mother, of that only. But the truth
was, he had been deeply impressed by the
word of God. The faithful instructions
received in the family, and in the Sabbath
School of the Reformed Protestant Dutch
Church, of which his father was long a
Ruling Elder, and his mother a member,
had prepared him for the awakening, of
which, though he knew it not, he was the
subject. In anticipation of his last terrible
week, appointed for the development and
consummation of the work of grace in his
heart, he was aroused to serious thought
about death and eternity. And so thorough
and abiding was the arrest God had laid
upon liim, that six days after, he was car-
rying out his plan, not only to put himself,
again, under the same sanctuary influences,
but to take his younger brother with him.
To this fact, of earlier date than the facts
of my narrative, I am sure, thoughtful
160 THE LAST WEEK.
minds will attach great importance. It was
distinctly before my mind, as I reviewed
the dispensations of God's providence and
grace towards Davis, on the occasion of my
leaving him, shortly before his death. In-
deed, it was the first, and a principal fact,
in the review. I regarded it as the reve-
lation of a plan of mercy, in which both
the severity and goodness of God, towards
a child of the covenant, had been wonder-
fully illustrated. From Saturday night, till
Wednesday noon, he had lain, most of the
time, consciously exposed to the wi'ath of
God. No arguments, or assurance, could
convince him that there was any possibility
of his escaping the righteous punishment of
his sins. For a few hours, on Wednei^day
morning, he had given himself up to the
fatal and cheerless delusion, that, after
enduring the torments of the lost in hell,
he knew not how long, he might be released
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. 161
from prison, through the mercy of God,
reaching him in some unrevealed way, and
received into heaven. But prayer was
made without ceasing for him, and the
mighty truths of the gospel, Christ, the
wisdom of God, and the power of God, to
every one that believeth, were used to save
him from death.
Such was the rapid review. And I was
now leaving him, as I fully believed, and as
many sober-minded Christians, and Chris-
tian ministers believed, a living member of
Christ's body, a child and heir of God. He
was just at the end of his earthly course ;
but he was also close to the gates of the
Eternal City. His hope had been tried by
fierce temptations and fearful pains. The
'graces of the Holy Spirit had been wonder-
fully matured in his heart, and illustrated in
his short Christian life, and many persons
had been led to glorify God on his behalf.
162 THE LAST WEEK.
Why should I not then rejoice over him,
with unspeakable joy ? I gave myself up
to the tide of emotions, that poured through
my heart, and, — ^if it be a weakness to weep
in such circumstances, — to the weakness of
I had hardly slept when the final mes-
sage to make haste, if I wished to see
Davis alive, reached me at half past two
o'clock, p. M.
He was dying. Already his countenance
was changed, and his eyes shut forever
upon the countenances of his friends. In
the terrible conflict, that we had watched
so closely for a whole week, death was
getting the victory, but we all deeply felt
that the sting of death, which is sin, had
been extracted by his Lord, and that he
was gaining a safe and glorious triumph.
He retained his hold upon Christ, up to
the last moment of consciousness, remain-
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. 163
ing calm, and collected, and trustful. There
were no clouds. His last words^were, "I
AM IN A STRANGE PLACE; WHERE HAVE YOU
TAKEN ME? I MUST GET HOME.*' And thuS,
in the utterance of a sentiment, ever true
in regard to the heirs of salvation, his mind
let go its hold upon earthly things.
He died at 3 o'clock, p. m., of Saturday
the 25th of July, 1857; his father holding
his right hand, and his mother his left hand,
while it was my privilege to support his
He did not know, perhaps, that his wish,
with regard to the circumstances ' of his
death, was gratified. I was thankful to be
be so near him ; and I here record my gra-
titude for the unspeakable privilege of
walking with this suffering member of the
Redeemer's body, through all his Christian
course, and quite down to the river of
SABBATH, JT7LT 28.
** d Death 1 wheke is thy sting t
GkAYeI WHEKE is thy VIOTOEYf
**(§db, mg liebeenur, lite,
gittb often from i\t skits
ITooks bobti nnb foalcljes all m^ bitst,
Sill \it $\vH hib it riflc.
