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,Ary. 4^r /f(fr 

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' ;";r'!JC LIBRARY 

• ^.-■->^v. l-''^>;OX AND 

^^'li:?^^^^^'-^! ^^^' 

•1 ,  \ 

T^ TJ j; I- Jl-SLID 3E-E.E K 










No. 630 BROADWAY. 


Entered, according to Act of- Congress, in the year ld<M>, by 


In the Clerk's OfBoe of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 




82 & 84 Beekman-st 



28 Frankfort»st 


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. 

*'it fame 
§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. 


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. 




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 



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 


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 


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 


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 



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 


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. 





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 ; 


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, 


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- 


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. 


*'AirD WHKK He is ooms, Hk will bbpbote thk wobld 



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 


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 


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 
for me." 

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 


upon the vivid recollections of Mrs. John- 
son, for what has been said of the state of 
Davis's mind. 

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 


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. 


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 — 


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. 


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 



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 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 


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 
the resurrection. 

"Again I beseech you not to withhold 
from him the truth that tells him of his 


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 



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. 


"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 


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.' 

"Affectionately yours, 

"J. D. Wells." 



"Fob I WAS ALIVE without the law onor: but whbn 



** 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 


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- 


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 


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." 


"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 


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. 


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- 



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 
spinal column. 

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 


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. 


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- 


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, 


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 
his salvation. 

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? 


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- 
lished judgment? 

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, 


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 


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- 



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 
Himself teaches. 

"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 


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. 


"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 


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 

the Lord." 



"Insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall Da< 


**^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 : 


This sentence alone, of all that Davis ut- 
tered duiing that remarkable week, shocked 


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 


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, 



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 


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- 


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, 


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, 


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. 


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, 

"Your friend, 

"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 
his behalf 

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- 



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 


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. 


''And thib is the will or Him that sent mi, that eyest 


** 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 
the Destroyer. 

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 


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 


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 - 



ti^^ ^ 


^^^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 


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 
the Bible. 

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, 


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- 


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 
our Lord. 


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 



f ati^nt in tS>xihnXntitin, 



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 
moment's reflection. 

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 



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 


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 


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 


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. 





"Oh, mt Father, if this oup mat not pass awat faoic 


"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- 


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 


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 



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 
their skill. 

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- 


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, 



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 


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 


thought of God ; I have lived in the midst 
of gaiety." 

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 
a Christian." 

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 


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 


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 
Saviour's face. 


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, 



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 


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 
be saved/ 

"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. 


"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 
was real. 

" 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 


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- 
company him. 

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 


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- 



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 


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 



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 


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. 



"She iutnuft ot '^UUftlan" 

"Bkhold tht son. * * * Behold tht Mother." 


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 


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- 


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, 


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 ? 


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 


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- 


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 
received it. 

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, 



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 


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 


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 


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 
pleasant thought. 

He could not bear much conversation 



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 


-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. 



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 


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. 



"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 



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 


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 


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 


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. 



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 
many tears. 

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- 


ing calm, and collected, and trustful. There 
were no clouds. His last words^were, "I 


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 




** d Death 1 wheke is thy sting t 



**(§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. 


^^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 
spinal canal. 

" On opening the dura mater, the cord 
appeared enlarged, softened, slightly dis- 


coloured, and contained minute points of 
extravasated blood. 

" 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 



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 


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 
his family. 

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 


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- 
rection . 

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- 


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. 


**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 


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 
living : 

"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. 


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 : 


^^^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 office. 


"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 



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 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- 


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. 


"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, 



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 


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- 


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 


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 
young friend. 

" 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.** 


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- 


scious of the influence of early instruction 
and associations. 

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 


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. 


*'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- 
ing chapter. 

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, 


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 
most wicked. 

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 



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 
be His. 

" 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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Pastor's Daughter, The; 

Or, The Way op Salvation Explainbd. 18ma 4.0 

Passing Clouds; 

Or, Love CoNQUERiNa Evil 50 

Peep of Day; 

Or, Early Religious Instruction. . . .30 

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 

Perthes, Caroline. 

Life of, by Mrs. L. 0. Tuthill. 12mo. . 1 25 

Pollock, Robert. 

Tales of the Covenanters 50 

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Ray of Light 

To Brighten Cottage Homes. By the author of 

a " Trap to Catch a Sunbeam." 18mo. . . 30 



Rotrospaot, Tho ; 

Or, BsviBw^ OF Pbotidbhtxal MsBCzan . 40 

Richmond, Leigh. 

Annals of the Poor. 40 


Rogers, IMrs. G. A. 

The Folded Lamb. 40 

Roger IMiiler; 

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; 

Or, The EvANaEUCAL Eaubleb. . . 1 25 

Sherwood, Mrs. 

Cleveb Stobies. ... ^ ... 50 

Think befobb you Act. 25 

Duty is Safety 25 

Jack, the Sailob Boy. .... - 25 

Sidney Gray. 

By the author of " Mla and Chabley.-' . 50 

Stories of the Ocean. 

By the Bey. Jno. SPAULDDra SO 



Sigourney. Mrs. L. H. 

Water Drops. 

Letters to my Pupils. 18mo. . 
Olive Leaves. Illustrated. 
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Sinclair, Catherine. 

Charlie Seymour. .... 
Holiday House. 

Btories on the Lord's Prayer, 

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Tales from English History. 18mo. 

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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 

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Limed Twigs 

Hymns for Infant Minds. 
Life and Correspondence. 

Display, a Tale 

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Tennent, Rev. William. Life or. . 


, 60 









Three Months Under the Snow 30 

Tucker, MUs E. 

The Rainbow in the Nobth. .60 

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Southern Gross and Southern Cbowit. . . 60 

Unole Jack; The Fault Killer. ... 30 

Unioa. A Story for Girls. 18mo. .25 

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Nellie of Truro. 12mo. . . . 1 00 

The Julia. ..:.... 1 00 

Very Little Tales 

For very Little Children. 2 vols. . . .76 

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Warfare and Work ; Or, I^fe's Progress. ISmo. 60 

Way Home. 18mo 60 

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Week, The. 60 

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Wylie, Rev. J. A. On Fulfilled Prophecy. . . 30 





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