On Saturday morning, January 3, 1880, in Malden, Massachusetts, Bishop Gilbert Haven’s physician said that his last day had come, and that it would do him no harm to see his friends. Many were near at hand. Others were summoned by telegram and by messenger, until groups gathered around that couch, touched with the light of immortal glory, to muse over the transition from death unto life.
A physician who was present said: “I never saw a person die so before.” A clergyman remarks: “To me it did not seem that I was in the presence of death. The whole atmosphere of the chamber was that of a joyous and festive hour. Only the tears of kindred and friends were suggestive of death. I felt that I was summoned to see a conquering hero crowned.”
We have preserved some of the Bishop’s utterances to different persons, as they were reported in the public prints. As Dr. Daniel Steele entered his chamber, the Bishop lifted up his hand, exclaiming, in his familiar way : “O Dan, Dan, a thousand, thousand blessings on you! The Lord has been giving you great blessings, and me little ones, and now he has given me a great one. He has called me to heaven before you.
“Do you find the words of Paul true: "O death, where is thy sting?" inquired Dr. Steele. “There is no death, there is no death" interrupted the Bishop; “I have been fighting death for six weeks, and today I find there is no death.”
Then he repeated again and again John viii. 51: "Shall never see death; Glory! Glory! Glory!" In life he seldom, if ever, shouted; he certainly had a right to shout in death. “You have a great Savior,” was remarked to him. "Yes," he answered, "that is the whole of the gospel, the whole of it" With difficulty he repeated:
“Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp His name
Preach Him to all, and cry in death,
Behold, behold the Lamb!"
He had an immediate opportunity to preach Christ by witnessing to his saving power, for his counseling physician from Boston had come to bid him farewell. Said the dying man, as he took the doctor’s hand: “I am satisfied with your attentions; you have done all that human skill can do to heal me. I die happy. I believe in Jesus Christ.”
To Dr. Lindsay he also remarked: “Good-night, doctor. When we meet again it will be good-morning.” To his old classmate, Dr. Newhall, he said: “I have got the start of you. I thought you would go first. Your mind has been clouded a little, but it is all light over there." When Dr. Mallahieu approached him he put his aims around his neck and drew him to his face, and exclaimed: “My dear old friend, I am glad to see you. You and I would not have it so if we had our way, but God knows best. It is all right! All right! We have been living in great times, but there are greater times coming. You have been my true friend-you never failed me. You must stand by the colored man when I am gone. Stand by the colored man.”
Then he spoke of dying, and said: “Oh, but it is so beautiful, so pleasant, so delightful! I see no river of death. God lifts me up in His arms. There is no darkness; it is all light and brightness. I am gliding away into God, floating up into heaven.”
As the hour drew near, and death preyed upon him, his faith failed not. His right hand was dead, and black from mortification; but holding up his arm, and gazing at the perishing member for a moment, he said, with triumph: “I believe in the resurrection of the body!” Thus he trampled death under his feet, and Elijah-like, in a flaming chariot of glory, went shouting to his home in the skies.
- Golden Dawn
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893