^rragtb in glorions grate,
Sl^all tljesc bile bobies sl^ine;
^ttb eberg sljape nnb eberg face,
3fooh l^eabtttlg aiib bibine/'
The post-mortem examination was made
on Sabbath morning, by the same eminent
surgeons who had done everything possible
to human skill, to save the life of Davis.
The result is given in their own words,
as written by the lamented Dr. Isaacs. To
this report of the examination, I think,
great importance should be attached; not
only because the injury itself was one of
rare occurrence, but also and more par-
ticularly, because every one can see how
marvellous it was, that death did not follow
the injury on the instant.
168 THE LAST WEEK.
^^Post Mortem Examination of the Body of
Davis Johnson, Jr,
"July, 26th, 1867.
" The sixth Cervical Vertebra being the
seat of the injury,
" We found a small amount of extravasat-
ed blood between the muscles, and also on
the outer surface of the laminae of the verte-
bra. A fracture extended on each side of the
spinous process through the laminae of the
vertebra three-fourths of an inch, so as to
separate the spinous process and a large
portion of the laminae of the vertebra, con-
stituting a separate portion, which was
forced in upon the spinal cord to the depth
of three-sixteenths of an inch,
" No blood was extravasated within the
" On opening the dura mater, the cord
appeared enlarged, softened, slightly dis-
SOWN IN CORRUPTION. 169
coloured, and contained minute points of
" On examining the body of the vertebra,
it was broken through and comminuted,
being divided into three separate portions."
Thus it appears that the injured vertebra
was broken into three principal parts, and
that one at least of these three parts was
"comminuted," or broken into smaller pieces.
Who does not wonder that he lived a
whole week, and such a week ! God had
given him a remarkable frame, more per-
fectly developed than any other I ever saw,
of the same years. It "was overflowing with
life ; and not till the end for which it was
made had been secured, could he die. Then
the fountains of his nature were suddenly
broken up, and in a few moments his soul
was poured out unto death.
The funeral services were at the house in
Washington Place, where a prayer was
170 THE LAST WEEK.
offered among the mourners by the Rev.
Mr. Janes; and also at the Presbyterian
Church, corner of South Third and Fifth
Streets, where the same faithful brother
kindly assisted me.
A simple narrative of the principal facts
in the experience of Davis, was given to a
very large assembly ; and these facts,
viewed in the light of God's word, were
used for the comfort of mourners ; the
warning of those not reconciled to God,
and especially of those to whom Davis
had sent messages of wamirig ; and for the
instruction of all. The change wrought in
his condition, his character, and his prospects
for ^eternity, was claimed as a triumph of
Christianity; a change impossible, except
to the grace and power of the Holy Ghost,
working faith in the sinner's heart, and
thereby uniting his person to the Person of
Christ in his effectual calling. And this
SOTTN IN CORRUPTION. 171
change was shown to have occurred in con-
nection with the persistent use of the Scrip-
tures, and the fervent intercessions of God's
It was an impressive sight when that
great congregation was set in motion, and
passed in solemn procession by the open
coffin, to look upon the beautiful features
of the dead. More than half an hour was
spent in this way, and many tears were
dropped, even by those who had no personal
connexion or acquaintance with Davis and
It was our common wish to postpone the
interment of the body until Monday morn-
ing, leaving it in the church over night.
But this was found impracticable, because
of incipient and rapid decomposition, and
we were compelled to carry the remains at
once to Greenwood. Already the face,
upon the faithful representative of which
172 THE LAST WEEK.
you have looked in the front of this
volume, was growing dark with corruption.
We were glad that God had provided a
place in the bosom of the earth, where we
might bury our dead; but none of our
hopes, which sustained us at the parting,
were buried with him. We believe that
the soul of our beloved, made perfect in
holiness, passed immediately into glory,
and that his body being still united to
Christ, rests in the grave until the resur-
As in our husbandry, that which we sow
is not quickened, except it die, so in God's.
