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REFLECTED LIGHT----------------------
Near Death Testimonies of Some Old Time Believers
------------------------------------DR. PAYSON

From An Antique Book in Webmaster's Library - Editor Unknown
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"What seraph like music steals over the sea,
Entrancing the senses with charmed melody.
‘Tis the voice of the angels borne soft on the air,
'Tis for me they are calling, my welcome I hear.

"On Jordan's lone river I eagerly stand,
And stretch forth my hands to that beautiful land
Send a convoy of angels, dear Saviour, I pray,
I must join their sweet music --- away, Oh, away.

"Tho' cold are the billows and dark is the wave,
With Jesus beside me, their tempest I'll brave,
For the heavenly music has ravished me so,
I must join their loud chorus --- I'll go; yes, I'll go!"

"The gates of pearl wide open flew,
The Lord of Glory shone in view;
His gaze of wondrous love and light
Enrobed the saint in glory bright.
"He fled! to join the brilliant throng,
To add fresh triumph to the song;
But ere the link to earth was riven,
Death was dissolved in lasting heaven!"

During much of the last year of his life, he suffered the most severe bodily anguish. His right arm and left side lost all power of motion, and the flesh became insensible to external applications, while internally he experienced a sensation of burning, which lie compared to a stream of liquid fire pouring through his bones. He continued his public ministrations a part of each Sabbath for some months after this attack; and when prostrated on his dying bed, was enabled through the marvellous displays of divine grace, to plead with unwonted eloquence the cause of his Redeemer. On the 19th of September he dictated the following letter to his sister:

"SEPTEMBER 19th, 1827. "My DEAR SISTER: --- Were I to adopt the figurative language of Bunyan, I might date this letter from the land of Beulah, of which I have been for some weeks a happy inhabitant. The, celestial city is full in my view. Its glories beam upon me, its breezes fan me, its odors are wafted to me, its sounds strike upon my ears, and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of death, which now appears but as an insignificant rill that may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission. The Sun of righteousness has been gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as He approached, and now He fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the beams of the sun; exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness, and wondering with unutterable wonder, why God should deign thus to shine upon a sinful worm. A single heart and a single tongue seem altogether inadequate to my wants: I want a whole heart for every separate emotion, and a whole tongue to express that emotion.

But why do I speak thus of myself and my feelings? why not speak only of our God and Redeemer? It is because I know not what to say. When I would speak of them, my words are all swallowed up. I can only tell you what effects their presence produces, and even of these I can tell you but very little. 0 my sister, my sister, could you but know what awaits the Christian; could you only know so much as I know, you could not refrain from rejoicing and even leaping for joy. Labors, trials, troubles, would be nothing; you would rejoice in afflictions, and glory in tribulations; and like Paul and Silas, sing God's praises in the darkest night and in the deepest dungeon. You have known a little of my trials and conflicts, and know that they have been neither few nor small; and I hope this glorious termination of them will serve to strengthen your faith and elevate your hope.

"And now, my dear, dear sister, farewell. Hold on your Christian course but a few days longer, and you will meet in heaven, your happy and affectionate brother,


September 21 --- He exclaimed, "0, what a blessed thing it is to lose one's will. Since I have lost my will, I have found happiness. There can be no such thing as disappointment to me, for I have no desires but that God's will may be accomplished."

He was asked, "Do you feel, yourself reconciled?" "O, that is too cold. I rejoice, I triumph; and this happiness will endure as long as God himself, for it consists in admiring and adoring him. I can find no words to express my happiness. I seem to be swimming in a river of pleasure, which is carrying me on to a great fountain.

"Christians might avoid much trouble and inconvenience, if they would only believe what they profess --- that God is able to make them happy without any thing else. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die and such blessings to be removed, they should be miserable; whereas God can make them a thousand times happier without them. To mention my own case: God has been depriving me of one blessing after another; but as every one was removed, he has come in and filled up the place, and now when I am a cripple, and not able to move, I am happier than I ever was in my life before, or ever expected to be, and if I had believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety.

