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" IS IT MORNING OR EVENING ?"
The following lines, descriptive of her father both physically and spiritually, were written by his daughter about a year before his death :
“ IS IT MORNING OR EVENING ?
“ Twilight - which? 'Tis evening twilight,
For the day is almost done;
Chilling winds are coming on.
'Tis the dawning of a day;
* Rise, beloved, and come away.'
He is weary, and would rest;
Lay him on his mother's breast.
He has done with toil and woe;
And the sleep that mortals know.
For the skies are grown so dim,
Surely, 'tis not morn to him.
Though to-morrow's golden sun
Since his work on earth is done.
He begins his heavenly race;
God will meet him face to face.”
In the summer of 1869 he went to reside in a village near Chicago to enjoy a purer atmosphere. IIis white locks falling low down below his hat, his stooping form, his feeble and trembling steps which he supported with a cane, and his whole appearance indicative of great age, rendered him a marked object as he walked the streets. His benignity
and kindliness of expression, his.venerableness and saintliness, won the hearts of the good, the respect of all. The children even were attracted towards the good old man, and would sometimes kiss their hands to him as he passed.
He now reached the close of his official work.
“On the 7th of September my father performed his last official act by solemnizing the marriage of a granddaughter with a young gentleman of whom he was particularly fond. His appearance on that occasion was unusually venerable, as he stood leaning upon his cane; and his accents were so feeble and tender that the young bride burst into tears. After the ceremony, having kissed his granddaughter, he said to the bridegroom, 'I want to kiss you too.' And so with a kiss this dear saint ended his ministry.
* After the marriage, as he was looking over the bridal presents, he paused and turned over the leaves of a beautiful Oxford Bible, the gift of the bridegroom's father. As he did so, the tears gushed from his eyes, and he exclaimed, Precious book; so old, and yet so new.'
- The time at length arrived for him to obtain the fulfilment of the loving promise of the Saviour, made to his disciples in their anticipated sorrow, " I will come again and receive you to myself.””
His daughter has beautifully described the closing scene :
“For some months before my father's death there had been many indications of approaching dissolution. Ile often paused in his walks to take breath, and was hardly able to lift his feet from the ground, but dragged them heavily. He spoke of seeing objects double ; sometimes finding it difficult to distinguish the substance from the shadow. Still his hearing was but little impaired, and his voice, though weaker, was never tremulous. When he hummed tunes to himself, as was his wont, there was still melody in the sound, and he was able to read the Divine Word until about eight days before he died.
“ His mind was most of the time very tranquil. One of his grandsons said of him, two or three years before this period, that he was the happiest old man he had ever seen.' And for the most part he continued happy.
“ He drank daily of that water of which if a man drink he shall thirst no more ;' and so near the fountain of bliss,
how could he be sad ? This prayer was often on his lips : . Let the people praise thee, O God, let all the people praise thee.'
“When overcome by physical weakness he once or twice wept very much, exclaiming, as he did so, Jesus Christ took upon himself our nature with all its infirmities.' The thought of that infinite condescension seemed to affect him more than his own sufferings.
He lamented that he could not still labor for Christ, but betook himself to prayer with the more earnestness and constancy, as this, he thought, the only way left him to serve his Lord. IIe little knew how great was the influence of his holy living, so great that those who attended him could almost see the shining ones' who gathered around his steps.
“Once or twice he spoke of feeling dejected, as if he had lost the light of God's countenance. But he knew where to go for refuge in the darkest hour; and the reading of the Bible, his beloved old Bible, was an unspeakable solace. He would sit and read chapter after chapter, as if he were never weary; and when at length he closed the book, it was evident that its blessed words had brought healing and peace to his soul.
“ He grew very tender towards his children and grandchildren, and seemed to feel a kind of affection for every living thing. IIe smiled on the children and young animals that he passed in his walks ; and it was pleasant to see babies in their nurses' arms kissing their hands to him. The kind people in Waukegan were always ready to do him a service.
As he passed their houses, some friendly face frequently appeared at the door, and gentle voices begged him to enter and take refreshment. Poor Irishmen would rush from their hovels or shops with chairs, that he might rest; and so reverent were the looks and tones of all, that it was evident they felt him to be very near the celestial courts.
“ Yet while others looked upon him as a holy man of God, he was full of self-abasement, constantly adopting the publican's prayer, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner.' Sometimes he appeared in the deepest grief on account of his sius, but must surely have been comforted with the thought that he could say, with as much sincerity as Simon Peter, • Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.'
" A few weeks before he died there occurred an almost total eclipse of the sun. He sat in an arm-chair outside tbe door, and with a smoked glass in his hand surveyed the unusual scene. To those who loved him there was something pathetic in the sight. It was a reminder of his own condition and the great event which to him was so near at hand.
“ His noble, mental powers had suffered a partial eclipse, and his voice, his step, his glance, were not what they had once been. But, apparently regardless of these things, he sat gazing up into heaven as if, like Moses, he were 'drawing near to the thick darkness, where God was.'
“ We felt as we looked upon him, that he was fast approaching the deeper gloom of the grave; that he, who had so long been to us a guiding light, would soon be hidden from our eyes ; but there was comfort in the thought that out of the shadows he would emerge into the ineffable Light; into the immediate presence of Him whom his soul loved, no longer 'to see Him through a glass, darkly, but face to face.'
“On Tuesday morning, the 7th of September, he performed the marriage service before mentioned, for his granddaughter, and had a happy meeting with children and friends.
“At that time he was informed of the birth of his first great-grandchild, and received a message from the infant's mother, requesting him to baptize her son with the name of "Woodbridge.' The child received the sacred rite from
another hand, and in a few days winged his way upward to herald the swift approach of the saint from whom he was descended.
The excitement and fatigue of that wedding-day were too much for the worn old man. From that time he became more feeble, though he still continued his daily walks and baths, his reading of the Bible, and his seasons of meditation and prayer.
“On Sunday, the 12th of September, he attended divine service for the last time. He came home much fatigued, but it was hoped that perfect quietness and rest would restore him.
“ The following day, and every day until Saturday, he kept about as usual, though very restless at night, and with loss of appetite.
“On Friday he went out with his daughter, and attended to a little business. He walked more feebly than usual, but appeared much absorbed in heavenly musing. Tears came unbidden into his eyes, and when asked the cause, he answered in the words of the sacred poet,
• See how the cruel Jews deride
Soon after, as if thinking of his approaching release, he said, “My father died on Sunday morning. He had several times mentioned this before, and, although he did not express it, I think it was the desire of his heart that he too might enter into rest on that sacred day.
“ On his return from this walk he appeared so feeble that his daughter consulted a physician, and that evening, having administered prescribed remedies and seen him laid to rest apparently comfortable and peaceful, she retired for the night. Near midnight she was aroused by hearing his labored breathing, and went immediately to his bedside. In answer to her inquiries, he said he had not slept at all, but in a peculiarly gentle tone told her that she had better