First the dying, and then the quickening, of
the seed. We mourn at the graves of our
friends, though we are sure they are fallen
asleep in Jesus. But we remember to our
joy, that the decay, the beginning of which
we see before the burial, is the pledge of a
glorious harvest ; it is the dying, that pre-
SOWN IN CORRUPTION. 173
cedes and promises the quickening. We
wait#tf, therefore, hopefully, till in the same
resurrection of life, all that are Christ's,
shall come from the sea and the grave, in
the perfected likeness of their Lord.
We go home from the grave to witness
and feel, the desolation of death. If time
does not blunt the edge of our sorrow, the
balm of the Comforter heals our wounds,
and we learn after long years of patience
under the rod of our Father, that He is
pursuing the best, if not the only way, to
bring us to Himself.
Wht Woift n( WarttittiT.
"He BEINO DEADf TET SPEAKETH." PaUL.
**ffo-bH5 — ^tl^g merrg ^tnxt mag frast
#K fe«rb, nnh frnit, anb birb, anb hast;
80-morrofo — spitt of all t^ glee,
ff^c feuiigrg borms mag feast on tl^ee.
'* Kfl-moiToln ! mortal, boast not t^ou
#f time anb tibe tl^at are not nobil
^nt t^ink, in one rebolbtng bag,
a^^at e'en t^gself mag pass abag."
It seemed to me a very serious thing,
that I had been entrusted by Davis, with a
tender and solemn warning for his asso-
ciates. Many of them were present at the
funeral service, and heard the words of his
affecting message. But I feared that even
they might have heard with distracted
minds ; while others, who were not present,
might never hear, unless I could speak to
them separately, man by man.
I was thus led, after corresponding with
one of the officers of the "Atlantic Mutual
Insurance Company," — ^who cordially ap-
proved of the plan, and assumed the ex-
pense of carrying it out, — to prepare a
178 THE LAST WEEK.
letter, to be printed and given to each of
the young gentlemen with whom Davis was
associated in business. This letter was not
distributed as a circular, but sent as a com-
munication directly from myself; and I
believe it reached every person for whom it
was prepared. It is now pubUshed below,
in the hope that God may own it as the
instrument of good to some who have never
seen it, and that in this way, at least,
Davis, though dead, may yet speak to the
"Brewster's Station, Putnam Co., N. Y.,
"August 6th, 1867.
"Mt Dear Sir:
" The death of your late associate in the
oflGice (Davis Johnson, Jr.), has thrown up-
on me a sacred duty, which I hasten to dis-
charge, though absent from home. K Davis
had left only a farewell message for you, —
words of kind remembrance and long adieu.
THE VOICE OF WARNING. 179
charging me with his message,— regard for
the living and the dead, would prompt me
to bear it to you as soon as possible.
^^But the case is far more urgent and
affecting. I wish it were in my power to
tell you, face to face, what I must make
known very imperfectly, in this way. Davis
did not forget you; nor did he think of
earthly ties only, and the sudden interrup-
tion of the relations between you and him-
self. On the borders of eternity, and
aroused to intense thoughtfulness on sub-
jects in which he had felt but little interest
through life, he was deeply concerned to
have you see the things that he saw, and
think as he thought, of the relative impor-
tance of time and eternity. Hence the
solemn and earnest message with which he
entrusted me, and which I beg you to re-
ceive as from the lips and heart of your
dying companion :
180 THE LAST WEEK.
^^^TeU them J he said, Ho take warning
from me. Tell them not to put off preparon
turn for deathy for they know not the hour
when the Son of Man cometh. I might have
been killed in an instant. Only think of the
mercy of the Lord to me; hut they may not
have time to prepare for deaths And then
he continued : 'I have often been to funeraU
and heard what was spoken^ just as I have
heard preaching in the churchy without caring
to understand and remember!
"You catch his idea. He was afraid his
message might come to you in vain. He
knew from experience the greatness of your
danger, and therefore alluded to himself.