"It is always interesting to see others in a situation in which we know that we must shortly be placed ourselves; and we all know that we must die. And to see a poor creature, when, after an alternation of hopes and fears, he finds that his disease is mortal, and death comes to take him away from every thing he loves, and crowds and crowds him to the very verge of the precipice of destruction, and then thrusts him down headlong --- there he is, cast into an unknown world; no friend, no Saviour to receive him. 0 how different is this from the state of a man who is prepared to die. He is not obliged to crowd reluctantly along; but the other world comes like a great magnet, to draw him away from this; and he knows that he is going to enjoy --- and not only knows, but begins to taste it --- perfect happiness; for ever, for ever and ever! . . .

"And now God is in this room; I see him, and oh, how unspeakably lovely and glorious does he appear --- worthy of ten thousand, thousand hearts, if we had them. He is here and hears me pleading with the creatures that he has made, whom he preserves and loads with blessings, to love him. And oh, bow terrible does it appear to me to sin against this God; to set up our wills in opposition to his; and when we awake in the morning instead of thinking, 'What shall I do to please my God today?' to inquire, 'What shall I do to please myself today?' After a short pause he continued, 'It makes my blood run cold to think how inexpressibly miserable I should now be without religion. To lie here and see myself tottering on the very verge of destruction. Oh, I should be distracted. And when I see my fellow creatures liable at every moment to be reduced to this situation, I am in an agony for them, that they may escape their danger before it be too I ate."

On another occasion he said, "I find no satisfaction in looking at any thing I have done; I want to leave all this behind --- it is nothing --- and fly to Christ to be clothed in his righteousness."

Again, "I have done nothing myself. I have not fought, but Christ has fought for me; I have not run, but Christ has carried me; I have not worked, but Christ has wrought in me: Christ has done all.

Oh, the loving kindness of God --- his loving kindness! This afternoon while I was meditating on It, the Lord seemed to pass by and proclaim himself, 'The Lord, the Lord God, mercifful and gracious.' Oh, how gracious. . . . . .

"It seemed this afternoon as if Christ said to me, 'You have often wondered and been impatient at the way by which I have led you; but what do you think of it now?' and I was cut to the heart, when I looked and saw the wisdom and goodness by which I had been guided, that I could ever for a moment distrust his love."

Speaking of the temper requisite to the right discharge of ministerial duty, he said, "I never was fit to say a word to a sinner, except when I had a broken heart myself; when I was subdued and melted into penitence and felt as though I had just recovered pardon to my own soul, and when my heart was full of tenderness and pity.

"My young friends if I were master of the whole world, what could it do for me in an hour like this? Were all its wealth at my feet and all its inhabitants striving to make me happy, what could they do for me ? Nothing --- nothing. Now all this happiness I trace back to the religion which I have preached, and to the time when that great change took place in my heart, which I have often told you is necessary to salvation, and now I tell you again, that without this change, you cannot, no you cannot see the kingdom of God."

A friend with whom he had been conversing on his extreme bodily sufferings, and his high spiritual joys, remarked, "I presume it is no longer incredible to you, if ever it was, that martyrs should rejoice and praise God in the flames and on the rack." "No," said he, "I can easily believe it. I have suffered twenty times --- yes, to speak within bounds, twenty times as much as I could in being at the stake, while my joy in God so abounded as to render my sufferings not only tolerable, but welcome. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed."

To Mrs. Payson. - - - - " My dear, I think it might encourage and strengthen you, under whatever trials you may be called to endure, to remember me. Oh, you must believe that it will be great peace at the last.

At another time he said to her, "After I am gone you will find many little streams of beneficence pouring in upon you, and you will perhaps say, 'I wish my dear husband were here to know this.' My dear you may think I do know it by anticipation, and praise God for it now."

On Sabbath, October 21, his last agony commenced. Even now he greeted those who approached him with a sweet smile. Once he exclaimed, " Peace! peace! victory! victory!" He looked on his wife and children, and said almost in the words of dying Joseph to his brethren, words which he had before spoken of as having a peculiar sweetness, and which he now wished to recall to her mind: "I am going, but God will surely be with you." A little before he died, in reply to an inquiry from Mrs. Payson, he was enabled, with extreme difficulty to articulate the words, "Faith and patience hold out."

This ruling passion was strong in death. His love for preaching was as invincible as that of the miser for gold, who dies grasping his treasure. Dr. Payson directed a label to be attached to his breast, on which should be written, "Remember the words which I spake unto you being yet present with you;" that they might be read by all who came to look at him, and by which he being dead still spoke. --- Extracts from "Last Days of Rev. Dr. Payson."

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