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Dying Children and Youth

The grasp of the mind of childhood upon the great truths of religion is frequently felt most perceptibly when the little sufferers are near their end. When a boy we heard the narration of a three or four-year old daughter of good parents living in the Southern country. She sickened, and medical skill proved unavailing to restore her. The tiny creature suspected the truth herself, and asked her father if the doctor had not said she must die. Being answered affirmatively, she was silent for a moment, and then said: “Papa, the grave is dark; oh, it is so dark! Won’t you go down with me into it?“ The stricken parent explained the impossibility, whereupon she said: “Papa, let mamma go with me, then.”

All who stood around the little creature were in tears, and she began in her own simple way to pray to God. Before expiring her face brightened, as she said: “Pa, the grave is not dark now. I know that you and mamma can’t go with me, but Jesus will go with me into the grave.”

“I went once,” says Rev. C.H. Fowler, D.D., “ to see a dying girl whom the world had roughly treated. She never had a father, she never knew her mother. Her home had been the poor-house, her couch a hospital-cot; and yet, as she had staggered in her weakness there, she had picked up a little of the alphabet, enough to spell out the New Testament, and she had touched the hem of the Master’s garment, and had learned the new song. And I never trembled in the presence of such majesty as I did in the majesty of her presence as she came near the crossing.

‘Oh, sir!’ she said, ‘God sends his angels. I have read in his word " Are they not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation? " And when I am lying in my cot, they stand about me on this floor; and when the heavy darkness comes, and this poor side aches so severely, he comes, for he says: “Lo, I am with you,” and he slips his soft hand under my aching side, and I sleep, I rest.’

The instances of heavenly ministries at the bedside of dying children are not rare. “Good-bye, papa; good-bye, mamma,” said a sweet eight-year-old, dying in Baltimore “the angels have come to carry me to heaven! “ And, sure enough, in a few moments, the heavenly convoy were bearing his freed spirit upwards to the skies.

A contributor to the National Era, who was an eye witness to the scene, narrates how a little girl -- a lovely and intelligent child-who had lost her mother too early to fix the loved features in remembrance, began to fade away early. As she reclined on the lap of the friend who took a mother’s care of her, she would throw her wasted arm around her neck, and say: "Now tell me about mamma." And when the oft-told story had been repeated, she would ask, softly: "Take me into the parlor I want to see my mamma." The request was never refused, and the affectionate sick child would lie for hours gazing on her mother’s portrait.

But the hour came at last, and weeping neighbors assembled to see the little child die. "Do you know me darling?" sobbed close to the ear the voice that was dearest but it awoke no answer. All at once a brightness, as if flashed from the throne, beamed upon the colorless face. The eyelids opened, and the lips parted; the little hands were waved upwards, as, in the last impulsive effort, she looked piercingly into the far above. " Mother! " she cried, with surprise and transport in her tone-and passed with that breath to her mother’s bosom. Said a distinguished divine, who witnessed the scene " If I had never believed in the ministration of departed ones before, I could not doubt it now."

Bearing upon the same point is the story which history brings of the little son of Maria Antoinette, nine years of age, who was fastened in a cell, and his food thrust through a hole in the upper part of the door. Brought out after a year’s confinement, during which period that door never once opened, he was brought out to die. “O,” said he, “the music, the music, how fine” “Where?” “Why, up there, up there!”

And again he repeated the exclamation: “O, the music, how fine I wish my sister could hear it” “Music? Where?” again asked his attendants. “Up there, up there” said the dying dauphin. “O, how fine I hear my mother’s voice among them.” And, with these words, he went to join her, whom at that time he did not know to be dead! "

- J.H. Potts, in the Golden Dawn.

Touching Incidents & Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893

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