And let me add, that, in sending this mes-
sage, he was moved to tears. It is due as
well to him as yourselves, that I mention,
briefly, the circumstances in which his
thoughts were turned to his associates in
THE VOICE OF WARNING. 181
"He was injured, you know, in the eve-
ning of Saturday, July 18th. Up to Wed-
nesday morning following, he was in great
mental anguish. His physical distress,
from the nature of his injuries, must have
been inexpressibly great ; but the agony of
his mind was greater. He felt and said,
when first told that his life was in danger,
that he could not die. He bitterly lamented
his sins, and, when urged to pray, replied,
that he could not pray, for God knew that
nothing but his danger would prompt him
to cry for mercy. He condemned himself,
and justified God without any qualification,
owning that he was lost for ever, and de-
served to perish. This he said of his own
accord, speaking without reserve of his
whole life as a life of sin. ^For twenty
years,' he said, with anguish depicted in
his face, ^I have sinned against God in
thought and feeling, in word and act, and it
182 THE LAST WEEK.
is not possible for me to be saved.' I men-
tion this particularly, that you may mark
the change in his estimate of his own char-
acter, and see, with him, how little it avails
in our approach to eternity, to have the
approbation of the world; and also that
you may learn the true meaning and value
of his dying message.
"I must add, however, that having the
common and fatal notion that he must do
something to please God, and make Elm
willing to forgive his innumerable sins, and
knowing that he had no time for this, Davis
was thrown into the depths of despair. It
seemed impossible to get his eye fixed upon
the Saviour. Many that loved him were
chiefly anxious for this. His physicians,
and some of his friends from your office, I
know, were of this number. It was not
till Wednesday, however, that he was en-
abled to look steadily, and with hope^ to
THE VOICE OF WARNING. 183
the Lord Jesus Christ. In the forenoon of
that day, he discovered (there is reason to
believe) that eternal life is the gift of God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, and that
God can be just in justifying the ungodly
who believe in Jesus. And need I tell
you, that this wonderful discovery, which
no one can make without the illumination
of the Holy Spirit, was connected with
instant relief to his mind ? He was cheered
with hope, and had great peace, with very
few interruptions, from that time till he
died on Saturday, the 25th of July. For
an hour or two on Friday morning, his soul
was in great darkness; but he emerged
from it joyfully, when he discovered again
that the Saviour was able and willing to
deliver him from his sins, and that he had
only to put his trust in Him. The fear of
death was taken away, and even when the
last hope of recovery was cut off, he re-
184 THE LAST WEEK.
mained calm, though all around him were
melted to tears.
"Now, my dear sir, it was at the inter-
view I had with your fellow-clerk, after the
surgeons had decided that nothing could
save, or greatly prolong his life, and when
he knew that he must die, that he thought
and spoke, of you and your associates ; and
though he did not weep for himself, he did
weep for those to whom he sent words of
warning and entreaty. His message was
dictated amid tears of tenderness and anx-
iety. And he did not send it by me alone.
I, myself, heard him say to one of your
own number, ministering kindly at his bed-
side : ' C , talk to the boys in the office,
when you get a chance, won't you ?' And
I know that he left a message with one of
the officers of the company for you. This
shows a mind intent upon your good. He
earnestly desired your salvation.
THE VOICE OP WARNING. 185
"In conclusion, therefore, I beg you to
hear his voice. Though dead, he yet
speaketh. His words are words of sober-
ness and truth. And can you doubt that
the hand of God was in his sudden removal,
and that the mercy of God sends back to
you from his lips, and from the very sha-
dows of eternity, a call to penitence and
faith. If you believe already, you will
hear this message of your brother, as the
voice of your Master, calling you to watch-
fulness and prayer. Look at the vacant
place from which Davis has gone for ever,
and recall his solemn and earnest words,
and look with him unto Jesus, who asks,
and deserves, your confidence and love.
