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Good Words 1860
The Story of Faith


BY PASTOR HARMS OF HERMANNSBURG.

Some time ago, I stood by the bedside of a sick labourer, who had a wife and four children. He had lain sick for three weeks, and the sickness had exhausted all his means. Death was near, and he rejoiced; he wished only that once again we might partake of the Sacrament of the Supper. Many friends and neighbours assembled, and we sang—

"Who knows how near my end may be?"

He sang steadily with us, for he knew the beautiful hymn by heart; his wife and children joined also. We ceased with the fifth verse—

"Let heaven to me be ever sweet,
And this world bitter—let me find
That I, 'mid all its toil and heat,
May keep eternity in mind;
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day."

I noticed that the tears stood in his eyes, but I said nothing, and we celebrated the Lord's death in the memorials of His body and blood. His eyes streamed with joy. When the blessing was pronounced, we sang the exquisite verses of the same hymn—

"And I have eaten of His flesh,
And drunk His blood—nor can I be
Forsaken now, nor doubt afresh,
I am in Him and He in me;
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

"Then death may come or tarry yet,
I know in Christ I perish not,
He never will His own forget,
He gives me robes without a spot;
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day."

The friends and neighbours left after they had heartily pressed his hand, and said, "We shall meet again with the Lord Jesus." I remained alone with the sick man and his family. Then I asked him why he wept during the hymn? was he perhaps troubled by the thought of parting from his wife and children? He looked at me steadfastly, almost reproachfully, and answered—"Does not Jesus stay with them? Has not the Lord said that He is a Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widow? No; they are well cared for. I have prayed the Lord that He will be their Guardian. Is it not so, wife? You are not troubled; you are not afraid; you believe in Jesus." "Surely," she replied, "I believe in Jesus, and rejoice that you go to Jesus. I shall follow you with the children in His own time. Jesus will help me to train up the children through His Holy Spirit."

"Why did you weep, then?" I said.—"For joy; for I thought if the singing is so beautiful here, oh, how beautiful will it be when the angels help in it! And I wept for joy that this blessedness is so near."

Then he motioned to his wife. She understood, and went to the shelf and brought down a little saucer in which her husband kept his money. There were six groschen in it, all that remained of his store. He took them out with trembling fingers, and laid them in my hand, and said, "The heathen must have these, that they also may know how to die in peace." I turned to his wife, who nodded assent, and said, "We have talked it over already. When everything has been reckoned for the funeral, these six groschen remain." "And what remains for you?" "The Lord Jesus," she said. "And what do you leave to your wife and children.?" "The Lord Jesus," he said; and whispered in my ear, "He is very good, and very rich."

So I took the six groschen, and laid them in the mission-box as a great treasure, and it has been a struggle for me to pay them away. But if they had not been paid away, the dying man's wish would not have been fulfilled.

That night he fell asleep. And he was buried as a Christian ought, with sermon, and hymn, and prayer, and tolling of the bell. And neither his wife wept nor his three eldest children, neither in the church nor at the grave. But the youngest child, a boy of five years, who also followed the body, wept bitterly. I asked him afterwards why he wept so bitterly at his father's grave? And the child made answer, "I was so sorry that father did not take me with him to the Lord Jesus, for I had begged of him with my whole heart that he would take me." "My child," I said, "your father could not take you with him; only the Saviour could do that; you should pray to Him." "Ought I, then, to pray to Him for it?" he asked. "No, my child," I said; "if the Saviour will take you, He himself will call you; but if He will have you grow up, then you must help your mother, and have her to live with you. Will you?" He said, "I would like to go to Jesus, and I would like to grow up, that mother might live with me." "Now, then," I replied, "say to the Lord Jesus that He must choose." "That is what I will do," he said, and was greatly delighted and in peace.


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