Final words and gravestones
053 Dying Words Of Believers
• Matthew Henry—”Sin is bitter. I bless God I have inward supports.”
• Martin Luther—”Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord by whom we escape death.”
• John Knox—Live in Christ, Live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.
• John Calvin—”Thou, Lord, bruisest me; but I am abundantly satisfied, since it is from thy hand.”
• John Wesley—”The best of all is, God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!”
• Charles Wesley—”I shall be satisfied with thy likeness—satisfied, satisfied!”
• Baxter—”I have pain; but I have peace. I have peace.”
• Preston—”Blessed be God! though I change my place, I shall not change my company.”
• Goodwin—”Ah! is this dying? How have I dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend!”
• Everett—”Glory, glory, glory!” (this expression was repeated for 25 minutes and only ceased with life itself).
BELIEVER’S DEATH SCENES
1054 More Last Words
• William Carey the missionary—”When I am gone, speak less of Dr. Carey and more of Dr. Carey’s Saviour.”
• Susanna Wesley—”Children, when I am gone, sing a song of praise to God.”
• Lady Glenorchy—”If this is dying, it is the pleasantest thing imaginable.”
• Edward Perronet, pastor—”Glory to God in the height of His divinity! Glory to God in the depths of His humanity! Glory to God in his all-sufficiency! Into His hands I commend my spirit.”
• John Pawson, minister—”I know I am dying, but my death-bed is a bed of roses. I have no thorns planted upon my dying pillow. Heaven is already begun!”
• Adoniram Judson—”I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet when Christ calls me home, I shall go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from school.”
1055 “Who Plucked The Flower?”
There is an inscription on a child’s tombstone in an English churchyard, as follows: “Who plucked that flower?” cried the gardener as he walked through the garden. His fellow servant answered, “The Master,” And the gardener held his peace.
In a London cemetery is a grave and a headstone with very unusual but beautiful wording. It was erected by the famous pastor Joseph Parker for his beloved wife. He could not bring himself to write the word “Died,” and instead chose the better word “Ascended.”
When he himself passed away, his friends had his headstone carved with the following inscription: “Joseph Parker, Born April 9, 1830, Ascended November 28, 1902.”
1057 Nevertheless …
When Sir James Simpson, the great physician and the discoverer of anesthesia lost his eldest child he erected on the grave an obelisk pointing like a spire toward the heavens. On it he carved the words, “Nevertheless, I live,” and above the words a butterfly, to suggest his invincible faith in Christ.
1058 No Fear
Into the granite that marks the grave of one of America’s greatest astronomers is carved these words: “I have lived too long among the stars to fear the night.”
1059 World’s Northernmost Grave
From a nineteenth-century book of anecdotes comes this report:
“The earth’s northernmost grave is near Cape Beechy, on the brow of a hill covered with snow. In it is buried the body of a member of the Nares Expedition. A large stone covers the dead, and on a copper tablet at the head is engraved: “WASH ME, AND I SHALL BE WHITER THAN SNOW.””
1060 Only “J.C.”
After much searching in the old cemetery of Plain Palais, at Geneva, I found the grave of John Calvin. Not far from the wall, it was covered with grass, and the shadows of the cypress free above it were playing to and fro over the grave as if to remind one of the shadowy brevity of human life. On the stone, hardly a foot high, are the letters “J.C.”
Across the lake rises the costly and magnificent cenotaph of one of the dukes of Brunswick. But who today is the Duke of Brunswick? Who was he then? But the man whose initials are graven on that humble grave, in keeping with his theology which exalted God and humbled man, lives forever.
—C. E. Macartney
1061 St. Bernard’s Tomb
In examining St. Bernard’s tomb in the present century the explorers came upon a few poor bones and a little dust wrapped in yellow silk, with the still uneffaced letters which spelt out, “A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.”
—W. Robertson Nicoll
Spurgeon used to tell of an epitaph he once came across in the obscure country cemetery in England. The headstone was small and of inexpensive material, and on it were chiseled just two words: “Freddy!” as if someone had called a boy’s name. Then underneath this, as if the boy had answered, just one word, “Yes.”
In the Church of St. Nazaro, in Florence, is an epitaph upon the tomb of a soldier, as fit for the whole toiling race as for his own restless life: “Johannes Divultius, who never rested, rests—hush!”
1064 Epigram On Deaths (Gravestones)
• Those who love God never meet for the last time.
—W. G. Elmslie
• Death is not a period but a comma in the story of life.
—Amos J. Tarver, in Christian Herald
• At a funeral service in Winona Lake, Indiana: “We are not in the land of the living, but in the land of the dying—someday we shall be in the Land of the Living.”
• No one cries when children, long absent from their parents, go home. School is out. It is time to go home. Vacation morning is a happy occasion.
• We go to the grave of a friend, saying, “A man is dead.” But angels throng about him saying, “A man is born.”
• The Christian, at his death, should not be like the child who is forced by the rod to quit his play, but like one who is wearied of it and is willing to go home.
• When I go down to the grave I can say, like so many others: I have finished my work, but I cannot say I have finished my life. My day’s work will begin the next morning. My tomb is not a blind alley. It is a thoroughfare. It closes in the twilight to open in the dawn.
• An aged Scotchman, while dying, was asked what he thought of death, and he replied, “It matters little to me whether I live or die. If I die I will be with Jesus, and if I live Jesus will be with me.”
—A. C. Dixon
• Death did not first strike Adam, the first sinful man; nor Cain, the first murderer: but Abel, the innocent and righteous.
See also: Heaven ; Martyrdom.
Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979