Do not think me officious, dear sir, if I add,
with a profound conviction of the impor-
tance of the counsel, and an earnest desire
for your salvation: Search the Scriptures;
pray in secret; remember the Sabbath day,
186 THE LAST WEEK.
to keep it holy ; reverence the aanctttary;
believe on the Lord Jesus Christy and thou
shalt be saved. He that believeth on Him is
not condemned: he that believeth not is con-
demned already^ because he hath not believed
in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
"I shall be very happy to conimumcate
with you further, if you wish it, either by
letter, or at my house, No. 92 South Third
Street, Williamsburgh, L. I.
" Sincerely yours,
"J. D. Wells."
Results are with God. To us it is given,
in imitation of our Master, to work the
works of Him that sent us, while it is day.
The divine promises are our heritage, and
they never fail. " Cast they bread upon the
waters, for thou shalt find it after many
days." " He that goeth forth and weepeth,
bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come
THE VOICE OP WARNING. 187
again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves
with him." It is pleasant to " come" soon,
after the sowing. But the joy of this
harvest, is mingled with fear, and marred
by frequent disappointments. We must
wait, in hope, for the harvest at the end of
the world. Then we shall enter into the
joy of our Lord, the joy that He has, as
Lord of the garnered harvest, and learn
something of the meaning, hid now, in the
wonderful words : " And they that be wise
shall shine as the brightness of the firma-
ment, and they that turn many to right-
eousness, as the stars for ever and ever."
The letter that follows may prove inter-
esting to the reader, as indicating a gracious
willingness on the part of God to use very
humble agency in saving souls ; and also, as
furnishing some evidence, that the death of
Davis is one of the countless instrumentali-
188 THE LAST WEEK.
ties^ by which Jesus will gather His people
to Himself :
"IfKW YoEK, June 1, 1868,
"Reverend and Deab Sm:
" It is now little less than a year, since
the occurrence of the painful and fatal acci-
dent to our mutual young friend, Davis
"Scarcely a day has passed since that
event, that he has not been brought to
mind ; sometimes by the course of circum-
stances in business, and sometimes invo-
luntarily. His thorough and happy ex-
perience, and his final and glorious triumph
in Christ, were scenes never to be forgotten.
Even now his dying injunction rings in my
ears : ^ Tell them to be careful, very care-
ful, for they know not what a day nor au
hour may bring forth/
" You doubtless have wondered that you
have neither seen nor heard from me, since
THE VOICE OF WARNING. 189
we parted at his grave ; but, sir, though I
have been pressed with the cares of busi-
ness, almost incessantly, the whole year
(which must be my apology for this seem-
ing neglect), yet it has been pleasant to me
to recall to mind often, your kind and
earnest efforts for the salvation of my loved
" It will be gratifying to you to know, that
the lesson taught by that dispensation of
God, aided by your prayers, and that well
directed and impressive circular, has done
good work amongst the young gentlemen in
our company ; * * * * ^ * * *
and I am happy to add that several of them
axe inquiring the way to Christ.
" I contemplate the pleasure of soon call-
ing upon you.
" Respectfully, your friend and obedient
servant, Charles Dennis.
**Rbv. J. D. Wells, Brooklyn, K D.**
190 THE LAST WEEK.
This letter is published with the approval
of the author, who wishes, with me, to
throw all the light that God has been
pleased to give, upon the dispensation of
His providence, to which it refers.
And now, with this same' end in view,
I close the present chapter by directing
attention to an important and interesting
During all the earlier years of his life,
and nearly to its close, Davis was under the
influence of the truths as taught in the
standards, and from the pulpits of the Re-
formed Protestant Dutch Church.
About a fortnight before his death, he was
powerfully arrested, and made to think of
death nnd eternity, under the ministry of a
servant of Christ, connected with the Bap-
tist Church. But it should be noticed, that
in this first awakening, he was deeply con-
THE VOICE OF WARNING. 191
scious of the influence of early instruction
A week before his death, and after God
had broken him in pieces, making him
"A wonder, tortured in the space
Betwixt this world, aiid that of gi'ace,"
he was brought under the personal in-
fluence, and instruction, chiefly of two minis-
ters of Christian denominations, diflfering
from each other, and also from those men-
tioned before ; the one a Methodist, and the
other a Presbyterian.
Jesus said : " He that reapeth receiveth
wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal ;
that both he that soweth, and he that
reapeth, may rejoice together." And Paul
said, speaking by the Holy Ghost, " So then
neither is he that planteth anything, neither
he that watereth ; but God that giveth the
increase." And in the discovery and love
of these sweet truths. Christians of every
192 THE LAST WEEK.
name must rejoice more and more^ as they
are made conscious of their oneness in
Christ, and of their joint agency in the
salvation of men, under Christ their
"The children of tht seevants shall continue, and
Tbb Holt Ghost.
THBIB SEED SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BBFOBE THEE."
*'Sob, in i^t morn, tl^ setb,
^t tbt, ^olb xxot t^g i^Hnb;
So bonbt anb fear gibt t^ou no ^teb,
Uroab-cast it ronnb ll^e hnb.
C^on tnntA not toil in bain;
Colb, btat, aub moist, aitb brg,
S^all foster anb mature t^c grain,
<#or garners in t^e skg."
It is no part of my plan to write a bio-
graphy of Davis. Of the last week only in
his short life, I thought it my duty to
speak particularly. But some readers may
wish to know a little about his childhood.
For these I add a few paragraphs, in a clos-
He was the fifth son of Davis and
Catharine Johnson, well known as residents
of Williamsburgh, for many years. Here
Davis was bom, September 10 thy ^37.
Love, filial and fraternal, was one of the
earliest and sweetest signs of promise in
his nature. When he came to his mother's
feet, on Monday night, July 13th 1857,
196 THE LAST WEEK.
and putting his head into her lap, told her
the new thoughts of his soul; and when,
on Friday night, July 24th — the last night
of his life — he repeatedly folded her to his
heart, forgetting his pangs in her presence,
he was constrained by a love that had
grown with his growth, from the tenderest
years of his childhood.
The same may be said of the love that
prompted his visit to Williamsburgh on
Saturday, the 18th of July, and also the
arrangements for my second interview with
him on Tuesday, the 21st of July. He was
yearning ever a brother, whom he had loved
from the first, and loved to the last, with a
beautiful and a reciprocated love.
We have seen him maintaining the kind
and thoughtful consideration of a gentleman,
through all the days of his last week. This
was because he had grown from childhood,
into the habit of showing a proper regard
for his obKgations to others. On being re-
proved, at the age of three and a half years,
for saying at the table, "I want some
bread," he instantly added, "Oh, I quite
forgot, I'll thank you for some bread."
He was truthful from a child ; and hence
the testimony already given by his friend,
who took him, when wearing a round-about,
into the service of the Atlantic Mutual
Insurance Company, and loved him to the
end, '^I could always rely on his word."
His truthfulness, as one who knew him
thoroughly, suggested, was- not, perhaps,
so much due to his fear of God, as to his
pride. He was too proud to lie ; he thought
it unmanly and cowardly, as it is certainly
And this suggests his independence of
character. He was high-spirited and chiv-
alrous, and not disposed to lean upon
others. At a very early age, after entering
198 THE LAST WEEK.
on a business life, he insisted upon meeting
his own expenses. And quite in keeping
with this, he set his eye upon a mark far
above any to which he was supposed to be
looking, and pursued it steadily, and with
great energy and success.
When he was eight years old, he went
by permission and in company with an older
brother, to bathe in the East River. Owing
to some untoward circumstance, he lost his
self-control, and sunk beneath the water.
A gentleman, looking from a window at the
instant, sprang through it, and pushing a
boat from the shore, reached him, just as
he was sinking the third time. And thus,
in another way, the early youth of Davis,
was a prophecy of later years. He received
his " mortal hurt" in the same waters, and
not far from the same spot.
And one thing more. As he lay sick,
from his exposure in the water on the occa-
sion referred to, he received from the vener-
able, and still living superintendent of the
Sabbath School, to which he belonged, a
Bible, as a reward for the recitation of
many verses of the Scriptures. The pre-
cious seed of that early sowing did not
mature, till he lay broken and dying, from
his second exposure to the "perils of
And now the harvest for him has ended.
The fruits of righteousness, brought to per-
fection in his nature under the heavenly
culture, are all garnered.
The work was God's, and the glory shall
" And I heard a voice from heaven, say-
ing unto me : Write. Blessed are the dead
that die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea,
saith the Spirit, that they may rest from
their labours, and their works do follow
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Jessy Allan, the Lame Gibl. .
Life of a Vagrant.
Written by Himsel£ 18mo. . . . .
Light for the Line.
By the author of " Life op Capt. Vioabs." . 25
Lighted Valley, The.
Or, The Life of a Beloved Sisteb. . . .60
Little Annie's First and Second Books.
2 vols. Illustrated- ''S
Little Lessons for Little Learners.
Bytha author of "John Halifax." . . . 60
By the author of "Uhclb Jack." 18mo. . . 30
Living to Christ.
A MOTHBR^B MEXOBIAL OF A DaTTOHTBR. . . 40
Lyman, Rev. Henry.
MmioiB op; or, The Martyr of Sumatra. 12mo. 1 00
MoDuir, Rev. John R., D.D.
MORKING AND NlQHT WATCHKS. 16m0. . 60
The Footsteps op St. Paul. 12mo. Elustrated. 1 00
The "Words op Jesus. 16mo 40
The Mind of Jesus, 16mo 40
The Words and Mind op Jesus, in one voL . 60
Family Prayers. 16mo "JS
Woodcutter op Lebanon and Exiles op Luoerna. 60
The Great Journey ; An Allegory. . .30
Little Child's Book op Divinity. . . .26
Eybnino Incense. 16mo. ...>.. 40
Faithful Promiser and Altar Stones. . . 26
Mehoribs op Bethany. 16mo 60
Memories op Gennesaret. 12mo. . 1 00
The Bow in the Cloud, and the First Be-
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The Story OP Bethlehem. 12 plates. . 60
The Hart and the Water-brooks. . . .60
Maolcay, IMra. Colonel.
The Family at Heatherdalb. 18mo. . . 60
Malan, S. C.
Maodala and Bethany. .40
BOOKS FOR CHIIiDRBir.
Mamma's Bible Stories.
Fob Little Boys and Girls. Plates. . . 50
Sequel to the Same. Plates. . . . .60
By the same author.
Fanny and heb Mamma 50
Or, Stobies on the Couhandhents. . . . 40
Life op. 18mo. 30
Martyrs and Covenanters
Of Scotland. 18mo. 40
McCrlndell, Miss R.
The Convent. Al Narrative 60
Or, The Joubal of Mabtha Moobe. . . . 60
The Happy Fabmbb*s Lad 40
With 20 fine plates 1 00
By the same author.
L Sunday Aptebnoons in the Nubsuby j Or, Fami-
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Plates. Medium quarto 50
II. The Beautiful Home. With three cuts. 18mo. 30
III. Africa's Mountain Valley. ISmo. . . 40
IV. Cottage and its Visitor. 6 cuts. ... 50
Mia and Charlie ;
Or, A Week's Holiday. 18mo. . 60
Missionary of Kllmany, The.
BEjsa JL Mbhoib or Alezandeb Patebsomt. . 40
Or, Thb Bible nr the Homes of the London
Monod, Adoiphe, D.D.
LuciLLA ; Or, The Reading of the Bible. . . 40
Pbivate Devotion. 18mo. 50
Morning of Life, The.
A Memoie op Miss A v. . . .40
My School-Boy Days.
Illustrated. 18mo 80
My Youthful Companions.
A Sequel. Illustrated. ... .30
The above two in one volume. .60
Newton, Rev. Richard, D.D.
Best Things. 18mo 50
Bills fbom the Fountain of Life. 12ma . t6
To Catch Little FuBa 60
Noel, Rev. Baptist W.
Infant Pibtt. 25
By Nbttman Hall. 18mo 26
Oberiin, John Frederlclc.
Memoir of John Fbedebiok Obbblin. 18ma . 40
BOOKS FOR CHILDRBMT.
Old White Meeting-House.
By the author of "Lite in New York." . . 40
By the author of " Uncle Jack " . . . .26
Tales; Or, IllustratloDS of Lying. . .40
Osborne, Mrs. D.
The Wobld op Waters. 50
Pastor's Daughter, The;
Or, The Way op Salvation Explainbd. 18ma 4.0
Or, Love CoNQUERiNa Evil 50
Peep of Day;
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By the same author.
Line upon Line 30
Precept on Precept 30
Near Home ; Or, The CouDtries of Europe. . . 50
Par Off; Or, Asia and Australia Described. . 60
Life of, by Mrs. L. 0. Tuthill. 12mo. . 1 25
Tales of the Covenanters 50
Helen op the Gtlen. Illustrated. . . .25
The Persecuted Family. Illustrated. . . 25
Ralph Gemmell. Illustrated 25
Ray of Light
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Rotrospaot, Tho ;
Or, BsviBw^ OF Pbotidbhtxal MsBCzan . 40
Annals of the Poor. 40
DOMESTIO POBTBATTUBB. 12ma . . '75
Rogers, IMrs. G. A.
The Folded Lamb. 40
Or, Heboism in Huicble Ldtb. .30
Round the Fire. A Series of Storiea . . • 50
Ryle, Rev. J. C.
Living oe Dead? 60
Wheat ob Chaff? 60
Stabtlinq Questions. 50
Rich and Foob. 60
Pbiest, Pubitan, and Pbbaoheb. . . 60
SchmeM, C. Von.
A HUNDBED ShOBT TALES. . . c . 50
Sheepfold and Common;
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Cleveb Stobies. ... ^ ... 50
Think befobb you Act. 25
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Jack, the Sailob Boy. .... - 25
By the author of " Mla and Chabley.-' . 50
Stories of the Ocean.
By the Bey. Jno. SPAULDDra SO
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Sigourney. Mrs. L. H.
Letters to my Pupils. 18mo. .
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Charlie Seymour. ....
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Tales from English History. 18mo.
Tales of Sweden and the Norsemen. .
Tales of Travellers
Toll Gate. I8mo. With frontispiece.
Truth is Always Best ; Or, The Fatal Necklace.
Tyng, Rev. S. H., D.D.
The Captive Orphan
The Rich Kinsman
Hymns for Infant Minds.
Life and Correspondence.
Display, a Tale
Original Poems for Infant Minds .
Bhymes for the Nursery.
Tennent, Rev. William. Life or. .
Three Months Under the Snow 30
Tucker, MUs E.
The Rainbow in the Nobth. .60
Abbbokutta ; or, Sunrise in tho Tropica. .50
Southern Gross and Southern Cbowit. . . 60
Unole Jack; The Fault Killer. ... 30
Unioa. A Story for Girls. 18mo. .25
Vara ; or, The Child of Adoption. 12mo. 1 00
By the same author.
Nellie of Truro. 12mo. . . . 1 00
The Julia. ..:.... 1 00
Very Little Tales
For very Little Children. 2 vols. . . .76
Vicars, Captain Hedley. Memoirs of. l8mo. . 40
Victory Won. By tho same author. 18mo. . 25
Warfare and Work ; Or, I^fe's Progress. ISmo. 60
Way Home. 18mo 60
Watts Divine and Moral Songs. Illustrated. . . 40
Week, The. 60
Whitecross' Anecdotes on toe Catechisjl . .30
Wilberforce, William, Memoir of. . . . 60
Willie and Unica. 18mo 50
WoodrufP, Anne T. Shades of Character. . 1 00
Wylie, Rev. J. A. On Fulfilled Prophecy. . . 30
Hrix i;^ lyjbf